Brinala thought about the question for a few moments.
"Yes, I believe so," she finally said. "It's called The Story of King Oka."
And without delay, she began.
â€œLong ago, the country of Nekonia was not ruled by a single royal family, but was divided between a great number of tribal prides. One pride, called the Illari, had built a town prosperous enough to surround with a stone wall.
â€œAt that time, Nekojin males, when reaching a certain age, were often required to either leave their pride or challenge the ruling male for the right to remain. The Illari had long abandoned that tradition, though they still held an annual festival at which the most promising of the young male warriors would duel the king for honor. If the young male were to actually defeat the king in this duel, then the royal title would be conferred to him.
â€œOne year, a young warrior named Oka was chosen for this duel. Oka had always been quite ambitious and was always seeking to prove himself. Thus, it was his desire to win the duel no matter what it took.
â€œOne day, while pondering on how he would accomplish this, Oka was approached by a large housecat. To Okaâ€™s surprise, the cat stood up on two legs and its tail split in two down the middle.
â€œThen the cat spoke, saying: â€˜I am the King of the Dead. If you would serve me, I would grant you victory in the festival duel. But you must remember the debt you owe me, and be not hesitant when I ask you to return this favor, or else great disaster will befall you.â€™
â€œOka replied: â€˜I should like to accept your offer. Thus, I pledge to you my service and swear not to forget my debt.â€™
â€œTo consolidate this oath, Oka split his own tail down the middle as a sign of his allegiance. The next day, Oka dueled the king at the festival and prevailed, and the crown of Illari was conferred to him. In celebration, a grand hunt was held and many great beasts were killed.
â€œNow the King of the Dead came to Oka and said: â€˜You are now king, therefore I ask you to repay the debt you owe. The great hunt you have led has brought you much honor, and now I ask you to honor me by burning the meat in sacrifice.â€™
â€œBut Oka said: â€˜The meat from the hunt is of such great value that burning it would surely bring me to ridicule. Surely there must be some other way in which I can repay you.â€™
â€œThe King of the Dead replied: â€˜You have broken your promise. But I am patient, and so I will grant you one more chance to repay me.â€™
â€œSoon Oka decided to take a bride. Searching all around, he found a female who was said to be the most beautiful in all the land. To her he proposed marriage, offering her family the meat from the hunt. She accepted and came to live with Oka as the princess of the Illari.
â€œAfter the wedding, the King of the Dead came again, saying: â€˜To this female you have given what was mine by right. Thus I demand that you give her to me, that she may walk the Halls of the Dead as my bride.â€™
â€œOka, angry at this demand, replied: â€˜She is my wife and I will not give her to you. Find some other way for my debt to be repaid.â€™
â€œAnd spoke the King of the Dead: â€˜You have now broken your promise twice. But I am patient, and so I will grant you one more chance.â€™
â€œIt was not long before the season of war came, and the Illari prepared for battle.
â€œThe King of the dead came again at this time, saying: â€˜It is also the season of war in the Spirit World, and thus I need an army. A living army would be more novel than a dead army, so I require that you grant me all the warriors of your pride.â€™
â€œBut Oka said: â€˜If I grant you all of my warriors, then how will I myself give battle?â€™
â€œSo the King of the Dead said: â€˜This is the third time you have broken your promise. But I am patient, and so I will grant you one more chance.â€™
â€œThe Illari marched and made war against many armies. The clash of metal and the cries of battle were heard throughout the fields and the forests. The Illari plundered many villages and captured a great quantity of food and drink, a great number of weapons and flags, and many princesses.
â€œThe King of the Dead appeared again and said to Oka: â€˜You have profited greatly, but without an army I have fallen into poverty. Thus it is only right that you should grant me the plunder you have taken this season.â€™
â€œOka replied: â€˜If I grant you all of this plunder, then I shall be the one who is impoverished. Thus I ask you to find something else to require of me.â€™
â€œBut the King of the Dead said: â€˜Four times you have broken your promise. I will not tolerate this. I warned you that disaster would come should you be hesitant in repaying my favor, and now it will be so.â€™
â€œSo the two-tailed cat departed. At that moment, in ran a desperate-looking messenger.
â€œThe messenger bellowed: â€˜Takama Dell is marching against us! We will surely be destroyed!â€™
â€œAt this news, Oka gathered his warriors and went to meet Takama Dell. But in the first battle he was routed, in the second battle he was forced to withdraw behind the walls of his town, and in the third his gate was broken through and he was taken prisoner. And at the end, under the executionerâ€™s blade, Oka cursed himself for having failed to fulfill his oath.â€