A ninth century Japanese tale of a lonely old bamboo cutter and his wife who find a three inch baby girl in a bamboo stalk. She grows to become the most the beautiful woman in the land and has many admirers who wish to marry her. She does not want to marry but wishes to please the bamboo cutter since he knows he will not live much longer. The princess gives each of her five most devoted suitors an impossible task to complete in order to win her hand: bring her the begging bowl of the Buddha, a jeweled branch from Paradise, a robe made of Chinese fire rats, a jewel from a dragon's head, and the easy birth charm from a swallow. I enjoyed the story and was fascinated by the ending, where it's revealed the princess is from the Palace of the Moon. Her people come to gather her. They give her an elixir of life and jacket of feathers, which will make her forget what pity or sorrow feel like. After leaving notes, the princess dons the feather jacket and flies back to the moon. This edition is also accompanied by beautiful eighteenth century illustrations of the tale made for a powerful samurai family.
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