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Taro Urashima: The True Story

Author: Mashiro Yuh; Translator: Raccoon; Editor: Jaime

"And Taro Urashima was taken to the Ryugu-jo1."

"Didn't he have trouble breathing?"

"Strangely enough, he didn't have any trouble."

"Wow!"

The old woman went on telling the story.

"And at last when he returned home, 300 years had passed since his departure, and he could find nobody he knew living in his home village. Taro was so devastated when he found out that. . ."

"I know what happens."

"You do? Really?"

"I do. He opened the secret box only to find himself having become an old man."

The old woman shook her head, smiling at the child.



"Oh, my God!"

Taro Urashima was devastated.

Sitting on the beach, he stared at the waves.

His unexpected doom made him unable to think of anything.

Life is not worth living any longer.

Now that he was ready to give up, unconscious smiles were spreading over his face.

Well, I remember they gave me something in a box.

Taro took out the box.

Though she told me not to open the box, then why the hell did would she give me such a thing? Why shouldn't I think that she actually meant "open it!"?

Taro, focusing on being bold, made himself open the box.

The next moment the box belched out clouds of smoke.

"Ooooh!"

He could not help coughing, and desperately tried to sweep away the smoke with his hands.

It lasted for a considerable time, and stopped.

". . .W-what the hell was that?"

What just happened to my voice? I'm afraid. . . this is not my voice. . .

The smoke completely disappeared.

"What?"

Some other changes had happened to him.

He could not believe his eyes when he saw his own hands and arms. He had never seen such beautiful and cute arms before. For some time after seeing them, he was stunned at how they looked.

". . .Aah. . . . . .aaaah. . ."

A beautiful girl, standing absentmindedly beside the box, flopped down on the sand of the beach.



"Gee! Are you sure Taro became a girl?"

The child was very surprised.

"Oh yes! It isn't true that he became an old man and then a crane, though that's how the story was told throughout the world."

"Wow! And?"

"What do you mean by "and"?"

"I mean, what became of Taro after he had turned into a girl?"

"Well," the old woman replied with a distant look. "I'm not sure but I certainly hope she got married and lived happily ever after."

Her eyes seemed a little wet with tears.



Notes:

Taro Urashima (Urashima Taro) is a very famous Japanese folktale: Taro, a young fisherman, saved a giant turtle from some children who were attacking it. The turtle, to reward him, took him to the Ryugu-jo under the sea, where the princess Oto-hime entertained him. Several days later when he was about to return home the princess gave him a gift in a box, saying "please don't open it." However, when he arrived back home he discovered that several hundred years had passed since his departure, and opened the box despite her words only to find himself having become an old man.

Though I think it might be improper to explain what a parody is, I must explain; this is a parody which I wrote, which made Taro undergo a transgender transformation, namely, become a woman instead of an old man.

In Japan we often call the time warp (that Einstein explained in his Special Theory of Relativity) the "Urashima effect" after this old folktale. Some enthusiasts even say that it was a story of a man abducted by E.Ts.

1: Ryugu-jo--A castle under the sea, which Taro was taken to during his travels.

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