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October 25 , 2007

Japan Folklore The Tale of Beautiful Fox Maiden


Then there was a great flame of fire and a rending noise, and the Stone burst and split in sunder. From the stone and from the fire there came a woman.

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Once long ago, in ancient Japan, in the town of Kumamoto, there lived a young samurai, who had a great devotion to the sport of fishing. Armed with his large basket and tackle, he would often start out in the early morning and pass the whole day at his favourite pastime, returning home only at nightfall. One fine day he had…

She stood before the Holy Man. She said:

I am Tamamo, once called the Proud Perfection; I am the golden-haired Fox; I know the Sorceries of the East; I was worshipped by the Princes of Ind; I was great Cathay’s undoing; I was wise and beautiful, Evil incarnate. The power of the Buddha has changed me; I have dwelt in grief for a hundred years; Tears have washed away my beauty and my sin. Shrive me, Genyo, shrive me, Holy Man; Let me have peace.

“Poor Spirit,” said Genyo. “Take my staff and my priestly robe and my begging bowl and set forth upon the long journey of repentance.”

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