Momotaro the Peach BoyONCE upon a time there was an old man and his old wife living in the country in Japan. 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 some clothes.
Late in the afternoon the old man came home, and the old woman said to him: "Look what a wonderful peach I found for your supper." The old man said it was truly a beautiful peach. He was so hungry that he said: "Let's divide it and eat it right away."
So the old woman brought a big knife from the kitchen and was getting ready to cut the peach in half. But just then there was the sound of a human voice from inside the peach. "Wait! Don't cut me!" said 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. They loved Momotaro very much and raised him to be a fine boy.
When Momotaro was about fifteen years old, he went to his father and said: "Father, you have always been very kind to me. Now I am a big boy and I must do something to help my country. In a distant part of the sea there is an island named Ogre Island. Many wicked ogres live there, and they often come to our land and do bad things like carrying people away and stealing their things. So I'm going to go to Ogre Island and fight them and bring back the treasure which they have there. Please let me do this."
The old man was surprised to hear this, but he was also very proud of Momotaro for wanting to help other people. So he and the old woman helped Momotaro get ready for his journey to Ogre Island. The old man gave him a sword and armor, and the old woman fixed him a good lunch of millet dumplings. Then Momotaro began his journey, promising his parents that he would come back soon.
Momotaro and the spotted dog kept on walking and soon they met a monkey. The spotted dog and the monkey started to have a fight. But Momotaro explained to the monkey that he and the spotted dog were going to fight the ogres on Ogre Island. Then the monkey asked if he couldn't go with them. So Momotaro gave the monkey a dumpling and let the monkey come with them.
Momotaro and the spotted dog and the monkey kept on walking. Suddenly they met a pheasant. The spotted dog and the monkey and the pheasant were about to start fighting. But when the pheasant heard that Momotaro was going to fight the ogres on Ogre Island, he asked if he could go too. So Momotaro gave the pheasant a dumpling and told him to come along.
When they came within sight of the island, they could see that the ogres had a very strong fort there. And there were many, many ogres. Some of them were red, some blue, and some black.
First the pheasant flew over the walls of the fort and began to peck at the ogres' heads. They all tried to hit the pheasant with their clubs, but he was very quick and dodged all their blows. And while the ogres weren't looking, the monkey slipped up and opened the gate of the fort. Then Momotaro and the spotted dog rushed into the fort and started fighting the ogres too.
It was the most wonderful treasure you can imagine. There was much gold and silver and many precious jewels. There was an invisible coat and hat, arid a hammer that made a piece of gold every time you hit it on the ground, and many other wonderful things. Momotaro and his three helpers carried all this in their boat back to the land. Then they made a cart and put all the treasure in the cart and pulled it back to Momotaro's house.