The Tale of Princess Kaguya

One day an old, childless bamboo cutter found a tiny, beautiful baby girl inside a shining stalk of bamboo. He took her home to his wife and they named her Kaguya-hime. They raised her as their own, until time came when she became a fully grown, beautiful young lady.

Ever since the bamboo cutter found Kaguya-hime, he had been finding a gold nugget inside every bamboo he cuts, and thus he became rich in no time. Kaguya-hime also grew up with extraordinary beauty. Soon, news of her beauty became well-known (no matter how over-protective her adoptive parents were), which attracted suitors from all over the country.

Five princes came first, all asking for Kaguya-hime's hand in marriage. Not wanting to be married to any one of them, Kaguya-hime gave them impossible tasks (agreeing that she shall marry whoever succeeds first), which all five of them failed.

The Emperor of Japan at that time, Mikado, also came to see Kaguya-hime. He fell in love with her at first sight. He asked her to come with him to the palace, but she told him that she can't, because she did not come from this world. The Emperor left partially brokenhearted, but he and Kaguya-hime stayed as friends (although the Emperor was still in love with her).

Kaguya-hime often found herself looking at the moon longingly with tears in her eyes. Not long after, it was revealed to the bamboo cutter and his wife that Kaguya-hime came from the moon, and the gold nuggets he had been finding were the pay for taking care of her.

When the time came for her to go back to the moon, she gave parting gifts to her parents and to her friends, including the Emperor (to which she gave a letter and a small amount of the Elixir of Life). The Emperor sent an army to guard Kaguya-hime from being taken by the people of the moon, but the army failed. As the heavenly entourage from the moon took Kaguya-hime away, she wore a magical feather robe, and she forgot all memories she made on Earth.

Her adoptive parents were heartbroken, eventually falling sick. Meanwhile, the Emperor (who was also heartbroken), asked his guards to burn Kaguya-hime's letter and her gift, the Elixir of Life (because immortality means nothing without her), at the top of the highest mountain in the country. Legend has it that this mountain was then named "Fuji" which means "immortality". It was said that the smoke from Kaguya-Hime's burned letter can still be seen subtly rising form the top of Mount Fuji until now.


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