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Origin[]

The Jeweled Branch or Horai was one of the mythical artifacts Kaguya sent her suitors to find, as part of a test of their worthiness. The second suitor was sent to fetch the branch, taken from the jeweled trees said to grow on the mythical floating island of Mount Horai.

The second suitor did not believe Mount Horai existed, but he declared to all his friends and family that he was journeying out to search for the island, and, dismissing all his servants, he vanished for three years.

Three years later, he suddenly appeared at Kaguya's front door, bestowing upon her a marvelous branch of pure gold, with leaves and blossoms of precious jewels. The princess was astounded, and asked the prince to tell her of his travels, and how he had come upon this branch.

The prince began to weave a most wonderful story, telling of how his ship had been blown to and fro by the wind, sending him to faraway lands of strange fish and bird. The prince suffered greatly of thirst and hunger and nausea, but when he had though he was going to die, there, on the horizon, rose a tremendous mountain, and the prince knew he had found the floating island of Mount Horai. Landing his small ship on the mountain, the prince was surrounded by beautiful women offering him food and drink, but he ignored them all, having only eyes for the shimmering trees of gold and jewels. When he had broken off a branch and tucked it safely away, the prince then let himself to be pampered and relax, before hurridly departing to bring Princess Kaguya the branch.

Kaguya was moved to tears by the story of the suitor's suffering, but just as she was considering to accept his proposal, three men appeared at the gate, shouting for the prince and demanding to be paid. The prince hurried to shoo them away, but Kaguya bid them to stay and asked the men their story.

The men told her that they were workmen, hired for the past three years by the suitor to fashion a most beautiful branch out of gold and jewels in a little shed by the sea, and now that the task was done, they wished to be paid.

The suitor was angry and ashamed, and quickly went away, not wanting to face Kaguya for his deception. Kaguya then gave the golden branch to the workers as payment for their hard work, and the three men went away happy.

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