Then dark was the Plain of High Heaven, and black dark the Central Land of Reed Plains, and eternal night prevailed. Hereupon the voices of the deities as they wandered over the face of the earth were like unto the flies in the fifth moon, and from far and near there arose portents of woe. Therefore did the Eight Hundred Myriad Deities assemble with a divine assembly in the dry bed of the Tranquil River of Heaven, there to hold parley, and to make decision what should be done. And His Augustness the Lord of Deep Thoughts commanded them. So they called together the Singing Birds of Eternal Night. And they charged Ama-tsu-mara, the Divine Smith, to make them a mirror of shining white metal. And they charged Tama-noya-no-mikoto to string together many hundreds of curved jewels. And, having performed divination by the shoulder-blade of a stag of Mount Kagu, they uprooted a sacred tree, a sakaki, of five hundred branches. And they hung the jewels upon the branches of the tree, and they hung the mirror upon its branches. And all the lower branches they covered with offerings, streamers of white and streamers of blue, and they bore the tree before the rock cavern where the Sun Goddess was. And immediately the assembled birds sang. Then a divine maiden of fair renown, who for grace and skill in dancing had no sister, either in the Land of Rice Ears or upon the Plain of High Heaven, stood before the cavern door. And there was hung about her for a garland the club moss from Mount Kagu, and her head was bound with the leaves of the spindle-tree and with flowers of gold and flowers of silver, and a sheaf of green bamboo-grass was in her hands. And she danced before the cavern door as one possessed, for heaven and earth have not seen the like of her dancing. It was more lovely than the pine-tops waving in the wind or the floating of sea foam, and the cloud race upon the Plain of High Heaven is not to be compared with it. And the earth quaked and High Heaven shook, and all the Eight Hundred Myriad Deities laughed together.
Now Ama Terassu, the Glory of Heaven, lay in the rock cavern, and the bright light streamed from her fair body in rays, so that she was as a great jewel of price. And pools of water gleamed in the floor of the cavern, and the slime upon the walls gleamed with many colours, and the small rock-plants flourished in the unwonted heat, so that the heavenly lady lay in a bower and slept. And she awoke because of the song of the Eternal Singing Birds, and she raised herself and flung the hair back over her shoulder, and said, "Alack, the poor birds that sing in the long night!" And there came to her the sound of dancing and of high revel and of the merriment of the gods, so she was still and listened. And presently she felt the Plain of High Heaven shake, and heard the Eight Hundred Myriad Deities as they laughed together. And she arose and came to the door of the cavern, and rolled back the great stone a little way. And a beam of light fell upon the dancing maiden where she stood, panting, in all her array; but the other deities were yet in darkness, and they looked at each other and were still. Then spoke the Fair Glory of Heaven : "Methought that because I was hidden the Plain of High Heaven should be dark, and black dark the Central Land of Reed Plains. How, then, doth the Dancing Maiden go thus, adorned with garlands and her head tired? And why do the Eight Hundred Myriad Deities laugh together?"
Then the Dancing Maiden made answer : "O Thine Augustness, that art the sweet delight of all the deities, behold the divine maidens are decked with flowers, and the gods assemble with shouts. We rejoice and are glad because there is a goddess more illustrious than Thine Augustness."
And Ama Terassu heard and was wroth. And she covered her face with her long sleeves, so that the deities should not see her tears; howbeit, they fell like the falling stars. Then the youths of the Court of Heaven stood by the sakaki tree, where hung the mirror that was made by Ama-tsu-Mara, the Divine Smith. And they cried, "Lady, look and behold the new paragon of Heaven!"
And Ama Terassu said, "Indeed, I will not behold." Nevertheless, she presently let slip the sleeves that covered her countenance and looked in the mirror. And as she looked, and beheld, and was dazzled by her own beauty, that was without peer, she came forth slowly from the rocks of the cavern. And the light of her flooded High Heaven, and below the rice ears waved and shook themselves, and the wild cherry rushed into flower. And all the deities joined their hands in a ring about Ama Terassu, the Goddess of the Sun, and the door of the rock cavern was shut. Then the Dancing Maiden cried, "O Lady, Thine August-ness, how should any Deity be born to compare with thee, the Glory of Heaven?"
So with joy they bore the goddess to her place.
But Susa, the Swift, the Brave, the Impetuous, the Long-Haired, the Thrice Unhappy, the Lord of the Sea, him the deities arraigned to stand trial in the dry bed of the Tranquil River of Heaven. And they took counsel, and fined him with a great fine. And, having shorn him of his hair, which was his beauty and his pride (for it was blue-black as an iris, and hung below his knee), they banished him for ever from the heavenly precincts.
So Susa descended to earth by the Floating Bridge with bitterness in his heart, and for many days he wandered in despair, he knew not whither. By fair rice-fields he came, and by barren moors, heeding nothing; and at last he stayed to rest by the side of the river called Hi, which is in the land of Izumo.
And as he sat, moody, his head on his hand, and looked down at the water, he beheld a chop-stick floating on the surface of the stream. So Susa, the Impetuous, arose immediately, saying, "There are people at the river head." And he pursued his way up the bank in quest of them. And when he had gone not a great way, he found an old man weeping and lamenting very grievously, among the reeds and willows by the water-side. And there was with him a lady of great state and beauty, like unto the daughter of a deity; but her fair eyes were marred with many tears, and she moaned continually and wrung her hands. And these twain had between them a young maid of very slender and delicate form; but her face Susa could not see, for she covered it with a veil. And ever and anon she moved and trembled with fear, or seemed to beseech the old man earnestly, or plucked the lady by the sleeve; at which these last but shook their heads sorrowfully, and returned to their lamentations.
And Susa, full of wonder, drew near and asked the old man, "Who art thou?"
And the old man answered, "I am an earthly deity of the mountains. This is my wife, who weeps with me by the water-side, and the child is my youngest daughter."
And Susa inquired of him again, "What is the cause of your weeping and lamentation?"
And he answered, "Know, sir, that I am an earthly deity of renown, and I was the father of eight fair daughters. But a horror broods over the land, for every year at this time it is ravaged by a monster, the eight-forked serpent of Koshi, that delights in the flesh of young virgins. In seven years have my seven sweet children been devoured. And now the time of my youngest-born is at hand. Therefore do we weep, O Thine Augustness."
Then said Susa, the Impetuous, "What is the likeness of this monster?"
And the deities of the mountain made answer : "His eyes are fiery and red as the akakagachi (that is, the winter cherry). He has but one body, with eight heads and eight scaly tails. Moreover, on his body grows moss, together with the fir and the cryptomeria of the forest. In his going he covers eight valleys and eight hills, and upon his under side he is red and gory."
Then the Lord Susa, the Impetuous, cried, "My lord, give me thy daughter."
And the earthly deity, seeing his strength and great beauty and the brightness of his countenance, knew that he was a god, and answered, "With all reverence do I offer her unto thee. Howbeit, I know not thine august name."
And Susa said, "I am Susa, the Sea God, the exile of High Heaven."
And the mountain deity and also his fair wife spoke, saying, "So be it, Thine Augustness, take the young maid."
And immediately Susa flung away the veil and saw the face of his bride, pale as the moon in winter. And he touched her on the forehead, and said, "Fair and beloved, fair and beloved. . . ."
And the maid flushed faintly to stand thus barefaced. Howbeit, she had little need, for the tears that stood in my lord Susa's eyes were veil enough for her modesty. And he said again, "Dear and beautiful, our pleasure shall be hereafter, now we may not tarry."
So he took the young maid at once, and changed her into a crown for his head. And Susa wore the crown gallantly. And he instructed the earthly deity, and together they brewed sake, refined eightfold; and with the sake they filled eight vats and set them in readiness; and when all was prepared they waited. And presently there was a mighty noise, like the sound of an earthquake, and the hills and valleys shook. And the serpent crawled in sight, huge and horrible, so that the earthly deities hid their faces for fear. But Susa, the Impetuous, gazed upon the serpent with his sword drawn.
Now the serpent had eight heads, and immediately he dipped a head into each vat of sake and drank long. Thereupon he became drunken with the distilled liquor, and all the heads lay down and slept.
Then the Lord Susa brandished his ten-grasp sword, and leapt upon the monster and cut off the eight heads with eight valiant strokes. So the serpent was slain with a great slaying, and the river Hi flowed on, a river of blood. And Susa cut the tails of the serpent also, and as he struck the fourth tail the edge of his august sword was turned back. So he probed with its point, and found a great jewelled sword with a blade sharp as no known smith could temper it. And he took the sword and sent it for an offering to the Sun Goddess, his august sister. This is the herb-quelling sword.
And Susa, the Impetuous, built him a palace at the place called Suga, and dwelt there with his bride. And the clouds of heaven hung like a curtain round about the palace. Then the Lord Susa sang this song:
"Many clouds arise.
The manifold fence of the forth-issuing clouds Makes a manifold fence,
For the spouses to be within. Oh, the manifold fence. . . ."