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Once upon a time, an old man and woman were living alone.  One day, as the old woman was washing her clothes, she saw a giant peach floating in the river.  She took the peach home.  Her husband cut the peach open and out jumped a little boy.  They were very surprised!

The old man and woman were so happy.  They knew that the boy was a gift from heaven, because they had no children.  They called the little boy `Momotaro'.  The boy loved to eat. He soon became very big and strong.  He loved to wrestle.  He always won because he was as strong as a giant.     

Terrible demons came to the village and demanded food and treasure.  Momotaro was very angry.  One day, he said, "I must travel to the demon's island and defeat them!" The old man and woman were very surprised because everyone in the village was afraid of the demons.  Momotaro was just a little boy.  Sadly, they gave him clothes and food and he left the village.

Momotaro began to walk.  He found a dog that was very hungry.  He gave the dog some food.  "Thank you," said the dog, "I will help you fight the demons." The dog followed behind Momotaro.

They met a monkey who was also very hungry.  Momotaro gave the monkey some food.  "Thank you," said the monkey, "I will help you fight the demons."

The three began walking again and soon reached the ocean.  They saw a little bird sitting on a boat.  Momotaro gave the bird some food.  "Thank you," said the bird, "I will help you fight the demons."

The four heroes jumped into the boat and Momotaro paddled to towards the demon's island.  They soon reached the island and jumped out of the boat.  There were many trees and they didn't know which way to go.  

"Follow me!" the dog said.  He could smell the demons.  He quickly led Momotaro to the demon's castle.  

It was the middle of the afternoon.  The bird flew up and circled high above the castle.  He came back soon.  "They are all sleeping!" he said.

Momotaro and his friends walked quietly towards to the castle.  The walls were so high and the gate was locked.  Momotaro couldn't get inside.  

Then, the monkey jumped up and climbed the wall easily.  In a moment the door opened and Momotaro and his friends ran inside.  They surprised the sleeping demons and there was a big battle.

Momotaro found the leader of the demons and defeated him.  He made the chief promise that the demons would never leave the island.  

Momotaro and his friends returned to his village.  Everyone, especially the old man and woman, were so happy to see them.  They had a big party.  Momotaro and his friends were heroes.  The demons were too frightened to ever leave their island again.   


This is the story of Kaguyahime.  This story was spread in Japan long ago and we still tell it today.

Long ago, there lived a man called Old Bamboo Cutter.  One day he found a stalk of shining bamboo.  He cut the bamboo and found a pretty baby girl inside of it.  He brought the girl home to his wife and they raised her.

They named the baby girl Kaguyahime, which means Bamboo Princess in English.  She grew up and became a beautiful maiden who was talked about far and wide.  

Five young noblemen came from the city to propose to Kaguyahime.  She asked them to do difficult things.  She said that she would marry the man who could do the things she asked.  

Her requests were quite difficult to fulfill, such as obtaining the five colored necklaces hanging around a dragon's neck.  None of the five noblemen succeeded.

In the meantime, Kaguyahime began to shed tears on nights when there was a full moon.  She had realized that she was a child of the moon, and that the People of the Moon would come to fetch her on one such night.  She would have to go back to the moon someday, and that made her very sad.

Hearing that she would have to return to the moon, the old man and woman asked the emperor to have his men keep guard over their house.  On the night of the next full moon, the guards were waiting to protect her.  Suddenly the moon light became so bright that no one could keep their eyes open.

People came down from the moon with a glowing carriage.  Kaguyahime was reluctant to leave the old man and woman, but she returned to the moon with her people.

By Risa Inoue, Satoko Ishibashi, Arisa Uranishi, Naomi Okumura (M3)