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YASHPEH
International Folktales Collection

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Story No. 938


The two Foxes, the Mole, and the Crows

Book Name:

Aino Folk-Tales

Tradition: Japan, Aino

Two brother foxes consulted together thus: "It would be fun for us to go down among men, and assume human shape." So they made treasures and they made garments out of the leaves of various trees, and they made various things to eat and cakes out of the gum which comes out of trees. But the mole[-god] saw them making all these preparations. So the mole made a place like a human village, and placed himself in it under the disguise of a very old man. The foxes came to that village; they came to the very old man's house. And the mole himself made beautiful treasures and made garments out of various herbs and leaves of trees; and, taking mulberries and grapes from the tops of the trees, he made good food. On the arrival of the foxes, the mole invited all the crows in the place and all sorts of birds. He gave them human shape, and placed them as owners in the houses of the village. Then the mole, as chief of the village, was a very old man.

Then the foxes came, having assumed the shape of men. They thought the place was a human village. The old chief bought all the things which the foxes had brought on their backs, all their treasures and all their food. Then the old man displayed to them his own beautiful treasures. The old man displayed all his beautiful things, his garments. The foxes were much pleased. Then the old man spoke thus: "Oh you strangers! as there is a dance in my village, it will be well for you to see it." Then all the people in the village danced all sorts of dances. But at last, owing to their being birds, they began to fly upwards, notwithstanding their human shape. The foxes saw this, and were much amused. The foxes ate both of the mulberries and of the grapes. They tasted very good. It was great fun, too, to see the dancing. Afterwards they went home.

The foxes thought thus: "What is nicer even than treasures is the delicious food which human beings have. As we do not know what it is, let us go again and buy some more of it." So they again made treasures out of herbs. Then they again went down to that village. The mole was in a golden houseā€”a large house. He was alone in it, having sent all the crows and the rest away. As the foxes entered the house and looked about them, they saw a very venerable god. The god spoke thus: "Oh! you foxes; because you had assumed human shape, you made all sorts of counterfeit treasures. I saw all that you did. It is by me, and because of this, that you are brought here. You think this is a human village; but it is the village of me, your master the mole. It seems you constantly do all sorts of bad things. If you do so, it is very wrong; so do not assume human shape anymore. If you will cease to assume human shape, you may henceforth eat your fill of these mulberries and grapes. You and your companions the crows may eat together of the mulberries and of all fruits at the top of the trees, which the crows cause to drop down. This will be much more profitable for you than to assume human shape." Thus spoke the mole.

Owing to this, the foxes left off assuming human shape, and, from that time forward, ate as they pleased of the mulberries and the grapes. When the crows let any drop, they went underneath the trees and ate them. They became very friendly together.

Comments:

Translated literally. Told by Ishanashte, 11th November, 1886.

Abstract:

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