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

The Snow Women

There were two wood-cutters, the first and older was named Nishikaze The other and younger was named Teramichi. Both of them lived in the same village and went out every day into the forest to cut wood. In order to get into and out of the forest they had to cross over a river on a ferry. One day when they had finished their work a surprise snow storm came up and they rushed to the ferry. But to their terror they saw that the boatman was on the other side of the water and because of the storm could not return.
Since the two woodsmen didn’t want to wait outside in the terrible storm they went to a house located near the ferries crossing in order to await the ferryman’s return. So they entered the small home and secured the windows and doors and waited listening to the roaring storm outside. The older man, tired from the day’s hard work soon fell asleep but the younger couldn’t close his eyes because of the terrible storm howling outside and the hissing and cracking of the old wooden houses planks which trembled eerily.
Suddenly there was a terrible gust of wind that caused the house to rumble and shake so much it seemed it would collapse. The door swung open and the icy wind blew a huge swirl of snow into the house. Horrified Teramichi stared at the swirling clouds of snow which took on the form of a beautiful woman wearing a white robe. She turned to the place which Nishikaze was sleeping and bent over him, breathing out a white mist which spread over his face. She then stood up and walked towards Teramichi, who couldn’t move a limb so he just kept is eyes anxiously fixed on her. The woman leaned close to his face and spoke softly.
“Your friend has been killed like nearly everything in my domain. You should share his fate but you’re not yet a man and have not lived yet, so I will spare you. However you must be silent, for should even one word pass through your lips, if you tell anyone, whether it’s a father, a mother, a wife or even the littlest of children what you’ve seen or experienced here I will appear wherever you may be. Remember that!” After she’d given her warning to him she slowly floated up and drifted out through the door. 
With her spell gone the young man was released so he jumped up and closed the door then locked it tight. After which he turned to his comrade and cried out to wake him but he did not move, for the old woodsman had turned stiff and rigid, though his face was lit up with a happy smile.
At last the storm abated and the morning dawn, the ferryman returned to the forest side of the river and found both Teramichi and Nishikaze inside the little house, but while Teramichi opened his eyes with a deep sigh, Nishikaze remained dead.
The young man soon returned to his profession, going into the forest every day, careful to tell no one o of his adventure or that he’d ever seen the snow woman. So two years passed like this. When one evening after a day’s work he was heading home when he met a pretty young girl who liked him so much that they began to talk to each other. The girl told him that she was an orphan traveling to see distant relatives, and so they talked as they walked towards the village.
“It is now evening and cold and the roads are unsafe. Please come into my hut and take part in the modest meal that my mother has prepared. Rest a while and then you can continue your journey tomorrow,” Teramichi invited the girl when they had gotten close to the village.
The girl who called herself Juki accepted his offer and accompanied him to his house where his mother gave her a friendly greeting and prepared a meal and bed for her. After the girl had rested and the morning sun had risen Juki was preparing to set out again. Teramichi’s mother asked the girl to stay for a few days more, as it would be handy to have some help around the house since she was getting old. And should Juki prove capable she would be able to have a home there with them. Teramichi who had fallen madly in love with the girl joined his mother in asking Juki to stay. So Juki stayed and the Teramichi  and Juki soon fell even more deeply in love so that after a time they were wed.
Juki was a good woman and a good wife, taking care of and admiring her mother-in-law until the older woman eventually passed away. She then devoted herself to her husband and the children she’d had with him over the ten years they’d been married. The children flourished and prospered and grew, no sickness nor accident disturbed the peace and happiness of the marriage which everyone praised as the best in the country.
It should also be mentioned that as a very special miracle Juki always looked young and was still thriving and in full force so there no one could perceive any sign of aging even after all the years which had passed. So the years passed when one winter’s evening when the couple was having an intimate conversation another terrible snow storm swept across the land. The man shuddered as he remembered his experience in the ferryman’s hut. As he thought of this he looked at his wife who now appeared to him more beautiful than ever and suddenly he thought her face resembled that of the snow-woman who many years ago had taken the old man’s life and threatened his. As he looked at her more the similarity became more and more apparent until he was unable to keep from bursting out that she was beautiful. 
Juki was surprised by his sudden outburst and so asked him what these words should mean. Without hesitation, as if in a half dream he told her of his adventure in the hut and of the snow woman. 
“She was beautiful, but eerily beautiful, and you look so much like her that you too are beautiful,” he told her.
Juki rose up then and to the man’s horror she got bigger and bigger, her face transfiguring and her dress turning bright white until she finally transformed completely into the snow woman. He fell to the ground in terror and stretched out his arms.
“You’re here, please forgive me!” He shouted.
“Yes I am here! Could you not keep your mouth shut after you’ve been silent for so long?” She scolded him. “I could kill you now, with a touch of my mouth you would freeze to death your limbs growing stiff. This would be a just punishment for what you have done for you have destroyed not only your luck mine as well. For behold,” she continued her voice assuming a calm tone, “I spared you in that lodge, because I saw you a thriving handsome young man who looked so scared and helpless before me. I felt sorry for you, but not only sorry for I felt the desire to enjoy the happiness of mankind. This is why I didn’t kill you then, for I loved you. Yes I loved you so I approached you in human form; I married you and enjoyed living with you for many wonderful years. Now you choose to destroy that, and I must return to my kingdom. I remember the happiness that I enjoyed here and my poor children which no parent would want to deprive of a father. So you may continue to live. Be a good father and find some way to atone for your present wrongs.”
With that she kissed him on the forehead. Although her lips were cold they burned like fire. The door swung open and a whirly snow shower raged through the house and swept Juki-onna out of the house, kidnapping her and leaving a lonely man behind.
From that day on the man who had been so cheerful and happy was no longer happy, very serious, but not a happy word came from his lips. He only lived for his children, whom he raised to be efficient, honest people, And after many years, when the snow storm roared he went out to lead his children into the forest to meet his Juki-onna.
But people said when he was found the next morning he was frozen, dead.
Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books


Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books