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Taketori monogatari

(tr Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, 1956). Early-Heian-period (794-1185) prose work, probably written between 850 and 950, about a supernatural being found by a bamboo cutter and brought up as his daughter under the name Kaguyahime, "The Shining Princess." He becomes rich and urges her to marry one of five noble suitors, to each of whom she sets a fantastic quest; all either fail or resort in vain to trickery. She also refuses the suit of the emperor. Eventually she explains that she is from the Palace of the Moon, whose messengers are coming to take her back. She dons a robe of feathers that obliterates her memories of the world and departs. She leaves behind a letter and an elixir of life for the emperor, but loath to prolong life without her, he has both items burned on the moutaintop nearest heaven. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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