Long, Iong ago, in the very middle of Kyushu, there was a huge lake.
The lake was surrounded by tawering mountains,
and the streams flowing dcwn from the mountains gathered
together to form a vast expanse of water.
The surface of the Jake was shaped like a lotus leaf,
and the images of the flowers, greenery and autumn leaves
reflected on it over the seasons were stunningly beautiful.
In the lake stood three smal1 islands, still and quiet.
Then, one morning a huge hawk appeared out of the eastern sky.
It soared slowly in a circle over the lake, its wings spread wide,
then suddenly swooped down, moistening its feathers on the surface
of the lake and sending up a spray of water... then it let out a cry,
soared up once more, sending sparkling droplets of water into the sky.
It vanished, bathed in sunbeams, into the northern sky.
Suddenly dark clouds covered the sky, the heavens began to roar
with thunder, torrential rain lashed down, and the lake
began to surge and heave.
The lake began to churn up furiously the swirling
waters dashing against the surrounding mountains.
With a tremendous crash, the waters broke through the western side
and began to pour away in a deluge towards Chikugo.
For three days and three nights the storm raged, and when
at last the light returned, there was no lake to be seen.
All that were left were three hills, and around them a few clear streams.
The hills were narrled after the heavenly bodies;
the eastern hill was named Hinokurrla (after the sun) the western hill;
Hoshikuma (after the stars); and the the northern hill,
Tsukikuma (after the moon) the stream flowing by these
three hills became known as the Mikuma River.
The land formed here was named Hitaka (Sun hawk), after the
giant hawk shining in the light of the sun; and this became Hita.
It is also said that the name Hita comes from the hawk wetting
its feathers (hitasu), or from the water draining awav (hita).