Urashima Taro is a Japanese story that somewhat parallels the Rip Van Winkle fairy tale. Taro was a fisherman, and one day he happened upon some children torturing a little turtle. He paid the children to stop bothering the turtle, and returned it to the sea. Taro thought nothing more of it, until a few days later when he caught something on his line... and was surprised to find that it was a large turtle. The turtle offered him the chance to come with him to the bottom of the sea, and see the Coral Palace. Taro accepted this, and became the first person to see the bottom of the sea... and he entered the Coral Palace where he met the princess "Otohime" and had great feasts for days on end. Eventually, he became homesick and asked to be returned to his world. He was given a jewel encrusted box that he was to never open as a parting gift. When he returned to his town, nothing was the same... noone knew him or any of his friends... it was years and years later than when he left. A stranger now, with all of his friends gone, Taro sat by the seashore, alone. He remembered the chest that was given to him by Otohime, but forgot her warning not to open it. When the lid was open, a column of white smoke arose from the chest. The smoke was strange and surrounded Taro. And when the smoke disappeared, Taro had become an old man with hair as white as snow. Taro had been under the sea for many years, and now time had caught up with him.