F. Hadland Davis
Wow. What an amazing collections of stories and delicious cultural/historical tidbits – and retold so very well! Here are the most popular Japanese myths of gods, heroes and warriors; legends of Buddha, and of the goddess Benten and the god Daikoku. There are tales of the sea and of Mount Fuji; accounts of superstitions and supernatural beings; observations on the spiritual properties of fans, flowers, mirrors, dolls and butterflies.
The collection begins with the early myths of the gods, which are followed by legends celebrating early heroes and warriors, and includes the earliest example of Japanese romance, “The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Maiden.” Many of the legends that follow reflect an exquisite, poetic beauty, though there are some which also exhibit a rather crude realism — you’ll want to pick and choose where children are to be listening.
The author has included a terrific set of appendices, for those of use not very familiar with Japanese culture: there are notes on Japanese poetry, a listing of gods and goddesses, a geneology of The Age of the Gods and an index of poetical quotations. This is another book that has been brought back from the past – originally published in 1913, it is just as alive and amazing today.