sister, sister, tell me true,
what I ever did to you,
stretch your hand to save me here,
and you may have my sweetheart dear.
I will have your sweetheart, true,
but never will I rescue you,
my hand outstretched will never be,
for sake of what you’ve done to me.
sister, sister, tell me why,
I see my murder in your eye,
what e’er I’ve done I’ll make amends,
and you and I shall live as friends.
Never shall I stretch my hand,
to help you safe up to dry land,
though it may be hard to see,
I’ll think of what you’ve done to me.
sister, sister, tell me here,
is it of my sweetheart dear,
I will forsake him, for your sake,
and you his hand may surely take.
it is about your sweetheart, aye,
whom you love half as much as I,
and though on me he has yet frowned,
he’ll turn to me once you are drowned.
sister, sister, save me, please,
and I will swear on bended knees,
that you a bride will shortly be,
and I no more shall envy thee.
I will not save thee, sister mine,
though your prayers are sweet and fine,
this stream will bear you out to sea,
and you no more will bother me.
sister, sister, hear me now,
my curse on you I hereby vow,
you may well have my sweetheart true,
but this black deed you soon will rue.
sister, when you take my man,
try to hold him if you can,
his faithless heart will ne’er be true,
and this last thing I do to you.
It occurred to me that a few of the references in Fox Dreams might be a bit obscure, and the stories work better with the right images. 😉
Kitsune (keet-snay) is the fox and fox spirit, Usagi the rabbit, and Tanuki is a Japanese raccoon dog and spirit.
Kitsune are mischievous shapeshifters who become more powerful the longer they live, as represented by the number of tails they have. Although inherently tricksy and sly, for the right person they can make loyal and loving friends, lovers, and wives. The Fox Wife is a traditional tale that usually has the fox-woman proving to be a loving and exceptional wife, until she is revealed…sometimes by her tails showing under her gown, or her true face reflected in a pond…and must leave.
Inari is the patron kami of rice, fertility and foxes. She likes to take the form of a fox, and as such, is said to be the only nine-tailed Kitsune in existence, as she won’t tolerate anyone having more power than she.
Tanuki are shape-changers, and one tale tells how they love to masquerade as a fat little cooking pot on the hearth until someone fills it with food, at which point it changes back and runs away with the meal! They are generally portrayed as happy, lusty, and slightly stupid, able to be led into foolish situations with little effort.
Hope that helps! At the least, I hope you leave knowing a little more about the fascinating myths and legends and animals of Japan! 🙂