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Story No. 965

Buying a Dream

Book Name:

Aino Folk-Tales

Tradition: Japan, Aino

A certain thickly populated village was governed by six chiefs, the oldest of whom lorded it over the other five. One day he made a feast, brewed some rice-beer, and invited the other five chiefs, and feasted them. When they were departing, he said: "To-morrow each of you must tell me the dream which he shall have dreamt overnight; and if it is a good dream I will buy it."

So next day four of the chiefs came and told their dreams. But they were all bad dreams, not worth buying. The fifth, however, did not come, though he was waited for at first, and then sent for several times. At last, when brought by force, he would not open his lips. So the senior chief flew into a rage, and caused a hole to be dug in front of the door of his own house, and had the man buried in it up to his chin, and left there all that day and night.

Now the truth was that the senior chief was a bad man, that the junior chief was a good man, and that this junior chief had forgotten his dream, but did not dare to say so. After dark, a kind god came and said: "You are a good man. I am sorry for you, and will take you out of the hole." This he did; and, at that very moment, the chief remembered how he had dreamt of having been led up the bank of a stream through the woods to the house of a goddess who smiled beautifully, and whose room was carpeted with skins; how she had comforted him, fed him plenteously, and sent him home in gorgeous array, and with instructions for deceiving and killing his enemy, the senior chief. "I suppose you remember it all now," said the god; "it was I who caused you to forget it, and thus saved you from having it bought by the wicked senior chief, because I am pleased with the way in which you keep the privy clean, not even letting grass grow near it. And now I will show you the reality of that of which before you saw only the dream-image."

So the man was led up the bank of a stream through the woods to the house of the goddess, who smiled beautifully, and whose room was carpeted with skins. She was the badger-goddess. She comforted him, fed him plenteously, and said: "You must deceive the senior chief, saying that the god of door-posts, pleased at your being buried near him, took you out, and gave you these beautiful clothes. He will then wish to have the same thing happen to him." So the man went back to the village, and appeared in all his splendid raiment before the senior chief, who had fancied him to be still in the hole, – a punishment which would be successful if it made him confess his dream, and also if it killed him.

Then the good junior chief told him the lies in which the badger-goddess had instructed him. Thereupon the senior chief caused himself to be buried in like fashion up to the neck, but soon died of the effects. Afterwards the badger-goddess came down to the village, and married the good man, who became the senior of all the chiefs.


Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 16th November, 1886.


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