Japanese tale #67 – A feast of mermaid


Once upon a time, there was on Wakasa coast a small flourishing harbour which stood upon the clearest sea.

Blessed by lenient tides and fair weather, its fishermen came back every nightfall with lines and nets full of silvery fishes.

Townspeople where so glad for their luck that they never forgot to thank the many gods of the ocean. Lire la suite


Japanese tale #66 – The wave


Once upon a time, there was sweet couple who lived a comfortable life by the sea. Despite their material comfort, both were very sad for they could not have children.

They had tried everything, patiently summoning famed physicians, and hiring priests for ritual chants and prayers. But alas, years and years passed, and no infant came to brighten their lives.

Finally, they both decided to make a pilgrimage to the mountains which stood at a few days walk from their home city. Lire la suite

Japanese tale #65 – The old charcoal burners

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Once upon a time, an old man and his beloved wife lived a humble life on a distant mountainside.

For years, they had made their living of charcoal making.

Every morning, the man climbed the steep slopes of the forest to cut thick oak trees. He then brought lumbers down to the clearing where their kilns stood, and he and his wife transformed wood over the course of long tedious workdays.

Lire la suite

Japanese tale #63 – The contest


Once upon a time, there was in old Kyoto a wide sanctuary which was the pride of the locals. Dedicated to the thunder gods, the shrines stood at the North-East of town, shielding the capital from disasters and demons.

For those old days, many strange creatures still haunted Japan. And in the forest surrounding that holy sanctuary, a fox and a tanuki lived – but not in peace nor harmony.

The beasts were not friendly neighbors and did not get along well. Both sly and mischievous, they were also consummate shapeshifters.

Lire la suite

Japanese tale #62 – Snowstorm


Once upon a time, in the remote Ezo country, a rich house and a poor shack stood side by side by the outskirts of a small village surrounded by snow.

The rich mansion was but a big farmhouse, of sturdy wood blackened by sharp winter air. Yet, compared to its wretched neighbor, all of cob and hay, the estate looked quite opulent.

One evening, an unexpected snowstorm hurtled from the West. As howling winds mercilessly bit and cut faces and hands, all inhabitants boarded up their windows and doors in a hurry. Lire la suite

Japanese tale #60 – Children of the wind

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Once upon a time, in a simple village, one like thousand others across Japan, there were three children who loved to play outside.

The oldest, Kazuo, always tried to look older than he really was, his stern behavior somehow ruined by his ever-snotty nose. His sister Chiyo, though all gangly limbs, was a mean biter when rough-and-tumble called. And all knew that Nobu, the woodsman’s son, would blabber about everything and nothing for hours if you didn’t stop him.

Lire la suite

Japanese tale #59 – The cats’ syndicate

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Once upon a time, there was a wide mansion, so rich its storehouses were always full and its tatami mats always fresh. Such an estate was filled with corners and nooks. And under its floors and in its walls, ran many mice and rats.

Usually, such mansions would have several cats strolling around, guarding the grounds with watchful eyes and swift paws. But, as the house’s mistress hated felines of all stripes, not even a whisker had ever been tolerated.

One rainy evening, as a maid was closing sliding doors for the night, she heard a faint cry. Puzzled, she put on her wooden sandals and, braving the pouring skies, went into the garden. Lire la suite

Japanese tale #58 – Spinning Wheel

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Once upon a time, there was a monk, known by the name of Yukei, who travelled across the whole country to share the Buddha’s words.

Followed by his two loyal retainers, the man had reached far away towns and remote hamlets. The little fellowship had adventurous hearts and had explored forests and mountains, never losing courage or faith.

One late autumn afternoon, Yukei and his friends found themselves near Adatara volcano. They had walked all day but had yet to cross any hunter or woodman’s sheds. Lire la suite