The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter

Once upon a time, there was an old bamboo cutter who went up into the forest  every morning to collect bamboo. One day, he saw a shining stalk of bamboo and when he cut it open,there was a small beautiful girl inside. He brought her home to his wife and they named the girl Kaguya-hime and raised her as their own.

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Kaguya

Kaguya-hime grew into normal-sized woman of extraordinary beauty and news of her fairness spread. Five princes came to ask for Kaguya-hime’s hand in marriage. She did not want to be married and devised impossible tasks for her suitors, promising to marry the prince who brought her the specified item. Three of the princes tried to deceive her with fakes, the fourth gave up, and the fifth prince lost his life in his attempt. Eventually,  the Emperor of Japan also came to see Kagayuhime and fell in love with her, but she refused his proprosal as well. That summer, each time Kagayume saw the full moon, her eyes filled with tears. Her parents were very worried and questioned her until she revealed she was not of this world and must return to her people on the Moon.

 As the day of her return approached, the Emperor sent many guards to her house to protect Kaguya-hime, and her parents held her tightly. When an embassy from the Moon arrived, the guards were blinded by a strange light and they were unable to take any action.

Kaguya-hime announced that even though she loved her family on Earth, she must return to where she truly belonged. She wrote sad notes of apology to her parents and to the Emperor.  She gave her robe to her parents as momento and took a drink of the elixir of life, and attached it to the Emperor’s letter. As Kaguya-hime handed off the these items, a robe of feathers of placed on her shoulders and all the sadness and compassion she felt for the people of Earth were forgotten, and she returned to the the Capital of the Moon. ~

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