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Story No. 964

The Child of a God

Book Name:

Aino Folk-Tales

Tradition: Japan, Aino

There was a very beautiful woman, who was still without a husband. A man had already been fixed upon to become her husband, but he had not yet lain with her. Nevertheless the woman suddenly was with child. For this reason she was greatly surprised. As for other people, they thought thus: "She has probably become with child through lying with some other man." That was what other people said. The man who was to be her husband was very angry. But he could not know whence it was that she was with child.

Then she was delivered. She bore a little snake. She was greatly ashamed. Her mother took the little snake, went out, and spoke thus, with tears: "What god has deigned to beget a child in my daughter? Though he should deign to beget one, it would at least be well if he had begotten a human child. But this little snake we human beings cannot keep. As it is the child of the god who begot it, he may as well keep it." So saying, she threw it away. Then the old woman went in.

This being so, afterwards there was the noise of a baby crying. The old woman went out, and looked. It was a nice baby. Then the old woman carried it in. The woman who had given birth to the child rejoiced with tears. Then the baby was found to be a boy, and was kept. Gradually he grew big. After a time he became a man. Then, being a very fine man, he killed large numbers both of deer and of bears.

The woman who had given birth to him was alone astonished. What had happened was that, while she slept, the light of the sun had shone upon her through the opening in the roof. Thus had she become with child. Then she dreamt a dream, which said: "I, being a god, have given you a child, because I love you. When you die, you shall truly become my wife. Your and my son, when he gets a wife, shall have plenty of children." The woman dreamt thus, and worshipped. Then that son of hers, when pursued by the bears, could not be caught. He was a great hunter, a very rich man.

Then the woman died, without having had a human husband. Afterwards her son, getting a wife, had children, and became rich. His descendants are living to this day.


Translated literally. Told by Penri, 21st July, 1886.


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