Home Tales from the Grimm Brothers

THE WITCH IN THE TOWER

Once upon a time people in the Japanese city of Kyoto were terribly afraid; they shook with fear. A fierce witch had taken possession of the tower over the city gate which she opened and closed whenever she felt like it.

She was capable of locking the gate in the face of travelers bringing food and merchandise, or throwing it wide open to savage tribes from the north.

Many brave Samurai, the strongest and best fighters, had faced up to the witch, but the minute she set eyes on them, she hurled herself out of the tower, hair flying in the wind, screeching furiously and brandishing a fiery sword. Attacking them one by one, she left them lying dead in the dust. No, there was no hope for the city of Kyoto, and many people began to think of leaving it. The folk were murmuring,

"All our Samurai are dead. If only Watanabi were still here, the bravest of them all! But all that remains is his sword, and there's no one able to use it."

However, the sword was not all that remained of valiant Watanabi, there was also his son, a young boy. On hearing what the citizens were saying, he wondered,

"My father has gone, he died fighting, but we still have his sword. I shall take it and face the witch. Win or die, I shall be a credit to my father's memory." So the boy bravely armed himself and went off to the tower. The witch saw him arrive and she grinned, but did not make a move. She wouldn't even bother using her fiery sword on that sniveling youngster, she would wither him with a glance. So she paid little heed to Watanabi's son as he quietly crept into the tower, climbed the stairs without making the slightest sound and entered the witch's room. When, however, the witch heard the door close, she turned round and laid her wild burning gaze on the boy but the splendor of Watanabi's sword blinded her.

"This is Watanabi's sword!" shouted the young boy, and before the witch could defend herself, he struck a blow and ended her life. In his father's memory and in honor of his sword, the boy had freed the city of Kyoto.

Table of Contents >>