The Story of Urachima Taro

Once upon a time, there was a young fisherman named Urashima Taro who lived with his elderly mother.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he saw some children playing with a turtle, poking and flipping it over.

Urashima Taro told the children, “Hey, leave the poor turtle alone!”

He saved the turtle and released it back into the sea.

Days later, while Urashima Taro was fishing, a turtle swam up to him and said, “Thank you for saving me the other day. As a token of gratitude, I will take you to Ryugu, the Dragon Palace.”

Urashima Taro happily climbed onto the turtle’s shell, and it swam down to the bottom of the sea.

When he looked around, he saw a shining palace.

As Urashima Taro got off the turtle’s shell, a beautiful princess named Otohime appeared, accompanied by several fish. “Welcome!” she said. “Please stay as long as you wish.”

In the Dragon Palace’s hall, they served him delicious meals one after another, while the fish danced beautiful dances.

Days passed, and Urashima Taro was enchanted as if he were dreaming.

But after three years, he began to worry about his mother and decided to return.

Princess Otohime gave him a beautiful box as a gift and said, “This is a treasure box, but you must never open it.”

Urashima Taro climbed onto the turtle’s shell, holding the box in his arms, and soon he was back on the beach.

When Urashima Taro quickly returned home, the village was different, and he could not find his own house.

He decided to ask someone, and they replied, “Urashima Taro? I heard that about a hundred years ago, there was a person by that name, but one day he went to sea to fish and never returned.”

Upon hearing this, Urashima Taro was so frightened that he could not speak.

The three years in the Dragon Palace were actually a hundred years on earth. Urashima Taro, very sad, returned to the shore and sat down.

Then, he remembered the treasure box and opened it a little, forgetting what Princess Otohime had told him.

At that moment, thick white smoke began to pour out of the box, and immediately Urashima Taro’s hair turned white, and he became an old man, wrinkled and hunched over.

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