Young Folks' Treasury: Myths and Legendary Heroes HTML version

The Jellyfish And The Monkey
Long, long ago, in old Japan, the Kingdom of the Sea was governed by a wonderful King.
He was called Rin Jin, or the Dragon King of the Sea. His power was immense, for he
was the ruler of all sea creatures both great and small, and in his keeping were the Jewels
of the Ebb and Flow of the Tide. The Jewel of the Ebbing Tide when thrown into the
ocean caused the sea to recede from the land, and the Jewel of the Flowing Tide made the
waves to rise mountains high and to flow in upon the shore like a tidal wave.
The palace of Rin Jin was at the bottom of the sea, and was so beautiful that no one has
ever seen anything like it even in dreams. The walls were of coral, the roof of jadestone
and chalcedony, and the floors were of the finest mother-of-pearl. But the Dragon King,
in spite of his wide-spreading kingdom, his beautiful palace and all its wonders, and his
power, which none disputed throughout the whole sea, was not at all happy, for he
reigned alone. At last he thought that if he married he would not only be happier, but also
more powerful. So he decided to take a wife. Calling all his fish retainers together, he
chose several of them as ambassadors to go through the sea and seek for a young Dragon
Princess who would be his bride.
At last they returned to the palace bringing with them a lovely young dragon. Her scales
were of a glittering green like the wings of summer beetles, her eyes threw out glances of
fire, and she was dressed in gorgeous robes. All the jewels of the sea worked in with
embroidery adorned them.
The King fell in love with her at once, and the wedding [pg 130] ceremony was celebrated with
great splendor. Every living thing in the sea, from the great whales down to the little
shrimps, came in shoals to offer their congratulations to the bride and bridegroom and to
wish them a long and prosperous life. Never had there been such an assemblage or such
gay festivities in the Fish-World before. The train of bearers who carried the bride's
possessions to her new home seemed to reach across the waves from one end of the sea to
the other. Each fish carried a phosphorescent lantern and was dressed in ceremonial
robes, gleaming blue and pink and silver; and the waves as they rose and fell and broke
that night seemed to be rolling masses of white and green fire, for the phosphorus shone
with double brilliancy in honor of the event.
Now for a time the Dragon King and his bride lived very happily. They loved each other
dearly, and the bridegroom day after day took delight in showing his bride all the
wonders and treasures of his coral palace, and she was never tired of wandering with him
through its vast halls and gardens. Life seemed to them both like a long summer's day.
Two months passed in this happy way, and then the Dragon Queen fell ill and was
obliged to stay in bed. The King was sorely troubled when he saw his precious bride so
ill, and at once sent for the fish doctor to come and give her some medicine. He gave
special orders to the servants to nurse her carefully and to wait upon her with diligence,