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My Lord Bag of Rice
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Start of Story
"For many days with this intention I have
waited on the bridge in the shape of the horrible serpent dragon that
you saw, in the hope that some strong brave man would come along. But
all who came this way, as soon as they saw me were terrified and ran
away as fast as they could. You are the first man I have found able to
look at me without fear, so I knew at once that you were a man of great
courage. I beg you to have pity upon me. Will you not help me and kill
my enemy the centipede?"
Hidesato felt very sorry for the Dragon King on hearing his story, and
readily promised to do what he could to help him. The warrior asked
where the centipede lived, so that he might attack the creature at
The Dragon King replied that its home was on the mountain Mikami,
but that as it came every night at a certain hour to the palace of the
lake, it would be better to wait till then.
So Hidesato was conducted
to the palace of the Dragon King, under the bridge. Strange to say, as
he followed his host downwards the waters parted to let them pass, and
his clothes did not even feel damp as he passed through the flood.
Never had Hidesato seen anything so beautiful as this palace built of
white marble beneath the lake. He had often heard of the Sea King's
palace at the bottom of the sea, where all the servants and retainers
were salt water fishes, but here was a magnificent building in the
heart of Lake Biwa. The dainty goldfishes, red carp, and silvery trout,
waited upon the Dragon King and his guest.
Hidesato was astonished at the feast that was spread for him. The
dishes were crystallized lotus leaves and flowers, and the chopsticks
were of the rarest ebony. As soon as they sat down, the sliding doors
opened and ten lovely goldfish dancers came out, and behind them
followed ten red carp musicians with the koto and the samisen.