A poetic journey through my mind

Posts tagged “tails

On Having (and keeping) Three Tails

 

Inari

 

Upon my birth, a tiny kit, my mothers tail I turned and bit, and snarling once and then again, she pushed me just outside the den. I blinked, and stood, on all fours first, then straightened, with a sake thirst, I wandered forth a while and then I joined the world of learned men. Soon I learned the ways and habits of tengu and poetic rabbits, tanuki tricks and bake-neko, and though lesser known, the bake-gecko. I practiced magic, Inari‘s gift, and learned to run, both straight and swift, the river gods had naught on me, my pride grew great as any tree…and soon, my tails they numbered three.

 

But then I met the inugami, a doggish, loyal sort of kami, and from him learned that tricks have prices, as I lost one tail to his mochi’s slices, and slunk in shame back to Inari, to bow to her and to say sorry. I asked her to forgive me, please, my eyes cast down and on my knees, she laughed and laughed and touched my head, and gave to me a quest instead, to save a village from the plight of oni stalking in the night and shrieking till men died of fright..

 

So back I went onto all fours, and to the village on the shores I ran and changing as I went I came as inugami, sent to save a loyal family who made their living from the sea. They welcomed me with tears of joy, and then I turned into a boy, and smiled at them and bowed so low and vowed that to the shore I’d go, and face the oni without fear, and scare them from their visits here. So down I went, at evenings tide, the fisherman right by my side, his fishing hook in one strong hand, we walked together down the sand. The rest I’ll tell another night, but my it was a lovely fight, and with the oni leader slain, I headed back, my tail to gain…and as I went down came the rain…

 

 

Kitsune-na-shiteki

 

 

 


Kitsune, Usagi and Tanuki: Fox Dreams references.

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! 🙂


Aside

Silly

To make up for the last two posts, here’s a silly one that I wrote when I was living in an RV. in a state park.  ;).

whip tail, fluff tail, branch to roof to yard,
eye glow, night show, chitters in the dark,
claw hands, paw hands, clever fingers moving fast
trash cans, clash cans, isn’t this a lark?

mask face, task face, watching for a light,
light now, fright now, disappear into the night,
helter skelter scamper climb, clang of dropping can,
safely into silent hole, hidden from the man.