The Bamboo Cutter and the Moon-Child

taketori_monogatari_2

Public Domain

The Bamboo cutter

There was once a man named Taketori no Okina (the Old Man who Harvests Bamboo) who made his living by cutting bamboo.  Although he was married he had no children although he and his wife would dearly have loved one.  One day while walking through the bamboo forest he found something very strange.  It was a shining stalk of bamboo and he stopped to have a closer look.  After spending all his life cutting bamboo he had never seen a stalk of bamboo like it.  Intrigued, he cut it open to see what was making it shine.  

Kaguya-hime

To his astonishment and joy there was a tiny baby girl no bigger than his thumb inside.  In wonder and delight he hurried home to show his wife who was also pleased and delighted and they both fell in love with her. They named the baby girl, Kaguya-hime which means princess of bamboos scattering light.  Together and with much love and devotion they raised the tiny girl as their own.  

Ever since  the day Taketori no Okina had found Kaguya-hime every time he cut a stalk of bamboo he found a small nugget of gold inside.   Very soon he became very rich and his daughter grew very fast into an extraordinarily beautiful woman of more normal size.  To begin with he and his wife had tried to keep the existence of Kaguya-hime secret from outsiders, but as is often the case with the extraordinary word spread of her beauty.

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