My Lord Bag of Rice
Heidi Anne Heiner
One day, a Japanese warrior known as Tawara Toda went off in search of adventures. As he was crossing a bridge with his longbow in hand and two swords buckled to his belt, he came across a dragon lying on a bridge. When he stepped over the dragon to get across, it suddenly transformed into a strange looking man. As the two talked, it was revealed that the man was actually the Dragon King of the Lake and he wanted to ask a favor of Tawara. The Dragon King wanted Tawara to kill his mortal enemy, the centipede, who came to his palace and took one of his relatives to eat for dinner every night. When the centipede came, Tawara called for his bow and arrows, but to his dismay, only three arrows remained. He took aim and fired the first arrow. It hit the centipede directly in the middle of its head, but bounced off harmlessly. He tried a second time only for the same result. Tawara then had only one more chance to kill the centipede, or the Palace of the Dragon King would forever be in danger.
"Long, long ago there lived, in Japan, a brave warrior known to all as Tawara Toda, or My Lord Bag of Rice" (Heiner).
The good character in this story was Tawara Toda, or My Lord Bag of Rice. He is the protagonist because of his bravery and courage to fight for the safety of others.
The evil character in the story was the centipede. Every night he would come to the Dragon King's palace and take on of his relatives back with him to eat for dinner.
Royalty was shown as the Dragon King of the Lake lived in a magnificent palace under Lake Biwa. "Never had Hidesato seen anything so beautiful as this palace built of white marble beneath the lake" (Heidi).
Magic was displayed in various ways throughout the fairy tale. The Dragon King's ability to transform from a dragon form to a human form is one example of magic. Another example comes with the gifts that Tawara Toda received from the Dragon King after killing the centipede. The supply of rice in the bag he received would never diminish, the roll of silk would never run out, and the cooking pot would always cook whatever was put into it perfectly. "The presents which [Tawara] received from the grateful Dragon King were found to be of magic power" (Heiner).
The problem in the story was caused by the centipede taking and eating relatives of the Dragon King that stayed in the castle. The solution was that it needed to be killed, which Tawara Toda accomplished with his bow and arrows.
As it came the time for Tawara to kill the centipede, he had only three arrows, therefore three chances, to succeed.
Connection to Japan
This fairy tale had many connections to Japan. The setting was in Lake Biwa, which is a lake located in Honshu, the most densely populated island of Japan. Other connections include the gifts which the Dragon King gave to Tawara. Two of these gifts included rice and silk, which are both made in great numbers within Japan.