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Image credits: Maguny Annisin

I’ve got another fox tale today. In this one, they are mischievous, but also a bit magical.

Major Counselor Yasumichi’s mansion had many foxes that live in the house and grounds. They were always making mischief but didn’t do any harm to Yasumichi just ignored it. But over the years they became naughtier and naughtier and finally he became fed up and decided that enough was enough.

Yasumichi announced a fox hunt for the next day. The servants were to bring bows and arrows, sticks, or whatever weapons they could devise, and flush out every last fox. They would surround the house, and every fox that showed itself would be killed. Rather a major change in attitude I think. Couldn’t they have just decided to scare them away from the mansion, not kill them. Don’t worry though, these are foxes.

Near dawn Yasumichi had a dream. A white-haired old man, looking rather like an aged servant, was kneeling under the tangerine tree in the garden, bowing respectfully.

“Who are you?” asked Yasumichi.

“Someone who has lived here in the mansion for many years, sir,” the old man answered nervously. “My father lived here before me, and now I have many children and grandchildren. They get into a lot of mischief, I’m afraid, and I’m always after them to stop, but they never listen. And now, sir, you’re understandably fed up with us. I gather that you’re going to kill us all. Won’t you pardon us one more time? If we ever make trouble again, then of course you must act as you think best. But the young ones, sir – I’m sure they’ll understand when I explain to them why you’re so upset. We’ll do everything we can to protect you from now on, if only you’ll forgive us, and we’ll be sure to let you know when anything good is going to happen!”

The old man bowed again and Yasumichi awoke. When the sun came up, he got up and looked outside. Under the tangerine tree sat anold fox who, at the sight of him, slunk under the house.

Yasumichi called off the fox hunt. There was no more troublesome mischief, and every happy event around the house was announced by a fox’s sharp bark.

The photo above is another from the Zao Fox Village that I talked about last week.  You may remember foxes in stories are intelligent beings and often possess magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. I think that’s why the kitsune in this story is an older fox, wise enoguh to fix the problem and save his family.

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.