Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books

Fairies and Fairy Tales

Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books
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Japanese fairy tales    Oni     Tengu     Kitsune     Tanuki     Kami

Can’t Outsmart a Kitsune 
(Kitsune means fox)


Once some friends sat together eating, drinking and making merry and having as much fun as young friends could have as they told stories. In particular they told many tales of the magical and ghostly kitsune which haunted the countryside. They told of how the foxes who were often white played tricks on humans which were often of the worst and most cruel of pranks. One young man by the name of Tokutaro didn’t put much stock in the tales told and claimed that it was ridiculous to be afraid of foxes.
“I vow that I will go to where the foxes are most numerous and stay there without having any fox able to play such a prank on me,” Tokutaro boasted.
“Don’t be foolish,” his friends warned him. But the more they tried to get him to rethink his plan the more he felt he must prove how great he was. Thus it was decided that they would all enter a bet. If Tokutaro was tricked by the foxes then he pay his friends. But should he return without having been deceived by the foxes his friends would be obliged to pay him.
When midnight drew near the courageous Tokutaro headed out walking cheerfully up to the moor which was overgrown with yew bushes through whose branches the wind was blowing. But despite the eerie atmosphere Tokutaro remained brave and continued on his journey calmly. It was not long before he saw a white fox slip into a thicket not from where he stood. A moment later a pretty girl came out of the thicket the kitsune had just slipped into causing him to chuckle to himself that he had seen through the kitsune’s obvious trick. 
The young girl who was a friend of his asked him to walk with her to her parents house, and since the destination was not far he readily agreed. But though he walked beside her and they talked back and forth he firmly believed that his friend was really an enchanted kitsune in disguise. When they arrived at her parents house Tokutaro secretly motioned for her parents to join him in another room. When they had done so he told them what had happened and that the girl was not their daughter but a magical kitsune from the eerie more. 
The girl’s parents were surprised to hear this but the young man spoke with such earnest that his story seemed believable so they were convinced of its accuracy. Indeed since their daughter had in fact gone off to visit friends and was not supposed to return until the next day they were certain that the girl in the next room must be a kitsune. So they allowed Tokutaro to try to expose the girl as a kitsune.
First he pushed her down on the couch and burnt her skin with a candle but when she did not change back he began to strangle her. That’s when they begged him to stop but he was so certain he would not. 
“It must die!” he screamed.
And so the girl did, but she did not change back into a kitsune when she did so, and that was absolute proof that the girl had been the daughter of the two parents in the house and not a kitsune. Indeed the real kitsune had probably run away long ago.
The parents upon seeing that their daughter was dead began to wail miserably, and blamed Tokutaro for the death of their daughter. 
“You must die for what you have done,” they cried. 
And with that they tackled him to the ground and bound him hand and foot and were just about to finish him off when their was a knock at the shutters. The girl’s parents looked out and saw a priest who asked for admittance to the house. The priest had seen the unfortunate situation which poor Tokutaro was in and asked the parents the cause. So the parents told horrible story of their daughter’s death from beginning to end. When the priest had heard everything he spoke to them of peace as was his role asking: “What use is his death to you? Does it actually help to avenge your daughter?” No, for he is stupid young man but he acted in good faith. Let me make another suggestion, I will ordain him a priest and then he will have the best opportunities to repent and atone for what he’s done.”
After a moment the girl’s parents agreed that if they saw that the priest was series in taking on Tokutaro as a priest they would release him. So the priest called for someone to come and shave Tokutaro’s head bald. The man seemed to be a companion of the priest, for he understood well how to prepare a man to be a priest. First he cut Tokutaro beautiful top knot and then the hair on the sides and the back until his head was shaved as smooth as glass. All the while the priest chanted and prayed. When the last of Tokutaro’s hair fell to the ground the house, the girls parents, the priest, the house and everything disappeared so that Tokutaro found himself standing in the midst of the dismal swamp the shrill sound of barking kitsune resounding like laughter around him. 
As he looked around he was suddenly glad to realize that it had all been an illusion, that he hadn’t really killed his friend but as he ran his hand over his head he found that his fine beautiful hair was actually gone and in its place was the mirror smooth skin of a monks shaved scalp. Ashamed and embarrassed he went back to his friends who received him joyfully and teased him greatly. He told them his story and paid his debt. As he went home that night alone with his thoughts he came to a decision and signed up for the priesthood. 

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Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books