This quilt is based on a Japanese legend about a samurai's daughter. Tokoyo goes in search of her father, who has been banished to the Oki Islands.
One night she meets a priest and a young maiden. The maiden is about to be thrown into the sea to appease a sea serpent. This sea serpent, Yofune Nushi, demands an annual sacrifice. If the sacrifice is not made, he destroys the local fishing boats.
Tokoyo offers to take the maiden's place. She swims to the sea serpent's cave and faces him armed with a dagger.
The courageous Tokoyo kills Yofune Nushi. As a reward, her father is pardoned and they return home together.
The complete tale, "A Story of Oki Islands", was collected by Richard Gordon Smith in the early 1900s and included in Ancient Tales and Folklore of Japan. The book was first published in 1918 by A & C Black (London) and reissued in 1986 by Bracken Books (London).