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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The Singing Bird of Heaven"

The Singing Bird of Heaven

So they made him ready, and they brought him to the Floating Bridge. And the Young Prince descended lightly, while his garments shone with the glory of Heaven. But when he touched the tops of the high hills, his heart beat fast and his blood ran warm. Therefore he cut the fastening of his sandals and cast them behind him, and he ran upon his bare feet, like an earthly deity, and came to the palace upon the Reed Plains.

Now, at the door of the palace the Princess Undershining stood, like a growing flower. So the Young Prince beheld her and loved her, and he built him a dwelling upon the Reed Plains, and took the Princess for his bride. And, because he loved her and her earthly children, he brought no report to High Heaven, and he forgot the waiting deities. For Heaven was vague to him as a dream.

But the gods were weary.

And Ama Terassu said, “Long, long tarries our messenger, and brings no word again. My Lord, the August Child, waxes impatient; whom now shall we send?” Thereupon, all the deities, and the Lord of Deep Thoughts, replied, “Send down the Singing Bird, the beloved of High Heaven.”

So Ama Terassu took the golden Singing Bird, and said, “Sweet music of the divine gods, spread thou thy bright wings, and fly to the Land of Reed Plains, and there search out the Young Prince, the messenger of Heaven, and, when thou hast found him, sing in his ear this song: ‘Ama Terassu, the Goddess of the Sun, has sent me saying, How fares the quest of High Heaven, and how fares the message? Where is the report of the gods?’”

So the bird departed, singing. And she came to the Land of the Reed Plains, and perched upon the branch of a fair cassia tree which grew hard by the Young Prince’s dwelling. Day and night, she sang, and the gods in Heaven thought long for their sweet Singing Bird. Howbeit she returned not again, but sat upon the branch of the cassia tree.

But the Young Prince gave no heed.

And She that Speaketh Evil heard the words that the bird sang. And she whispered in the Young Prince’s ear, “See now, my lord, this is an evil bird, and evil is its cry; therefore take thou thine arrows and go forth and slay it.

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