[MANUSCRIPT]. [JAPANESE FOLKTALE]. "Momotaro" (Cover title). "Nippon Mukashi-banashi" (caption title)
S.l. (Britain?): 1920s (ca.). Slim 8vo. 43 unnumbered pages + one full-page drawing. Handmade notebook tied with string, covers of gilt sprinkled card-stock (some surface scratching and wear to extremities; some unobjectionable foxing and staining). Very good. Item #3585
Curious homemade manuscript of what appears to be an unpublished English translation of the beloved Momotaro ("Peach Boy") fairy tale. Whereas the story of the boy who is born from a giant peach, discovered floating down a river by an old washer woman, is well known, we continue to be enchanted by it. Our manuscript has some interesting textual variants and was likely "reinvented" in parts. For instance, in the first meeting between Momotaro and the dog:
"...suddenly from the grassy moor a two coloured dog about the size of a calf appeared, facing Momotaro and showing his teeth he barked 'You rude fellow do you think to pass through MR. BUCHI'S place with out giving notice?' (emphasis ours). Elsewhere Momotaro "let BUCHI carry the flag and MASHIRA a sword carrier" (emphasis ours).
In our manuscript, the animals all have names: the dog Buchi, the monkey Mashira, and the pheasant (kigi) Kigisu. On the page that Kigisu appears for the first time, the compiler has left a blank space for the pheasant's name which was filled in later. But why?
Admittedly, there are many thousands of different transmissions of the Momotaro fairy tale, but we have not encountered these names in other readings, suggesting that our compiler took certain liberties with the text. We suggest a British origin for this manuscript on account of the spelling of "colour" etc.