Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/28

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12
AINO FOLK-LOKE.

with. But though he fed it, it could not (being really a fox) eat grass at all. All it wanted to eat was fish. After about four days it was like to die. At last it made its escape through the window and ran home; and, arriving at the place where the other fox lired, wanted to kill it. But it discovered that the trick had been played, not by its companion fox, but by the man. So both the foxes were very angry, and consulted about going to find the man and kill him.

But though the two foxes had decided thus, the man came and made humble excuses, saying: "I came the other day, because I had overheard you two foxes plotting; and then I cheated you. For this I humbly beg your pardon. Even if you do kill me, it will do no good. So henceforward I will brew rice-beer for you, and set up the divine symbols for you, and worship you, —worship you for ever. In this way you will derive greater profit than you would derive from killing me. Pish, too, whenever I make a good catch, I will offer to you as an act of worship. This being so, the creatures called men shall worship you for ever."

The foxes, hearing this, said: "That is capital, we think. That will do very well." Thus spake the foxes. Thus does it come about that all men, both Japanese and Aino, worship the fox. So it is said.—(Translated literally. Told by Ishanashte, 15th July, 1886.)


x.—The Man who Married the Bear-Goddess.

There was a very populous village. It was a village having both plenty of fish and plenty of venison. It was a place lacking no kind of food. Nevertheless, once upon a time, a famine set in. There was no food, no venison, no fish, nothing to eat at all; there was a famine. So in that populous village all the people died.

Now the village chief was a man who had two children, a boy and a girl. After a time, only those two children remained alive. Now the girl was the older of the two, and the boy was the younger. The girl spoke thus: "As for me, it does not matter evea if I do die, since I am a girl. But you, being a boy, can, if you like, take up our father's inheritance. So you should take these things with you