To Book List

To Story List

To Main Page

International Folktales Collection

To Next Story

To Previous Story

Story No. 928

The Rat and the Owl

Book Name:

Aino Folk-Tales

Tradition: Japan, Aino

An owl had put by for next day the remains of something dainty which he had to eat. But a rat stole it, whereupon the owl was very angry, and went off to the rat's house, and threatened to kill him. But the rat apologised, saying: "I will give you this gimlet and tell you how you can obtain from it pleasure far greater than the pleasure of eating the food which I was so rude as to eat up. Look here! you must stick the gimlet with the sharp point upwards in the ground at the root of this tree; then go to the top of the tree yourself, and slide down the trunk."

Then the rat went away, and the owl did as the rat had instructed him. But, sliding down on to the sharp gimlet, he impaled himself on it, and suffered great pain, and, in his grief and rage, went off to kill the rat. But again the rat met him with apologies, and, as a peace-offering, gave him a cap for his head.

These events account for the thick cap of erect feathers which the owl wears to this day, and also for the enmity between the owl and the rat.—(Written down from memory.


Written down from Told by Ishanashte, 25th November, 1886.

The Aino name here used (ahunrashambe) denotes a horned species.


To Next Story

To Previous Story