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Age Rating 8 Plus.
Kintaro the golden boy.
Start of Story
Long, long ago there lived in Kyoto a brave soldier named Kintoki. Now
he fell in love with a beautiful lady and married her. Not long after
this, through the malice of some of his friends, he fell into disgrace
at Court and was dismissed. This misfortune so preyed upon his mind
that he did not long survive his dismissal--he died, leaving behind him
his beautiful young wife to face the world alone. Fearing her husband's
enemies, she fled to the Ashigara Mountains as soon as her husband was
dead, and there in the lonely forests where no one ever came except
woodcutters, a little boy was born to her. She called him Kintaro or
the Golden Boy. Now the remarkable thing about this child was his great
strength, and as he grew older he grew stronger and stronger, so that
by the time he was eight years of age he was able to cut down trees as
quickly as the woodcutters. Then his mother gave him a large ax, and he
used to go out in the forest and help the woodcutters, who called him
"Wonder-child," and his mother the "Old Nurse of the Mountains," for
they did not know her high rank. Another favorite pastime of Kintaro's
was to smash up rocks and stones. You can imagine how strong he was!
Quite unlike other boys, Kintaro, grew up all alone in the mountain
wilds, and as he had no companions he made friends with all the animals
and learned to understand them and to speak their strange talk. By
degrees they all grew quite tame and looked upon Kintaro as their
master, and he used them as his servants and messengers. But his
special retainers were the bear, the deer, the monkey and the hare.
The bear often brought her cubs for Kintaro to romp with, and when she
came to take them home Kintaro would get on her back and have a ride to
her cave. He was very fond of the deer too, and would often put his
arms round the creature's neck to show that its long horns did not
frighten him. Great was the fun they all had together.
One day, as usual, Kintaro went up into the mountains, followed by the
bear, the deer, the monkey, and the hare. After walking for some time
up hill and down dale and over rough roads, they suddenly came out upon
a wide and grassy plain covered with pretty wild flowers.
Here, indeed, was a nice place where they could all have a good romp
together. The deer rubbed his horns against a tree for pleasure, the
monkey scratched his back, the hare smoothed his long ears, and the
bear gave a grunt of satisfaction.
Kintaro said, "Here is a place for a good game. What do you all say to
a wrestling match?"
The bear being the biggest and the oldest, answered for the others:
"That will be great fun," said she. "I am the strongest animal, so I
will make the platform for the wrestlers;" and she set to work with a
will to dig up the earth and to pat it into shape.
"All right," said Kintaro, "I will look on while you all wrestle with
each other. I shall give a prize to the one who wins in each round."
"What fun! we shall all try to get the prize," said the bear.
The deer, the monkey and the hare set to work to help the bear raise
the platform on which they were all to wrestle. When this was finished,
Kintaro cried out:
"Now begin! the monkey and the hare shall open the sports and the deer
shall be umpire. Now, Mr. Deer, you are to be umpire!"
"He, he!" answered the deer. "I will be umpire. Now, Mr. Monkey and Mr.
Hare, if you are both ready, please walk out and take your places on
Then the monkey and the hare both hopped out, quickly and nimbly, to
the wrestling platform. The deer, as umpire, stood between the two and
"Red-back! Red-back!" (this to the monkey, who has a red back in
Japan). "Are you ready?"
Then he turned to the hare:
"Long-ears! Long-ears! are you ready?"
Both the little wrestlers faced each other while the deer raised a leaf
on high as signal. When he dropped the leaf the monkey and the hare
rushed upon each other, crying "Yoisho, yoisho!"
While the monkey and the hare wrestled, the deer called out
encouragingly or shouted warnings to each of them as the hare or the
monkey pushed each other near the edge of the platform and were in
danger of falling over.
"Red-back! Red-back! stand your ground!" called out the deer.
"Long-ears! Long-ears! be strong, be strong--don't let the monkey beat
you!" grunted the bear.