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Age Rating 8 Plus.
The jellyfish and the monkey.
From Japanese Fairy Tales.by Yei Theodora Ozaki.
Start of Story
Long, long ago, in old Japan, the Kingdom of the Sea was governed by a
wonderful King. He was called Rin Jin, or the Dragon King of the Sea.
His power was immense, for he was the ruler of all sea creatures both
great and small, and in his keeping were the Jewels of the Ebb and Flow
of the Tide. The Jewel of the Ebbing Tide when thrown into the ocean
caused the sea to recede from the land, and the Jewel of the Flowing
Tide made the waves to rise mountains high and to flow in upon the
shore like a tidal wave.
The Palace of Rin Jin was at the bottom of the sea, and was so
beautiful that no one has ever seen anything like it even in dreams.
The walls were of coral, the roof of jadestone and chrysoprase, and the
floors were of the finest mother-of-pearl. But the Dragon King, in
spite of his wide-spreading Kingdom, his beautiful Palace and all its
wonders, and his power which none disputed throughout the whole sea,
was not at all happy, for he reigned alone. At last he thought that if
he married he would not only be happier, but also more powerful. So he
decided to take a wife. Calling all his fish retainers together, he
chose several of them as ambassadors to go through the sea and seek for
a young Dragon Princess who would be his bride.
At last they returned to the Palace bringing with them a lovely young
dragon. Her scales were of glittering green like the wings of summer
beetles, her eyes threw out glances of fire, and she was dressed in
gorgeous robes. All the jewels of the sea worked in with embroidery
The King fell in love with her at once, and the wedding ceremony was
celebrated with great splendor. Every living thing in the sea, from the
great whales down to the little shrimps, came in shoals to offer their
congratulations to the bride and bridegroom and to wish them a long and
prosperous life. Never had there been such an assemblage or such gay
festivities in the Fish-World before. The train of bearers who carried
the bride's possessions to her new home seemed to reach across the
waves from one end of the sea to the other. Each fish carried a
phosphorescent lantern and was dressed in ceremonial robes, gleaming
blue and pink and silver; and the waves as they rose and fell and broke
that night seemed to be rolling masses of white and green fire, for the
phosphorus shone with double brilliancy in honor of the event.
Now for a time the Dragon King and his bride lived very happily. They
loved each other dearly, and the bridegroom day after day took delight
in showing his bride all the wonders and treasures of his coral Palace,
and she was never tired of wandering with him through its vast halls
and gardens. Life seemed to them both like a long summer's day.
Two months passed in this happy way, and then the Dragon Queen fell ill
and was obliged to stay in bed. The King was sorely troubled when he
saw his precious bride so ill, and at once sent for the fish doctor to
come and give her some medicine. He gave special orders to the servants
to nurse her carefully and to wait upon her with diligence, but in
spite of all the nurses' assiduous care and the medicine that the
doctor prescribed, the young Queen showed no signs of recovery, but
grew daily worse.
Then the Dragon King interviewed the doctor and blamed him for not
curing the Queen. The doctor was alarmed at Rin Jin's evident
displeasure, and excused his want of skill by saying that although he
knew the right kind of medicine to give the invalid, it was impossible
to find it in the sea.
"Do you mean to tell me that you can't get the medicine here?" asked
the Dragon King.
"It is just as you say!" said the doctor.
"Tell me what it is you want for the Queen?" demanded Rin Jin.
"I want the liver of a live monkey!" answered the doctor.
"The liver of a live monkey! Of course that will be most difficult to
get," said the King.
"If we could only get that for the Queen, Her Majesty would soon
recover," said the doctor.
"Very well, that decides it; we MUST get it somehow or other. But where
are we most likely to find a monkey?" asked the King.
Then the doctor told the Dragon King that some distance to the south
there was a Monkey Island where a great many monkeys lived.
"If only you could capture one of these monkeys?" said the doctor.
"How can any of my people capture a monkey?" said the Dragon King,
greatly puzzled. "The monkeys live on dry land, while we live in the
water; and out of our element we are quite powerless! I don't see what
we can do!"
"That has been my difficulty too," said the doctor. "But amongst your
innumerable servants you surely can find one who can go on shore for
that express purpose!"
"Something must be done," said the King, and calling his chief steward
he consulted him on the matter.
The chief steward thought for some time, and then, as if struck by a
sudden thought, said joyfully:
"I know what we must do! There is the kurage (jelly fish). He is
certainly ugly to look at, but he is proud of being able to walk on
land with his four legs like a tortoise. Let us send him to the Island
of Monkeys to catch one."
The jelly fish was then summoned to the King's presence, and was told
by His Majesty what was required of him.
The jelly fish, on being told of the unexpected mission which was to be
intrusted to him, looked very troubled, and said that he had never been
to the island in question, and as he had never had any experience in
catching monkeys he was afraid that he would not be able to get one.