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The Dragon and the Nezumi

Stories tell that the Celestial Dragons saw the creation of the Children of the Earth and were fascinated. They offered gifts to those they thought worthy, and even brought mortal souls to live among them in the Celestial Heavens.

Lady Sun and Lord Moon, however, soon grew jealous. Concerned that the Dragons' interest would lead to the destruction of the Empire, they lifted the Celestial Heavens away from the firmament of Rokugan and created Earth and Sky. But the Dragons still watch the lands and see the Empire as it grows beneath them. They know little of humans and their Empire, so they try to learn as best they can without violating the separation of Earth and Sky.

One day, a Nezumi was hunting upon the hills of the far South, deep in the heart of the Shadowlands. The Nezumi, rat-people who live in holes and warrens, long to be citizens of the Empire and often steal items from samurai homes to decorate their burrows. The Dragon, thinking that the Nezumi was a man who had become lost in the darkness of the Shadowlands, went to his assistance.

"You have fought bravely to come so far into such a dangerous land," the Dragon said to him, "and I will reward your courage by giving you eternal life within my golden palace in the Celestial Heavens." He took the Ratling in his sharp claws and began to fly toward the stars. As they neared the wonders of the Celestial Heavens, the Dragon spoke again.

"Are you from the Jade Empire?" Planning to steal away the Dragon's treasures, the Ratling replied, "Oh, yes indeed. I am one of Emperors sons."

“Then of course you know Otosan Uchi," said the Dragon.

“Oh, yes, said the Ratling,who thought Otosan Uchi was the name of some distinguished samurai. “he is one of my very dearest friends."

Disgusted by so obvious a falsehood, the Dragon opened his claws and let the Nezumi fall. When he turned back to further punish the Ratling, however, the creature had burrowed deep into the earth to hide from the Dragon's wrath.

Because they fear the Dragon could be watching from the heavens, the descendants of the Nezumi have ever after have lived in burrows deep beneath the ground, hiding from the anger of the Heavens.

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