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My Lord Bag of Rice

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His red hair streamed over his shoulders and was surmounted by a crown in the shape of a dragon's head, and his sea-green dress was patterned with shells. Hidesato knew at once that this was no ordinary mortal and he wondered much at the strange occurrence. Where had the dragon gone in such a short space of time? Or had it transformed itself into this man, and what did the whole thing mean? While these thoughts passed through his mind he had come up to the man on the bridge and now addressed him: "Was it you that called me just now?" "Yes, it was I," answered the man: "I have an earnest request to make to you. Do you think you can grant it to me?" "If it is in my power to do so I will," answered Hidesato, "but first tell me who you are?" "I am the Dragon King of the Lake, and my home is in these waters just under this bridge."



"And what is it you have to ask of me!" said Hidesato. "I want you to kill my mortal enemy the centipede, who lives on the mountain beyond," and the Dragon King pointed to a high peak on the opposite shore of the lake. "I have lived now for many years in this lake and I have a large family of children and grandchildren. For some time past we have lived in terror, for a monster centipede has discovered our home, and night after night it comes and carries off one of my family. I am powerless to save them. If it goes on much longer like this, not only shall I lose all my children, but I myself must fall a victim to the monster. I am, therefore, very unhappy, therefore, in my extremity I determined to ask the help of a human being."

       



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