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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The stones of five colors and the empress Jokwa"

The stones of five colors and the empress Jokwa

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At this bold reply Hako's anger burst from a spark into a flame.

"Dare you answer me thus? Take that," and he lunged at him with his lance.

But Eiko moved quickly aside, and at the same time, raising his sword, he wounded the head of the General's horse. Obliged to dismount, Hako was about to rush at his antagonist, when Eiko, as quick as lightning, tore from his breast the badge of commandership and galloped away. The action was so quick that Hako stood dazed, not knowing what to do.

The Empress had been a spectator of the scene, and she could not but admire the quickness of the ambitious Eiko, and in order to pacify the rivals she determined to appoint them both to the Generalship of the front army.

So Hako was made commander of the left wing of the front army, and Eiko of the right. One hundred thousand soldiers followed them and marched to put down the rebel Kokai.

Within a short time the two Generals reached the castle where Kokai had fortified himself. When aware of their approach, the wizard said:

"I will blow these two poor children away with one breath." (He little thought how hard he would find the fight.)

With these words Kokai seized an iron rod and mounted a black horse, and rushed forth like an angry tiger to meet his two foes.

As the two young warriors saw him tearing down upon them, they said to each other: "We must not let him escape alive," and they attacked him from the right and from the left with sword and with lance. But the all-powerful Kokai was not to be easily beaten—he whirled his iron rod round like a great water-wheel, and for a long time they fought thus, neither side gaining nor losing. At last, to avoid the wizard's iron rod, Hako turned his horse too quickly; the animal's hoofs struck against a large stone, and in a fright the horse reared as straight on end as a screen, throwing his master to the ground.

Thereupon Kokai drew his three-edged sword and was about to kill the prostrate Hako, but before the wizard could work his wicked will the brave Eiko had wheeled his horse in front of Kokai and dared him to try his strength with him, and not to kill a fallen man.

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