Japanese Children's Favorite Stories Book 1

Free Japanese Children's Favorite Stories Book 1 by Florence Sakade

Book: Japanese Children's Favorite Stories Book 1 by Florence Sakade Read Free Book Online
Authors: Florence Sakade
Foreword to the Second Edition
    In the autumn of 1953, we published the first edition of this book, choosing the stories from the pages of Silver Bells, the English-language edition of one of Japan's leading children's magazines. Since then, although the magazine is no longer published, the book has been so popular that successive reprintings have worn the plates past further use, and still orders continue to pour in for it. To meet this continuing demand, we are pleased to offer the present revision, which contains ten of the best-loved stories from the first edition, ten new stories, and entirely new illustrations by one of Japan's foremost illustrators. We are confident the book will meet the same enthusiastic response—from children, parents, and teachers alike—as did the first edition, and should like to quote the following remarks from the Foreword to that edition:
    Parents and teachers all over the world have become increasingly aware of the need to raise their children to be citizens of the world, to become thinking adults who, while proud of their own traditions and heritage, are free of the national prejudices, rivalries, and suspicions that have caused such havoc in the past. To this end they have wanted material that would give their children a sympathetic understanding of the life and culture of other lands. This book will fill part of this need.
    We have chosen those traditional stories that may in a very true sense be called "favorites." They have been loved by the children of Japan for hundreds of years, and have proven no less delightful to Western children, thus showing again that the stories that please the children of one land are likely to please children everywhere.
    Each of these stories is to be found in Japan—and often in other countries too—in many forms and versions. We have tried to select the most interesting version in each case and, in our translations, to remain true to the spirit of the Japanese originals. At the same time we have inserted sufficient words of explanation into the text of the stories to make customs and situations that are peculiar to Japan intelligible to Western readers without the need for distracting notes.
    Editorial responsibility for this book has been borne by Florence Sakade; both as a mother and as an editor of numerous children's publications she has had wide experience in the entertainment and education of children. The English versions are the work of Meredith Weatherby, well-known translator of Japanese literature.

Peach Boy
    Once upon a time there lived in Japan a kind old man and his wife. The old man was a woodcutter. He and his wife were very sad and lonely because they had no children.
    One day the old man went into the mountains to cut firewood, and the old woman went to the river to wash clothes.
    No sooner had the old woman begun her washing than she was very surprised to see a big peach floating down the river. It was the biggest peach she'd ever seen in all her life. She pulled the peach out of the river and decided to take it home and share it with the old man for their supper that night.
    Late in the afternoon the old man came home, and the old woman said to him, "Look what a wonderful peach I've found for our supper." The old man said it was truly a beautiful peach. He was very hungry and said, "Let's divide it and eat it right away."
    So the old woman brought a big knife from the kitchen and got ready to cut the peach in half. But just then a human voice called out from inside the peach. "Wait! Don't cut me!" cried the voice. Suddenly the peach split open, and a beautiful baby boy jumped out of the peach.
    The old man and woman were astounded. But the baby said, "Don't be afraid. The God of Heaven saw how lonely you were without any children, so he sent me to be your son."
    The old man and woman were very happy, and they took the baby to be their son. Since he was born from a peach, they named him Momotaro, which means Peach Boy.

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