Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/58

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
42
AINO FOLK-LORE.

the pine-tree, and setting up the divine symbols in its honour, he hastened to retrace his steps through the long, tunnel-like cavern, through which he had originally entered Hades. After walking for a certain time, he emerged into the world of men, to find himself on the mountain-top, whither he had pursued the bear which he had never seen again.

On reaching his home, he went to bed, and dreamt a second time. It was the same goddess of the pine-tree, that appeared before him and said: "I have come to tell you that you cannot stay long in the world of men after once eating the grapes and mulberries of Hades. There is a goddess in Hades who wishes to marry you. She it was who, assuming the form of a bear, lured you into the cavern, and thence to the under-world. You must make up your mind to come away."

And so it fell out. The young man awoke; but a grave sickness overpowered him. A few days later he went a second time to Hades, and returned no more to the land of the living.—("Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 22nd July, 1886.)


xxxvi.—An Inquisitive Man's Experience of Hades.

Three generations before my time there lived an Aino who wished to find out whether the stories told about the existence of an underworld were true. So one day he penetrated into an immense cavern (since washed away by the waves) at the river-mouth of Sarubutsu. All was dark in front, all was dark behind. But at last there was a glimmer of light a-head. The man went on, and soon emerged into Hades. There were trees, and villages, and rivers, and the sea, and large junks loading fish and seaweed. Some of the people were Ainos, some were Japanese, just as in the every-day world. Among the number were some whom he had known when they were alive. But, though he saw them, they,—strange to say,—did not seem to see him. Indeed he was invisible to all, excepting to the dogs; for dogs see everything, even spirits, and the dogs of Hades barked at him fiercely. Hereupon the people of the place, judging that some evil spirit had come among them, threw him dirty food, such as evil