The Adventures of Kintaro (cont.)
(see previous page for audio)While the monkey and the hare wrestled, the deer called out encouragingly or shouted warnings to each of them as the hare or the monkey pushed each other near the edge of the platform and were in danger of falling over.
"Red-back! Red-back! Stand your ground!" called out the deer.
"Long-ears! Long-ears! Be strong, be strong — don't let the monkey beat you!" grunted the bear.
So the monkey and the hare, encouraged by their friends, tried their very hardest to beat each other. The hare at last gained on the monkey. The monkey seemed to trip up, and the hare giving him a good push sent him flying off the platform with a bound.
The poor monkey sat up rubbing his back, and his face was very long as he screamed angrily. "Oh, oh! how my back hurts — my back hurts me!"
Seeing the monkey in this plight on the ground, the deer holding his leaf on high said: "This round is finished — the hare has won."
Kintaro then opened his luncheon box and taking out a rice-dumpling, gave it to the hare, saying: "Here is your prize, and you have earned it well!"
Now the monkey got up, looking very cross, and as they say in Japan "his stomach stood up," for he felt that he had not been fairly beaten. So he said to Kintaro and the others who were standing by: "I have not been fairly beaten. My foot slipped and I tumbled. Please give me another chance and let the hare wrestle with me for another round."
Then, Kintaro consenting, the hare and the monkey began to wrestle again. Now, as everyone knows, the monkey is a cunning animal by nature, and he made up his mind to get the best of the hare this time if it were possible. To do this, he thought that the best and surest way would be to get hold of the hare's long ear. This he soon managed to do. The hare was quite thrown off his guard by the pain of having his long ear pulled so hard, and the monkey, seizing his opportunity at last, caught hold of one of the hare's legs and sent him sprawling in the middle of the dais. The monkey was now the victor and received a rice-dumpling from Kintaro, which pleased him so much that he quite forgot his sore back.
The deer now came up and asked the hare if he felt ready for another round, and if so whether he would try a round with him and, the hare consenting, they both stood up to wrestle. The bear came forward as umpire.
The deer with long horns and the hare with long ears: it must have been an amusing sight to those who watched this queer match. Suddenly the deer went down on one of his knees, and the bear with the leaf on high declared him beaten. In this way, sometimes the one, sometimes the other, conquering, the little party amused themselves till they were tired.
At last Kintaro got up and said: "This is enough for to-day. What a nice place we have found for wrestling; let us come again tomorrow. Now, we will all go home. Come along!" So saying, Kintaro led the way while the animals followed.
After walking some little distance they came out on the banks of a river flowing through a valley. Kintaro and his four furry friends stood and looked about for some means of crossing. Bridge there was none. The river rushed "don, don" on its way. All the animals looked serious, wondering how they could cross the stream and get home that evening.
Kintaro, however, said: "Wait a moment. I will make a good bridge for you all in a few minutes."
The bear, the deer, the monkey and the hare looked at him to see what he would do now.
Kintaro went from one tree to another that grew along the river bank. At last he stopped in front of a very large tree that was growing at the water's edge. He took hold of the trunk and pulled it with all his might, once, twice, thrice! At the third pull, so great was Kintaro's strength that the roots gave way, and "meri, meri" (crash, crash), over fell the tree, forming an excellent bridge across the stream.