Taketori Monogatarti: The tale of the bamboo cutter

One day while working amid a grove of bamboo near his home in the countryside, an old bamboo cutter comes across a glowing tree. Moving closer, a bamboo shoot sprouts before him, revealing a girl within, mere inches high! The woodcutter, taking in the strange sight, assumes that she is a divine being, and decides to take care of her. Carefully taking her back to his home, the cutter and his wife are soon shocked when the miniature girl turns into a baby before their eyes, and over the course of days (or weeks), grows into a young girl!

The cutter continues to collect bamboo, but one day just like before, he comes across a glowing bamboo shoot. Cutting into it, he is surprised to find it contains gold! Another shoot he cuts down brings forth several billowing robes. Taking them, the woodcutter tells his wife that he believes they are signs from above, that are directing them to raise the princess in a proper manner.

Over the course of several years, the cutter takes the gold into the capital, until one day, he and his wife declare to their daughter that she is to come with them and leave their home.

On their journey, the princess is placed into a covered carriage, and soon awakening from sleep, finds herself in a grand palace within the capital, where her mother and father claim, she is to be raised as a Princess! Though she is at first happy and enthralled with the new place and her things, she is soon set upon to carry herself like a Princess.

Eventually, the woodcutter is informed by his wife that the Princess has 'come of age,' and delightedly, sends for a royal priest to give her a proper naming. The girl's father is at first upset when the priest's first impression of the girl, is of her crawling around, playing with a cat, but the priest claims his viewing of the girl without all the necessary garb, has allowed him to come up with a proper name for her. Given the demeanor and playfulness, he saw in her, the priest dubs her, Princess Kaguya.

Her father then calls for a party to celebrate her naming, though Kaguya grows bored that even though it is a party for her, she can't be seen. As well, her thoughts to maybe invite some of the children from her old village is denied by her father.

The party lasts over 3 days, while Kaguya is confined to her chambers. As several of the partygoers continue to drink on into the latter days, a look desperation passes over her face hearing some claim she and her parents are not nobility.

Following her party, the Princess is soon set upon by numerous invitations to marry, but she does not return the favor to any. Eventually, the royal priest who gave her her name is in counsel with several noblemen. Though they, of course, scoff at her seemingly country 'heritage,' the priest's description of her beauty and charm, soon sends 5 of the noblemen tearing towards her palace, eager to wed her. Kaguya is prepared to reject them as well but is talked into hearing each of them out by her father.

Each man is given a chance to speak to Kaguya (who sits behind a blind, hidden from view). One-by-one, they compare her (unseen) beauty to rare treasures. Among these, are the stone bowl of Buddha, a jeweled branch from the island of Horai, a robe of fire-rat fur, a jewel from the dragon's neck, and the cowry shell of the swallows.

Kaguya listens to all these things and then decrees that if she is as beautiful as these things, then her suitors should bring them to her. Each of them balks at this, but the Princess decrees this is how she will decide. 

In the time after the suitors and the country visit, Kaguya takes refuge in a small garden area where her mother tends. Kaguya asks for a portion for herself, and here, she seems to find solace amid nature.

The Princess tries to put thoughts of the suitors out of her head, until word reaches her of the two others: one who has gone to sea, looking for the jewel of the dragon's neck, and another who has died from a fall, in his attempts to get the cowry shell of a swallow.

The thought that someone has died because of her, sends the girl into a state of despair, causing her to tear into the garden area she has cultivated, and spending quiet hours working a loom in the small hut nearby.

Eventually, word comes that the Emperor himself has heard of the girl's beauty, and wishes to reward her father with a royal title if she marries him. Kaguya's father happily relays the news, but she tells him to deny the request. 

After this, Kaguya reveals a secret to her parents. In truth, she is actually a being from the moon, who came to Earth all those years ago. She had heard of those who had also come to Earth many times before, including one who sang a song that she did not understand...but now having spent time on Earth, its words have become clearer.

On the 15th, a procession descends down from the moon, playing a soothing celebratory song. Numerous archers fire arrows at them, that then turn into flowers. The procession flies over the palace walls, where its melody then puts almost everyone there to sleep, except for Kaguya's parents. As her mother watches in horror, Kaguyaa suddenly rises up and is drawn towards the procession. Both of the girl's parents rush to her, begging procession not to take her back. However, a member of the procession begins to place a crown and robes on her: clothing that once fully applied will wipe all traces of her time on Earth, from her memory.

However, as the robe is about to be applied, one of Kaguya's handmaidens appears, with a small procession of children, singing a song. This snaps Kaguya from her trance, and she embraces her parents in tears, before claiming that even with the hardships, there is still good and wonder within the world. However, her protestations do no good, as the robe is put on her, and here eyes go blank.

The Princess is then walked into the procession, turning her back to her parents, as the procession then heads back to the moon.

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