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A WARRIOR’S HELPERS
PEACH-BOY walked steadily and rapidly along the highway from early morning until midday, when he sat down to eat his dinner. Just as he took out one of the dumplings, a big savage dog appeared.
“Wow! wow!” the dog barked. “You have come into my territory without leave. If you do not at once give me your dinner I will devour you.”
Peach-boy smiled scornfully. “I am on my way to fight the enemies of Japan,” he said. “Don’t try to stop me or I will slay you.”
“I did not know the purpose of your journey,” the dog responded, cowering and putting his tail between his legs. “I humbly beg yourpardon for my rude conduct. Please allow me to accompany and help you.”
“You are welcome to go with me,” Peach-boy said.
“But I am very hungry,” the dog told him. “Will you please give me something to eat?”
“Here is a dumpling for you,” was Peach-boy’s response.
When the dog had eaten the dumpling they hurried on. They crossed many mountains and valleys, and one day a monkey sprang down from a tree in front of them and asked, “Where are you going so fast?”
THE MONKEY AND THE WARRIOR
“We are going to fight the enemies of Japan,” Peach-boy answered.
“Then pray allow me to go with you,” the monkey said.
The dog came angrily forward. “Of what use would you be?” he snarled. “I alone accompany this great warrior.”
Monkeys and dogs never can be friends, and of course this speech made the monkey very angry.
“You think a great deal of yourself!” he screeched, and he approached the dog ready to assail him with his teeth and nails.
But Peach-boy stepped between them, saying: “Stop! Do not be so hasty, you two. Stand back, dog. This monkey is not a bad fellow, and I intend to enrol him as one of my vassals.
Then he gave the monkey half a dumpling to eat. Presently the three went on along the highway. But it was no easy matter to keep the peace between the dog and the monkey. So at last Peach-boy had the monkey march ahead of him with his standard, and the dog follow behind him carrying his sword.
At length they entered a wilderness, and a wonderful bird sprang up from the ground as if to assail them. The bird’s head plumage was of the deepest crimson and his body was clothed with a feather robe in five colors.
The dog dashed at the bird to seize and. devour him, but Peach-boy sprang forward and prevented this. Then he said: “Bird, do you wish to interrupt my journey? If so, the dog shall bite off your head. But if you submit to me you can be one of my company and help fight the enemies of Japan.”
The bird instantly bowed in front of Peach-boy, saying, “I am a humble bird called the pheasant. it would be an honor to accompany you on such an expedition.”
“Does this low fellow go with us?” the dog growled disdainfully.
“That is no business of yours,” Peach-boy said; “and I give you three animals warning that if any quarreling starts among you I will send you all back that very moment. In war a good position is better than good luck, but union is better than either good luck or good position. There can be no squabbling among ourselves if we are to win.’’
The three animals listened respectfully and promised implicit obedience. Then the pheasant ate a half dumpling that Peach-boy gave him, and the four went on together.