The Twelve Tales of Wonder is a chapter in the Wizard's Companion. It is a collection of tales and stories, most of which are true. It tells about stories of people and Ni no Kuni.
- The Cowardly Prince and The Lion
- The Squirrels and The Bramble
- The Fairy Who Wouldnt Stop Crying
- The Bear-Man and the Princess Tears
- The Boy Who Would Be God
- My Other Self
- How The Little Girl Became Queen
- The Shepherd Boy
- The Flute Makers
- The Flying Machine
- The Tree And The Stone
- The Young Womans Journal
The First Tale
The Cowardly Prince and the Lion
The Cowardly Prince
In a certain country there lived a prince named Tamalo, who was sharp of mind but weak of spirit. His father was a brave king- strong, wise and loved by his subjects- but the noble example he set served only to weaken Tamalo’s spirit. On one occasion, his father told him thus,
“Soon, my boy, it shall be time for me to retire, upon which thou shalt become king.”
While the announcement delighted the Prince, it filled him also with a terrible dread, for he did not have the spirit required to ascend to the throne.
In his vexation, he wandered from the castle, lost in thought, whereupon he encountered a fearsome-looking lion.
The prince tried to flee, but the Lion caught him easily in his paw, lifted him to his gaping mouth, and swallowed him whole.
At first, the Prince though he was doomed, but at length he began to reconsider his position.
“At least I no longer have to become king!” thought the Prince.
After taking a deep breath, he said to the Lion,
“Mighty Lion, I am the Prince of this country and the day after tomorrow I was due to become its king. Since thou hast now swallowed me, however, thou must needs become king instead.”
“King eh?” replied the Lion. “I shan’t complain about that.”
Thereupon, the Prince led the Lion back to the palace.
The couriers were shocked to see the Lion enter the palace, but the Prince pleaded with them from inside his stomach, and the Lion was accepted as king.
The Lion proved to have quite an aptitude for royal duties. Whensoever there was a dispute in his kingdom, the Lion would simply growl at the quarrellers,
“Stop complaining, or I shall eat you alive.”
Whensoever a bridge was swept away by a flood, the Lion would simply use his paws to rip down a tree and lay it across the river.
Regarding taxation and legal matters, the Lion was utterly ignorant, but whensoever such a problem arose, Prince Tamalo would speak from inside his stomach and provide him with a sound solution.
After some time, news reached the King that two dragons were ravaging the eastern and western edges of his kingdom. The people were terrified and looked to their king to deliver them from this terrible evil, upon which the King announced that he should go and smite the dragons himself.
But even the fearsome Lion stood no chance of defeating two such terrible dragons.
“My dear stomach dweller,” said he then. “What in the world should I do now?”
Prince Tamalo considered the Lions question, and at length, provided him with a suitable scheme.
The Lion headed east, to the part of his kingdom that was being ravaged by the larger dragon, and roared in its ugly face.
“Dragon, I shall soon slay thee! I fear thee not, for no matter how large thou art, thou shalt never devour me.”
“O ho!” scoffed the Dragon. “We shall see about that!”
Upon which he ate the Lion whole.
From inside the dragons’s stomach, the Lion said,
“Dragon, thou art now King of this land. It is therefore thy royal duty to defeat the dragon ravaging the western part of thy kingdom.”
At first, the Dragon paid him no heed, but when the Dragon witnessed the humans around him bowing down in deference (as Tamalo had requested them to do beforehand), he decided to do his royal duty, whereupon he went to the western mountains and slew the other dragon.
Once the other dragon had been slain, the Lion commenced to scratching the inside of the Dragon’s stomach.
“Owww! It hurts, It hurts!” cried the Dragon, rolling on the ground in agony. “Have mercy, I beseech thee!”
To which the Lion said,
“If thou woulst not feel this pain, thou must promise never again to hurt the people of this kingdom.”
“Owww! Very well! I promise!” cried the Dragon in reply.
But the Dragon was a cunning beast, and Prince Tamalo knew he would break his promise the moment the lion was out of his stomach. He therefore had the lion take out the babbling berry that he’d told him to bring and place it inside the Dragon. This berry was known to make noises that sounded like someone muttering to himself.
“With that babbling berry in his stomach, the Dragon shan’t notice when the Lion escapes,” though Prince Tamalo.
Later that night, when the Dragon was sleeping, the Lion crept out of his gaping mouth and set off back to the palace. The Dragon left the King and his subjects alone for evermore.
A New King
The kingdom had been at peace for ten years when the Lion said to Prince Tamalo,
“Stomach dweller, it is time thou camest hence from in there. I would have thee take my place on the throne.”
Prince Tamalo was shocked, and replied in a quivering tone,
“I fear that I do not have the spirit to become king.”
“But thy judgments over the past ten years have invariably been wise,” said the Lion.
“That is as may be, but I am a coward,” replied Prince Tamalo.
“It was only because I was protected by a great strong lion that I could act so decisively.”
Yet the Lion paid no heed. With an almighty sneeze, he ejected Prince Tamalo from his stomach. It had been ten years since Prince Tamalo had seen the wide world outside, and he could not believe his eyes. The Lion’s mane was now full white, and his face covered in wrinkles. Shut up inside the Lion’s stomach, Prince Tamalo had been quite unaware of any of this.
“As thou canst see with thine own eyes,” said the Lion, “I have grown old. Ten years hast thou resided in my stomach, and yet not once didst thou scratch me or cause me any pain- as I myself did to that dragon- though thou couldst have done at any time. The courtiers and subjects of this kingdom did not accept me because I am strong, they accepted me because I have given them my all- by which I mean, thou hast given them thine. Thou art the true King of this country. Thou lasckest not the spirit, I assure thee.”
In like manner, everyone at the palace beseeched Prince Tamalo to become their king.
“Prince Tamalo, everyone is humbly grateful for everything thou hast done. Our country needeth just such a king as thee.”
Upon hearing these words, Prince Tamalo felt his courage swell up within him.
As king, Tamalo gave still more of himself to his country, and despite the fact that the Lion had retired, he continued to live alongside the King in the palace.
Though many countries are ruled by animals these days, in ancient times all kings were human. Indeed, the magnificent lion about whom you have just read was the first ever animal to be acknowledged as a king, and the world has never been the same since.