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

spinning wheel

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

Japanese tale #57 – One hundred nights

hundred days

Once upon a time, there was a temple renowned far and wide across the land for its powerful amulets.

People came from remote villages just to buy a paper charm or a fabric amulet, hoping to fend off evil spirits of all kinds.

A lovely summer day, as dusk was settling, a woman came knocking at the heavy temple gates.

– Hello? Is anybody here?

The watchboy throw a look by the spyhole. The woman, richly dressed, had her features blurred by a long travel veil, her wide hat casting long shadows in the dimming light. Lire la suite

Japanese tale #56 – Silken strings

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Once upon a time, near a remote village, stood an old temple all thought to be haunted.

It was a lovely place, peaceful and quiet. While abandoned, its polished wooden floors still shone warmly in sunlight, its bronze lanterns remained untouched by moss.

Yet, for unfathomable reasons, any person who went there ended missing. Peasants, woodsmen and mere travelers who had strolled the temple grounds simply vanished, never again to be seen. Lire la suite

Japanese tale #51 – Hold your tongue

hold tongue

Once upon a time, eight good friends traveled together. They had prepared their trip well, thoroughly studying travel guides and marking things they should not miss. And, stations after stations, they enjoyed the many teashops and refined inns which stood along the road.

One evening, after bathing in their inn’s hot spring, they got together in the suite they all shared.

The maids were finishing setting rooms up for the night, running silently up and down the long corridors. The travellers merrily hailed one and asked:

– Tonight, we celebrate our friendship ! Please get us something to drink!

Lire la suite

Japanese tale #50 – Eye for eye

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Once upon a time, in old Edo, there was a man named Denshi who ruled a small circus​.

He had various numbers, from dog’s acrobatics to simple smoke and mirrors tricks, yet public was getting more and more scarce every passing day.

One evening, he overheard two young men talking excitedly outside his hut:

– Have you heard about the new haunted house? People say it’s such a great freak show: they even have a ghost! Let’s go check it, I am sure we’re going to love it! Lire la suite

Conte japonais #48 – A la vie, à la mort

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Il y avait une fois, dans un village isolé dans les montagnes, deux hommes appelés Rokuro et Shichiro qui étaient inséparables depuis leur enfance.

Leurs maisons était si loin de tout et leurs terres si désolées que tous deux avaient bien du mal à joindre les deux bouts. Tous les jours, ils travaillaient côte à côte dans leurs champs escarpés, et s’en retournaient chez eux cassés et fourbus. Lire la suite