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Koremotschi and the Oni
A samurai goes out hunting and an Oni lays a trap for him.
The Oni and the Refugees
A warrior and a servent fall in love but they are forbidden to marry so they flee into the oni haunted mountains.
MOMOTARO, OR THE STORY OF THE SON OF A PEACH.
Long, long ago there lived, an old man and an old woman; they were peasants, and had to work hard to earn their daily rice. The old man used to go and cut grass for the farmers around, and while he was gone the old woman, his wife, did the work of the house and worked in their own little rice field.
One day the old man went to the hills as usual to cut grass and the old woman took some clothes to the river to wash.
It was nearly summer, and the country was very beautiful to see in its fresh greenness as the two old people went on their way to work. The grass on the banks of the river looked like emerald velvet, and the pussy willows along the edge of the water were shaking out their soft tassels.
The breezes blew and ruffled the smooth surface of the water into wavelets, and passing on touched the cheeks of the old couple who, for some reason they could not explain, felt very happy that morning.
The old woman at last found a nice spot by the river bank and put her basket down. Then she set to work to wash the clothes; she took them one by one out of the basket and washed them in the river and rubbed them on the stones. The water was as clear as crystal, and she could see the tiny fish swimming to and fro, and the pebbles at the bottom.
As she was busy washing her clothes a great peach came bumping down the stream. The old woman looked up from her work and saw this large peach. She was sixty years of age, yet in all her life she had never seen such a big peach as this.
"How delicious that peach must be!" she said to herself. "I must certainly get it and take it home to my old man."
She stretched out her arm to try and get it, but it was quite out of her reach. She looked about for a stick, but there was not one to be seen, and if she went to look for one she would lose the peach.
Stopping a moment to think what she would do, she remembered an old charm-verse. Now she began to clap her hands to keep time to the rolling of the peach down stream, and while she clapped she sang this song:
water is bitter,
Strange to say, as soon as she began to repeat this little song the peach began to come nearer and nearer the bank where the old woman was standing, till at last it stopped just in front of her so that she was able to take it up in her hands. The old woman was delighted. She could not go on with her work, so happy and excited was she, so she put all the clothes back in her bamboo basket, and with the basket on her back and the peach in her hand she hurried homewards.
It seemed a very long time to her to wait till her husband returned. The old man at last came back as the sun was setting, with a big bundle of grass on his back—so big that he was almost hidden and she could hardly see him. He seemed very tired and used the scythe for a walking stick, leaning on it as he walked along.
As soon as the old woman saw him she called out:
"O Fii San! (old man) I have been waiting for you to come home for such a long time to-day!"
"What is the matter? Why are you so impatient?" asked the old man, wondering at her unusual eagerness. "Has anything happened while I have been away?"
"Oh, no!" answered the old woman, "nothing has happened, only I have found a nice present for you!"
"That is good," said the old man. He then washed his feet in a basin of water and stepped up to the veranda.
The old woman now ran into the little room and brought out from the cupboard the big peach. It felt even heavier than before. She held it up to him, saying:
"Just look at this! Did you ever see such a large peach in all your life?"
When the old man looked at the peach he was greatly astonished and said:
"This is indeed the largest peach I have ever seen! Wherever did you buy it?"
"I did not buy it," answered the old woman. "I found it in the river where I was washing." And she told him the whole story.
"I am very glad that you have found it. Let us eat it now, for I am hungry," said the O Fii San.
He brought out the kitchen knife, and, placing the peach on a board, was about to cut it when, wonderful to tell, the peach split in two of itself and a clear voice said:
"Wait a bit, old man!" and out stepped a beautiful little child.
The old man and his wife were both so astonished at what they saw that they fell to the ground. The child spoke again:
"Don't be afraid. I am no demon or fairy. I will tell you the truth. Heaven has had compassion on you. Every day and every night you have lamented that you had no child. Your cry has been heard and I am sent to be the son of your old age!"
On hearing this the old man and his wife were very happy. They had cried night and day for sorrow at having no child to help them in their lonely old age, and now that their prayer was answered they were so lost with joy that they did not know where to put their hands or their feet. First the old man took the child up in his arms, and then the old woman did the same; and they named him MOMOTARO, OR SON OF A PEACH, because he had come out of a peach.
The years passed quickly by and the child grew to be fifteen years of age. He was taller and far stronger than any other boys of his own age, he had a handsome face and a heart full of courage, and he was very wise for his years. The old couple's pleasure was very great when they looked at him, for he was just what they thought a hero ought to be like.
One day Momotaro came to his foster-father and said solemnly:
"Father, by a strange chance we have become father and son. Your goodness to me has been higher than the mountain grasses which it was your daily work to cut, and deeper than the river where my mother washes the clothes. I do not know how to thank you enough."
"Why," answered the old man, "it is a matter of course that a father should bring up his son. When you are older it will be your turn to take care of us, so after all there will be no profit or loss between us—all will be equal. Indeed, I am rather surprised that you should thank me in this way!" and the old man looked bothered.
"I hope you will be patient with me," said Momotaro; "but before I begin to pay back your goodness to me I have a request to make which I hope you will grant me above everything else."
"I will let you do whatever you wish, for you are quite different to all other boys!"
"Then let me go away at once!"
"What do you say? Do you wish to leave your old father and mother and go away from your old home?"
"I will surely come back again, if you let me go now!"
"Where are you going?"
"You must think it strange that I want to go away," said Momotaro, "because I have not yet told you my reason. Far away from here to the northeast of Japan there is an island in the sea. This island is the stronghold of a band of onis. I have often heard how they invade this land, kill and rob the people, and carry off all they can find. They are not only very wicked but they are disloyal to our Emperor and disobey his laws. They are also cannibals, for they kill and eat some of the poor people who are so unfortunate as to fall into their hands. These onis are very hateful beings. I must go and conquer them and bring back all the plunder of which they have robbed this land. It is for this reason that I want to go away for a short time!"
The old man was much surprised at hearing all this from a mere boy of fifteen. He thought it best to let the boy go. He was strong and fearless, and besides all this, the old man knew he was no common child, for he had been sent to them as a gift from Heaven, and he felt quite sure that the onis would be powerless to harm him.
"All you say is very interesting, Momotaro," said the old man. "I will not hinder you in your determination. You may go if you wish. Go to the island as soon as ever you like and destroy the demons and bring peace to the land."
"Thank you, for all your kindness," said Momotaro, who began to get ready to go that very day. He was full of courage and did not know what fear was.
The old man and woman at once set to work to pound rice in the kitchen mortar to make cakes for Momotaro to take with him on his journey.
At last the cakes were made and Momotaro was ready to start on his long journey.
Parting is always sad. So it was now. The eyes of the two old people were filled with tears and their voices trembled as they said:
"Go with all care and speed. We expect you back victorious!"
Momotaro was very sorry to leave his old parents (though he knew he was coming back as soon as he could), for he thought of how lonely they would be while he was away. But he said "Good-by!" quite bravely.
"I am going now. Take good care of yourselves while I am away. Good-by!" And he stepped quickly out of the house. In silence the eyes of Momotaro and his parents met in farewell.
Momotaro now hurried on his way till it was midday. He began to feel hungry, so he opened his bag and took out one of the rice-cakes and sat down under a tree by the side of the road to eat it. While he was thus having his lunch a dog almost as large as a colt came running out from the high grass. He made straight for Momotaro, and showing his teeth, said in a fierce way:
"You are a rude man to pass my field without asking permission first. If you leave me all the cakes you have in your bag you may go; otherwise I will bite you till I kill you!"
Momotaro only laughed scornfully:
"What is that you are saying? Do you know who I am? I am Momotaro, and I am on my way to subdue the onis in their island stronghold in the northeast of Japan. If you try to stop me on my way there I will cut you in two from the head downwards!"
The dog's manner at once changed. His tail dropped between his legs, and coming near he bowed so low that his forehead touched the ground.
"What do I hear? The name of Momotaro? Are you indeed Momotaro? I have often heard of your great strength. Not knowing who you were I have behaved in a very stupid way. Will you please pardon my rudeness? Are you indeed on your way to invade the Island of onis? If you will take such a rude fellow with you as one of your followers, I shall be very grateful to you."
"I think I can take you with me if you wish to go," said Momotaro.
"Thank you!" said the dog. "By the way, I am very very hungry. Will you give me one of the cakes you are carrying?"
"This is the best kind of cake there is in Japan," said Momotaro. "I cannot spare you a whole one; I will give you half of one."
"Thank you very much," said the dog, taking the piece thrown to him.
Then Momotaro got up and the dog followed. For a long time they walked over the hills and through the valleys. As they were going along an animal came down from a tree a little ahead of them. The creature soon came up to Momotaro and said:
"Good morning, Momotaro! You are welcome in this part of the country. Will you allow me to go with you?"
The dog answered jealously:
"Momotaro already has a dog to accompany him. Of what use is a monkey like you in battle? We are on our way to fight the onis! Get away!"
The dog and the monkey began to quarrel and bite, for these two animals always hate each other.
"Now, don't quarrel!" said Momotaro, putting himself between them. "Wait a moment, dog!"
"It is not at all dignified for you to have such a creature as that following you!" said the dog.
"What do you know about it?" asked Momotaro; and pushing aside the dog, he spoke to the monkey:
"Who are you?"
"I am a monkey living in these hills," replied the monkey. "I heard of your expedition to the Island of onis, and I have come to go with you. Nothing will please me more than to follow you!"
"Do you really wish to go to the Island of onis and fight with me?"
"Yes, sir," replied the monkey.
"I admire your courage," said Momotaro. "Here is a piece of one of my fine rice-cakes. Come along!"
So the monkey joined Momotaro. The dog and the monkey did not get on well together. They were always snapping at each other as they went along, and always wanting to have a fight. This made Momotaro very cross, and at last he sent the dog on ahead with a flag and put the monkey behind with a sword, and he placed himself between them with a war-fan, which is made of iron.
By and by they came to a large field. Here a bird flew down and alighted on the ground just in front of the little party. It was the most beautiful bird Momotaro had ever seen. On its body were five different robes of feathers and its head was covered with a scarlet cap.
The dog at once ran at the bird and tried to seize and kill it. But the bird struck out its spurs and flew at the dog's tail, and the fight went hard with both.
Momotaro, as he looked on, could not help admiring the bird; it showed so much spirit in the fight. It would certainly make a good fighter.
Momotaro went up to the two combatants, and holding the dog back, said to the bird:
"You rascal! you are hindering my journey. Surrender at once, and I will take you with me. If you don't I will set this dog to bite your head off!"
Then the bird surrendered at once, and begged to be taken into Momotaro's company.
"I do not know what excuse to offer for quarreling with the dog, your servant, but I did not see you. I am a miserable bird called a pheasant. It is very generous of you to pardon my rudeness and to take me with you. Please allow me to follow you behind the dog and the monkey!"
"I congratulate you on surrendering so soon," said Momotaro, smiling. "Come and join us in our raid on the onis."
"Are you going to take this bird with you also?" asked the dog, interrupting.
"Why do you ask such an unnecessary question? Didn't you hear what I said? I take the bird with me because I wish to!"
"Humph!" said the dog.
Then Momotaro stood and gave this order:
"Now all of you must listen to me. The first thing necessary in an army is harmony. It is a wise saying which says that 'Advantage on earth is better than advantage in Heaven!' Union amongst ourselves is better than any earthly gain. When we are not at peace amongst ourselves it is no easy thing to subdue an enemy. From now, you three, the dog, the monkey and the pheasant, must be friends with one mind. The one who first begins a quarrel will be discharged on the spot!"
All the three promised not to quarrel. The pheasant was now made a member of Momotaro's suite, and received half a cake.
Momotaro's influence was so great that the three became good friends, and hurried onwards with him as their leader.
Hurrying on day after day they at last came out upon the shore of the North-Eastern Sea. There was nothing to be seen as far as the horizon—not a sign of any island. All that broke the stillness was the rolling of the waves upon the shore.
Now, the dog and the monkey and the pheasant had come very bravely all the way through the long valleys and over the hills, but they had never seen the sea before, and for the first time since they set out they were bewildered and gazed at each other in silence. How were they to cross the water and get to the Island of onis?
Momotaro soon saw that they were daunted by the sight of the sea, and to try them he spoke loudly and roughly:
"Why do you hesitate? Are you afraid of the sea? Oh! what cowards you are! It is impossible to take such weak creatures as you with me to fight the demons. It will be far better for me to go alone. I discharge you all at once!"
The three animals were taken aback at this sharp reproof, and clung to Momotaro's sleeve, begging him not to send them away.
"Please, Momotaro!" said the dog.
"We have come thus far!" said the monkey.
"It is inhuman to leave us here!" said the pheasant.
"We are not at all afraid of the sea," said the monkey again.
"Please do take us with you," said the pheasant.
"Do please," said the dog.
They had now gained a little courage, so Momotaro said:
"Well, then, I will take you with me, but be careful!"
Momotaro now got a small ship, and they all got on board. The wind and weather were fair, and the ship went like an arrow over the sea. It was the first time they had ever been on the water, and so at first the dog, the monkey and the pheasant were frightened at the waves and the rolling of the vessel, but by degrees they grew accustomed to the water and were quite happy again. Every day they paced the deck of their little ship, eagerly looking out for the demons' island.
When they grew tired of this, they told each other stories of all their exploits of which they were proud, and then played games together; and Momotaro found much to amuse him in listening to the three animals and watching their antics, and in this way he forgot that the way was long and that he was tired of the voyage and of doing nothing. He longed to be at work killing the monsters who had done so much harm in his country.
As the wind blew in their favor and they met no storms the ship made a quick voyage, and one day when the sun was shining brightly a sight of land rewarded the four watchers at the bow.
Momotaro knew at once that what they saw was the onis' stronghold. On the top of the precipitous shore, looking out to sea, was a large castle. Now that his enterprise was close at hand, he was deep in thought with his head leaning on his hands, wondering how he should begin the attack. His three followers watched him, waiting for orders. At last he called to the pheasant:
"It is a great advantage for us to have you with us." said Momotaro to the bird, "for you have good wings. Fly at once to the castle and engage the demons to fight. We will follow you."
The pheasant at once obeyed. He flew off from the ship beating the air gladly with his wings. The bird soon reached the island and took up his position on the roof in the middle of the castle, calling out loudly:
"All you onis listen to me! The great Japanese general Momotaro has come to fight you and to take your stronghold from you. If you wish to save your lives surrender at once, and in token of your submission you must break off the horns that grow on your forehead. If you do not surrender at once, but make up your mind to fight, we, the pheasant, the dog and the monkey, will kill you all by biting and tearing you to death!"
The horned demons looking up and only seeing a pheasant, laughed and said:
"A wild pheasant, indeed! It is ridiculous to hear such words from a mean thing like you. Wait till you get a blow from one of our iron bars!"
Very angry, indeed, were the onis. They shook their horns and their shocks of red hair fiercely, and rushed to put on tiger skin trousers to make themselves look more terrible. They then brought out great iron bars and ran to where the pheasant perched over their heads, and tried to knock him down. The pheasant flew to one side to escape the blow, and then attacked the head of first one and then another demon. He flew round and round them, beating the air with his wings so fiercely and ceaselessly, that the onis began to wonder whether they had to fight one or many more birds.
In the meantime, Momotaro had brought his ship to land. As they had approached, he saw that the shore was like a precipice, and that the large castle was surrounded by high walls and large iron gates and was strongly fortified.
Momotaro landed, and with the hope of finding some way of entrance, walked up the path towards the top, followed by the monkey and the dog. They soon came upon two beautiful damsels washing clothes in a stream. Momotaro saw that the clothes were blood-stained, and that as the two maidens washed, the tears were falling fast down their cheeks. He stopped and spoke to them:
"Who are you, and why do you weep?"
"We are captives of the Demon King. We were carried away from our homes to this island, and though we are the daughters of Daimios (Lords), we are obliged to be his servants, and one day he will kill us"—and the maidens held up the blood-stained clothes—"and eat us, and there is no one to help us!"
And their tears burst out afresh at this horrible thought.
"I will rescue you," said Momotaro. "Do not weep any more, only show me how I may get into the castle."
Then the two ladies led the way and showed Momotaro a little back door in the lowest part of the castle wall—so small that Momotaro could hardly crawl in.
The pheasant, who was all this time fighting hard, saw Momotaro and his little band rush in at the back.
Momotaro's onslaught was so furious that the onis could not stand against him. At first their foe had been a single bird, the pheasant, but now that Momotaro and the dog and the monkey had arrived they were bewildered, for the four enemies fought like a hundred, so strong were they. Some of the onis fell off the parapet of the castle and were dashed to pieces on the rocks beneath; others fell into the sea and were drowned; many were beaten to death by the three animals.
The chief of the onis at last was the only one left. He made up his mind to surrender, for he knew that his enemy was stronger than mortal man.
He came up humbly to Momotaro and threw down his iron bar, and kneeling down at the victor's feet he broke off the horns on his head in token of submission, for they were the sign of his strength and power.
"I am afraid of you," he said meekly. "I cannot stand against you. I will give you all the treasure hidden in this castle if you will spare my life!"
"It is not like you, big oni, to beg for mercy, is it? I cannot spare your wicked life, however much you beg, for you have killed and tortured many people and robbed our country for many years."
Then Momotaro tied the oni chief up and gave him into the monkey's charge. Having done this, he went into all the rooms of the castle and set the prisoners free and gathered together all the treasure he found.
The dog and the pheasant carried home the plunder, and thus Momotaro returned triumphantly to his home, taking with him the oni chief as a captive.
The two poor damsels, daughters of Daimios, and others whom the wicked demon had carried off to be his slaves, were taken safely to their own homes and delivered to their parents.
The whole country made a hero of Momotaro on his triumphant return, and rejoiced that the country was now freed from the robber onis who had been a terror of the land for a long time.
The old couple's joy was greater than ever, and the treasure Momotaro had brought home with him enabled them to live in peace and plenty to the end of their days.
THE ONI OF RASHOMON.
Long, long ago in Kyoto, the people of the city were terrified by accounts of a dreadful oni, who, it was said, haunted the Gate of Rashomon at twilight and seized whoever passed by. The missing victims were never seen again, so it was whispered that the oni was a horrible cannibal, who not only killed the unhappy victims but ate them also. Now everybody in the town and neighborhood was in great fear, and no one durst venture out after sunset near the Gate of Rashomon.
Now at this time there lived in Kyoto a general named Raiko, who had made himself famous for his brave deeds. Some time before this he made the country ring with his name, for he had attacked Oeyama, where a band of onis lived with their chief, who instead of wine drank the blood of human beings. He had routed them all and cut off the head of the chief monster.
This brave warrior was always followed by a band of faithful knights. In this band there were five knights of great valor. One evening as the five knights sat at a feast quaffing SAKE in their rice bowls and eating all kinds of fish, raw, and stewed, and broiled, and toasting each other's healths and exploits, the first knight, Hojo, said to the others:
"Have you all heard the rumor that every evening after sunset there comes an oni to the Gate of Rashomon, and that he seizes all who pass by?"
The second knight, Watanabe, answered him, saying:
"Do not talk such nonsense! All the onis were killed by our chief Raiko at Oeyama! It cannot be true, because even if any onis did escape from that great killing they would not dare to show themselves in this city, for they know that our brave master would at once attack them if he knew that any of them were still alive!"
"Then do you disbelieve what I say, and think that I am telling you a falsehood?"
"No, I do not think that you are telling a lie," said Watanabe; "but you have heard some old woman's story which is not worth believing."
"Then the best plan is to prove what I say, by going there yourself and finding out yourself whether it is true or not," said Hojo.
Watanabe, the second knight, could not bear the thought that his companion should believe he was afraid, so he answered quickly:
"Of course, I will go at once and find out for myself!"
So Watanabe at once got ready to go—he buckled on his long sword and put on a coat of armor, and tied on his large helmet. When he was ready to start he said to the others:
"Give me something so that I can prove I have been there!"
Then one of the men got a roll of writing paper and his box of Indian ink and brushes, and the four comrades wrote their names on a piece of paper.
"I will take this," said Watanabe, "and put it on the Gate of Rashomon, so to-morrow morning will you all go and look at it? I may be able to catch an oni or two by then!" and he mounted his horse and rode off gallantly.
It was a very dark night, and there was neither moon nor star to light Watanabe on his way. To make the darkness worse a storm came on, the rain fell heavily and the wind howled like wolves in the mountains. Any ordinary man would have trembled at the thought of going out of doors, but Watanabe was a brave warrior and dauntless, and his honor and word were at stake, so he sped on into the night, while his companions listened to the sound of his horse's hoofs dying away in the distance, then shut the sliding shutters close and gathered round the charcoal fire and wondered what would happen—and whether their comrade would encounter one of those horrible Oni.
At last Watanabe reached the Gate of Rashomon, but peer as he might through the darkness he could see no sign of an oni.
"It is just as I thought," said Watanabe to himself; "there are certainly no onis here; it is only an old woman's story. I will stick this paper on the gate so that the others can see I have been here when they come to-morrow, and then I will take my way home and laugh at them all."
He fastened the piece of paper, signed by all his four companions, on the gate, and then turned his horse's head towards home.
As he did so he became aware that some one was behind him, and at the same time a voice called out to him to wait. Then his helmet was seized from the back. "Who are you?" said Watanabe fearlessly. He then put out his hand and groped around to find out who or what it was that held him by the helmet. As he did so he touched something that felt like an arm—it was covered with hair and as big round as the trunk of a tree!
Watanabe knew at once that this was the arm of an ogre, so he drew his sword and cut at it fiercely.
There was a loud yell of pain, and then the oni dashed in front of the warrior.
Watanabe's eyes grew large with wonder, for he saw that the oni was taller than the great gate, his eyes were flashing like mirrors in the sunlight, and his huge mouth was wide open, and as the monster breathed, flames of fire shot out of his mouth.
The oni thought to terrify his foe, but Watanabe never flinched. He attacked the oni with all his strength, and thus they fought face to face for a long time. At last the oni, finding that he could neither frighten nor beat Watanabe and that he might himself be beaten, took to flight. But Watanabe, determined not to let the monster escape, put spurs to his horse and gave chase.
But though the knight rode very fast the oni ran faster, and to his disappointment he found himself unable to overtake the monster, who was gradually lost to sight.
Watanabe returned to the gate where the fierce fight had taken place, and got down from his horse. As he did so he stumbled upon something lying on the ground.
Stooping to pick it up he found that it was one of the oni's huge arms which he must have slashed off in the fight. His joy was great at having secured such a prize, for this was the best of all proofs of his adventure with the oni. So he took it up carefully and carried it home as a trophy of his victory.
When he got back, he showed the arm to his comrades, who one and all called him the hero of their band and gave him a great feast. His wonderful deed was soon noised abroad in Kyoto, and people from far and near came to see the oni's arm.
Watanabe now began to grow uneasy as to how he should keep the arm in safety, for he knew that the oni to whom it belonged was still alive. He felt sure that one day or other, as soon as the oni got over his scare, he would come to try to get his arm back again. Watanabe therefore had a box made of the strongest wood and banded with iron. In this he placed the arm, and then he sealed down the heavy lid, refusing to open it for anyone. He kept the box in his own room and took charge of it himself, never allowing it out of his sight.
Now one night he heard some one knocking at the porch, asking for admittance.
When the servant went to the door to see who it was, there was only an old woman, very respectable in appearance. On being asked who she was and what was her business, the old woman replied with a smile that she had been nurse to the master of the house when he was a little baby. If the lord of the house were at home she begged to be allowed to see him.
The servant left the old woman at the door and went to tell his master that his old nurse had come to see him. Watanabe thought it strange that she should come at that time of night, but at the thought of his old nurse, who had been like a foster-mother to him and whom he had not seen for a long time, a very tender feeling sprang up for her in his heart. He ordered the servant to show her in.
The old woman was ushered into the room, and after the customary bows and greetings were over, she said:
"Master, the report of your brave fight with the oni at the Gate of Rashomon is so widely known that even your poor old nurse has heard of it. Is it really true, what every one says, that you cut off one of the oni's arms? If you did, your deed is highly to be praised!"
"I was very disappointed," said Watanabe, "that I was not able take the monster captive, which was what I wished to do, instead of only cutting off an arm!"
"I am very proud to think," answered the old woman, "that my master was so brave as to dare to cut off an ogre's arm. There is nothing that can be compared to your courage. Before I die it is the great wish of my life to see this arm," she added pleadingly.
"No," said Watanabe, "I am sorry, but I cannot grant your request."
"But why?" asked the old woman.
"Because," replied Watanabe, "onis are very revengeful creatures, and if I open the box there is no telling but that the oni may suddenly appear and carry off his arm. I have had a box made on purpose with a very strong lid, and in this box I keep the oni's arm secure; and I never show it to any one, whatever happens."
"Your precaution is very reasonable," said the old woman. "But I am your old nurse, so surely you will not refuse to show ME the arm. I have only just heard of your brave act, and not being able to wait till the morning I came at once to ask you to show it to me."
Watanabe was very troubled at the old woman's pleading, but he still persisted in refusing. Then the old woman said:
"Do you suspect me of being a spy sent by the oni?"
"No, of course I do not suspect you of being the oni's spy, for you are my old nurse," answered Watanabe.
"Then you cannot surely refuse to show me the arm any longer." entreated the old woman; "for it is the great wish of my heart to see for once in my life the arm of an oni!"
Watanabe could not hold out in his refusal any longer, so he gave in at last, saying:
"Then I will show you the oni's arm, since you so earnestly wish to see it. Come, follow me!" and he led the way to his own room, the old woman following.
When they were both in the room Watanabe shut the door carefully, and then going towards a big box which stood in a corner of the room, he took off the heavy lid. He then called to the old woman to come near and look in, for he never took the arm out of the box.
"What is it like? Let me have a good look at it," said the old nurse, with a joyful face.
She came nearer and nearer, as if she were afraid, till she stood right against the box. Suddenly she plunged her hand into the box and seized the arm, crying with a fearful voice which made the room shake:
"Oh, joy! I have got my arm back again!"
And from an old woman she was suddenly transformed into the towering figure of the frightful oni!
Watanabe sprang back and was unable to move for a moment, so great was his astonishment; but recognizing the oni who had attacked him at the Gate of Rashomon, he determined with his usual courage to put an end to him this time. He seized his sword, drew it out of its sheath in a flash, and tried to cut the oni down.
So quick was Watanabe that the creature had a narrow escape. But the oni sprang up to the ceiling, and bursting through the roof, disappeared in the mist and clouds.
In this way the oni escaped with his arm. The knight gnashed his teeth with disappointment, but that was all he could do. He waited in patience for another opportunity to dispatch the oni. But the latter was afraid of Watanabe's great strength and daring, and never troubled Kyoto again. So once more the people of the city were able to go out without fear even at night time, and the brave deeds of Watanabe have never been forgotten!