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

The Singing Bird of Heaven

” So she urged continually, and, by glamour, she prevailed upon him. Then the Young Prince arose, and took his bow and his heavenly-feathered arrows, and he let fly an arrow into the branches of the cassia tree. And suddenly the sweet sound of singing ceased, and the golden bird fell dead, for the aim was true.

But the heavenly-feathered arrow took wing and pierced the floor of Heaven, and reached the high place, where sat the Sun Goddess, together with her August Counsellors, in the Tranquil River Bed of Heaven. And the god called Wonderful took up the arrow, and beheld the blood upon its feathers. And the Lord of Deep Thoughts said, “This is the arrow that was given to the Young Prince,” and he showed it to all the deities. And he said, “If the Young Prince has shot this arrow at the evil deities, according to our command, let it do him no hurt. But, if his heart be not pure, then let the Young Prince perish by this arrow.” And he hurled the arrow back to earth.

Now the Young Prince lay upon a couch, sleeping. And the arrow fell, and pierced his heart that he died.

Yet the sweet Singing Bird of Heaven returned no more; and the gods were sorrowful.

Howbeit, the Young Prince lay dead upon his bed; and the wailing of his spouse, the Princess Undershining, re-echoed in the wind, and was heard in Heaven. So the Young Prince’s father descended with cries and lamentations, and there was built a mourning house upon the Land of Reed Plains, and the Young Prince was laid there.

And there came to mourn for him the wild goose of the river, and the pheasant, and the kingfisher. And they mourned for him eight days and eight nights.

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