The Rat’s Bridegroom: part 1
Once there lived a village of rats, and in this village there was a young rat who had become quite lovely as she grew older. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Rat, decided that she was so lovely that they would find for her the strongest in the world to be her bridegroom. Mr. and Mrs. Rat went to see the Sun. “Oh, Mr. Sun!” they cried and bowed low, “We want to offer you our daughter’s hand in marriage, for she is the loveliest, and you shine across the whole Earth so must be the strongest.” The Sun replied, “Oh, not me. The Cloud is able to cover me when he wishes and no matter how hard I shine, he blocks out my light. You should see him, as he is surely stronger than I.” Mr. and Mrs. Rat bowed once more then left to find the Cloud. Upon seeing him, the bowed once more. “Mr. Cloud, we have come to offer you our daughter’s hand in marriage, as Mr. Sun has said you can block him out when you please so you must be the strongest.” The Cloud shook his head, “I am not the strongest. It is the Wind, for when he comes, no matter what I do, he can blow me where he pleases. I’m afraid the Wind is much stronger than I.” Mr. and Mrs. Rat bowed again and left to find the Wind.
So Mr. and Mrs. Rat went to see the Wind. “Mr. Wind,” they said, bowing low, “we have come to offer you our daughter’s hand in marriage. We have spoken with Mr. Cloud, and he assures us that you are indeed the strongest.” The wind blew here and there, then replied, “I am not the strongest, it is the Stone Buddha in the valley. No matter how hard I may blow, I cannot move him.” So the Rats thanked the Wind and went to the valley. “Mr. Stone Buddha!” they gasped, “We have come to offer you our daughter’s hand in marriage, for we have seen the Sun, and the Cloud, and the Wind, and you are by far the strongest.” The Stone Buddha thought for a moment then smiled, “There is but one stronger than me. There is a young rat who has been tunneling beneath where I stand, and soon he shall topple me and I shall be helpless. It is really the Rat that is the strongest.” Mr. and Mrs. Rat looked and one another then smiled bowing very low and thanking the Stone Buddha. They then returned to their village where they married their daughter to a young strong rat.