Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/23

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7
AINO FOLK-LOKE.

sister-wife Turesh, or Tureshi[hi] and his henchman Samayunguru. The "divine symbols," of which such constant mention is made in the tales, are the inao or whittled sticks frequently described in books of travels. Basil Hall Chamberlain.

Miyanoshita, Japan,
 20th July, 1887.


I. — TALES ACCOUNTING FOR THE ORIGIN OF PHENOMENA.

i. — The Rat and the Owl.[1]

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 foot 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, his anus was transfixed, and he 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. Told by Ishanashte, 25th November, 1886.)


ii. — The Loves of the Thunder-Gods.

Two young thunder-gods, sons of the chief thunder-god, fell violently in love with the same Aino woman. Said one of them to

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