Urashima Taro, which in Japanese means “The son of the island,” is the only child and is the favorite of an old fisherman and his wife.
He is very good, young and strong, he can sail by boat far smarter than people who live on the shores of his home. He often sailed far into the sea, where his neighbors often warned his parents that maybe one day he would go too far to sea and never come back again.
His parents knew this, however, they understood that his son was very good at sailing, and they were never too worried about him. Even if Urashima returns later than expected, they always wait for his arrival without worry. They love Urashima more than their own lives, and are proud that he is very brave and stronger than his neighbor’s sons.
One morning, Urashima Taro went to get the catch in his net, as he had spread last night. In one of the nets, among the fish caught, he found a small turtle who was ensnared. He took the turtle and put it in his own boat, kept it in a safe place, so he could bring it home. But in awe, Urashima listened to the sea turtle begging in a very low voice. “What is my use for you?” the turtle asked. “I am too small to eat, and so young that it takes a long time for me to become big. Have mercy on me and return me to the sea, because I don’t want to die.” The kind-hearted Urashima Taro had mercy on the small turtle begging so he let the little turtle go back into the sea.
A few years after this incident, when Urashima Taro went sailing too far into the middle of the sea, a bad storm came on his boat and broke his boat to pieces. Urashima was a very good swimmer, and he kept trying to get to the shore by swimming, but the distance between him and the beach was too far and at that time the sea was very fierce, his strength had finally weakened and he had begun to sink slowly. When he gave up and thought that he would never see his father again, he heard his name being called and saw a large turtle swimming towards him.
Go up my back, “the turtle shouted,” and I will take you to the mainland. “When Urashima Taro was safe and sat on the turtle’s back, the turtle then continued his words:” I am a turtle that you released when I was a child and not empowered in your net, and I am very happy to be able to repay your kindness. ”
Before they arrived at the beach, the turtle asked Urashima Taro that he wanted to see the beautiful life hidden under the sea. The young fisherman replied that it was an experience that would be very pleasant. In an instant, they both dived into the water that is green. Urashima held on tightly to the back of the turtle which brought it to immeasurable depths. After three nights, they reached the bottom of the sea, and arrived at a very beautiful place, full of gold and crystals. Coral and pearls and various kinds of precious stones sparkle and marvel at his eyes, and what is in the palace further fascinates him, illuminated with beautiful shining fish scales.
“Here,” said the turtle, “This is the palace of the sea goddess. I am one of the servants of the daughter of the sea goddess.”
The turtle then conveyed the arrival of Urashima Taro to the Princess, and soon he returned, bringing Urashima before the Princess. The princess of the sea goddess was so beautiful that when the Princess asked that Urashima want to stay in that place, Urashima immediately agreed happily.
“Don’t leave me, and you will always look young like you are now, you will never experience old age,” said the Princess.
Thus finally Urashima Taro lived in the underwater palace with the daughter of the sea goddess. He was so excited that he did not feel that time passed unnoticed. How long he was there he never realized. But one day, he remembered his parents; he remembers that his parents might feel lost in his absence. Increasingly, the desire to go home keeps coming and getting stronger. In the end, Urashima expressed his intention to the Princess that he had to go visit his parents. The princess cried sadly and begged Urashima not to leave.
“If you leave, I might not see you again,” the Princess cried.
But Urashima’s will is very strong and cannot be persuaded anymore. Urashima was eager to see his parents once again and promised to return to the palace and live with the Princess forever. The princess finally agreed and gave him a gold box and advised that it should never be opened.
“If you heed my words,” he said again, “you might still be able to come back to me. When you are ready, the turtle will be there to take you, but if you forget what I say to you, I will never be able to see you again. ”
Urashima Taro excitedly convinced him that nothing in the world could separate them, and said goodbye. Riding a turtle’s back, he quickly left the palace far behind. For three days and three nights they swam, and finally the turtle arrived at the seashore near his old home.
He excitedly ran to the village and looked for all his old friends. All faces look strange to him, even his house looks different. Children who play on the side of the road where he had lived, he had never seen before. He stopped in front of his house, heart pounding, he knocked on the door of the house. A musical sound came from the upper window and a woman unfamiliar to him opened the door. The woman could not explain about her parents and never even heard the names of her parents. Urashima then came out of the house and questioned everyone he met. But all those questioned only watched him suspiciously. Finally he headed to the burial ground outside the village. Searching through the graves, and quickly found himself standing near the name he had been searching for. The date on the tombstone shows that his father and mother died shortly after he left; and he found that he had been gone from that house for three hundred years. With sadness he bowed to respect his parents last time and returned to his village. At every step he hoped that he would wake up from his dream, but the people he met and the path he traveled were real.
Then he remembered the Princess and the gold box that was given to him. He thought that maybe the Princess had bewitched him, and this box had amulets to break the magic. Impatiently he opened the box, and a streak of purple smoke left the empty box. Shocked, he realized that his hands were instantly growing old and trembling. he became aware that the box contained a talisman that had kept him from aging for three hundred years, and the box had lost its magic. With fear, he ran to the edge of the flow of water that flows from the top of the mountain, and saw the reflection of himself reflected in the water is the shadow of someone who is very old.
He returned to the village fearfully, and no one had recognized him as a strong young man a few hours ago. Exhausted, he finally reached the seashore, where he sat on a rock and summoned a sea turtle which took him to the sea palace. But his call was in vain, the turtle never appeared, and finally his voice was lost in the swallow of death.
Before his death, villagers gathered nearby and listened to his very strange story. Long after the incident, the villagers told their children about someone who loved his parents very much, left the underwater palace and a very beautiful princess, and that person was named Urashima Taro.