A few weeks ago when we were at Origins Game Fair, Amber and I did a brief demo of Kitsune, a card game based on the kitsune, Japanese fox -spirits. I finally decided to look for one of the fox tales and found “The Foxes’ Wedding.” It’s actually just a nice story where nothing goes wrong and everyone lives happily ever after. The story appears in Tales of Old Japan by Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford. The illustration above is available thanks Project Gutenberg.
Once upon a time there was a young white fox, whose name was Fukuyémon. When he was old enough, he shaved off his forelock and began to think of taking to himself a beautiful bride. The old fox, his father, resolved to give the son his inheritance early and retired into private life; so the young fox, grateful, worked hard to increase the fortune. The you white fox was determined to marry a certain lady-fox, who had such lovely fur that the fame of her jewel-like charms was spread far and wide. A meeting was arranged between them. There was not a fault to be found on either side; so the preliminaries were settled, and the wedding presents sent from the bridegroom to the bride’s house.
When the ceremonies had been concluded, an auspicious day was chosen for the bride to go to her husband’s house, and she was carried off in solemn procession during a shower of rain, the sun shining all the while. After the ceremonies of drinking wine had been gone through, the bride changed her dress, and the wedding was concluded amid singing and dancing and merry-making.
The bride and bridegroom lived lovingly together, and a litter of little foxes were born to them, to the great joy of their grandfahter, who treated the little cubs as tenderly as if they had been butterflies or flowers.
As soon as the cubs were old enough, they were carried off to the temple of Inari Sama, the patron saint of foxes, and the old grand-parents prayed that they might be delivered from dogs and all the other ills to which fox flesh is heir.
In this way the white fox grew old and prosperous, and his children, year by year, became more and more numerous around him; so that, happy in his family and his business, every recurring spring brought him fresh cause for joy.
I don’t read many folktales that are this happy, where everything works out so well for everyone involved. I may try to find another story that shows of the trickster qualities of the kitsune.
Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.