I am a stream that flows past the hut of a poor fisherman. I shun the glare of the sun and the noise of the towns and I flow quietly past trees and under bushes, listening to the songs of the birds overhead.

One day, when the fisherman came out to cast his nets, I carried to him a crystal cradle. He slipped his net quickly beneath it and drew it out. Lifting the silk coverlet, he found two babies, a boy and a girl, lying on a soft bed of cotton. The babies opened their eyes and smiled at him, and the man was filled with pity. He threw down his lines and took the cradle and the babies home to his wife.

Quietly Flowing Stream in the Bird of Truth, Orange Fairy Book. Picture by Sadao Watanabe.

crystal cradle