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My Lord Bag of Rice
Start of Story
When the Dragon King saw that even this brave warrior's arrows were powerless to
kill the centipede, he lost heart and began to tremble with fear.
The warrior saw that he had now only one arrow left in his quiver, and
if this one failed he could not kill the centipede. He looked across
the waters. The huge reptile had wound its horrid body seven times
round the mountain and would soon come down to the lake. Nearer and
nearer gleamed fireballs of eyes, and the light of its hundred feet
began to throw reflections in the still waters of the lake.
Then suddenly the warrior remembered that he had heard that human
saliva was deadly to centipedes. But this was no ordinary centipede.
This was so monstrous that even to think of such a creature made one
creep with horror. Hidesato determined to try his last chance. So
taking his last arrow and first putting the end of it in his mouth, he
fitted the notch to his bow, took careful aim once more and let fly.
This time the arrow again hit the centipede right in the middle of its
head, but instead of glancing off harmlessly as before, it struck home
to the creature's brain. Then with a convulsive shudder the serpentine
body stopped moving, and the fiery light of its great eyes and hundred
feet darkened to a dull glare like the sunset of a stormy day, and then
went out in blackness. A great darkness now overspread the heavens, the
thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, and the wind roared in fury,
and it seemed as if the world were coming to an end. The Dragon King
and his children and retainers all crouched in different parts of the
palace, frightened to death, for the building was shaken to its
foundation. At last the dreadful night was over. Day dawned beautiful
and clear. The centipede was gone from the mountain.