The Old and New – Kurisumasu Haibun – December 10, 2015

“T’is the season to be jolly!” sang little Akira Daichi* at the top of his voice as he walked in the snow-covered woods. He loved the crisp cool air, the red holly and the white mistletoe berries, all this said to him: Merīkurisumasu**!

Kitsune watched from her hiding place as the boy gathered the white and red berries, she was curious, so she took on human form, to find out what this new game was.

“Konnichiwa! O-genki desu ka?***” she said bowing.
“Genki desu!****” he replied respectfully.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m gathering holly and mistletoe for Christmas. I’m going to help decorate my sister’s home for that festivity. Her husband is American.”
“Ah so! Kurisumasu is American?”
“No no .. not just American. It is a mixture of the old European religions and Christianity.”
“Ah so! Like with our Shinto and Buddhism! That is good. Teach me your song … of “jolly”.” said the kami.

And so Akiro Daichi taught her his song and she helped him to find the most beautiful mistletoe and holly for the holiday.

This is how Kitsune learnt about Christmas and even today she helps anyone who comes to her woods to find the best and brightest berries remembering her friend’s love of Christmas. And when the bright day comes, she sings her “jolly” song at the house of Yuki-Onna.

the old and new
with bright winter colours
Merīkurisumasu

 

*bright great wisdom
**Merry Christmas
***”Hello. How are you?
****I’m fine

Kitsune

Is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yōkai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into men or women. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.
Source: Wikipedia

Yuki-Onne

The Lady of the Snow, the Snow Queen or Winter Ghost in Japanese mythology. Sometimes she appears as an earthly woman, marries and has children, but sometimes she will disappear in a white mist. To those lost in blizzards, struggling futilely against the cold, she came, soothing them, singing to lull them to sleep, then breathing a deathly cold breath on them. The “snow maiden” was the spirit of death by freezing; a calm, pale woman who appeared to the dying, making their death quiet and painless.
Source: Japanese Goddess Names

The Japanese religious tradition is made up of several major components, including Shinto, Japan’s earliest religion, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Christianity has been only a minor movement in Japan.

Carpe Diem Extra #43 Carpe Diem Kamishibai Kurisumasu

In today’s episode of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Extra we are invited to “kamishibai Kurisumasu” … write a Christmas Haibun.  My favourite kami – Kitsune came to mind immediately, so please indulge me on my imaginary voyage to some unknown time in an imaginary Japan when a little boy taught Kitsune (whom I imply, taught Yuki-Onne) about Christmas.

Six Sentence Stories – Kistune in the Woods – December 8, 2015

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Ann, when she walked through the enchanted woods,
Met her friend the fox, all brilliant white, name Kitsune …
The fox so enchanting, as danced a lissome dance
Told Ann of all her adventures and made promises, saying:
“I’ll find you a bold prince dressed in bright red and gold”
But Ann knew her friend and the lies she told, and smiled.

© G.s.k. ‘15

 

 

 

Tell Me a Little Lie

The prompt:

TELL ME A LITTLE LIE…

After all, you only have six sentences…

  • no more
  • no less
  • use the cue (lie)
  • any genre
  • hop around
  • enjoy yourself

 

Kitsune – chained tanka – September 29, 2015

Picture

Kitsune by Yoshitaka Amano

 

Kitsune and the Thief

in the darkest night
Kitsune walks disguised
in her human form
a proud thief thought to steal
her virtue and her pride

the thief approaches
the lovely red-haired maiden
in seductive tones
he caresses Kitsune
she sweetly coos and purrs

he offers her his arm
“come to my home for warmth”
Kitsune smiles
she’s watched him for a while
as he hid his treasure troves

her shamisen sings
she lulls him with her song
then served him sake
and caressed him in her arms
until he was quite seduced

then she laughed at him
as he groped in drunken glee
his dream soon to end
Kitsune resumed her form
and stole his treasures away

the lesson is clear
you never know my friend
who you’ll meet at night
a lonely pretty lady
or Kitsune in disguise.

© G.s.k. ‘15

I love Kitsune … as I write her of course and I’ve written several stories and poems with Kitsune as my main character … so how could I resist today when Carpe Diem Haiku Kai features  Carpe Diem #829 Vulpecula (Fox).

 I also enjoy Neil Gaiman’s work .. and his :”The Sandman: Dream Hunters” is my favourite illustrated novella about Kitsune and illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano.

The Sunshower – Japanese Fairy Tale – July 19, 2015

Silver raindrops fell in the sunny sky creating a magical world of light and rainbows.

“Ah – a sunshower! Today is the day that Kitsune marries. We should go to the woods and see if we can see the wedding procession!” whispered Tampopo giggling.

“Don’t be silly Tampopo … since when does a fox get married?” Replied Momoko who was older than Tampopo and didn’t believe in fairy tales anymore.

“Everyone knows that when the rain falls on a sunny day the foxes have their wedding procession … then they all go to Kitsune’s house at the end of the rainbow to celebrate.” Tampopo replied seriously.

“Well, we can go to the willow and invite them for tea then.  I do like the idea of taking a walk in this sunshiny rain … let’s go!”

The two girls in their bright sundresses grabbed an umbrella each and took off for the nearby woods.  Momoko who was the more conscientious of the two, scribbled a note leaving it on the table for their mother; it read “Gone to Kitsune’s wedding!”

The trees seemed to whisper as the gentle rain fell among the leaves.  Tiny crystals of rain caught the sunshine on the flowers, looking for all the world like tiny diamonds.

The little girls found their favourite copse where they’d often played together that summer.  A willow tree created the perfect protection for their alcove in the woods.  Over the summer, they’d brought their china tea set, a small table and pillows to sit on and often pretended to invite the wood kami, or some beautiful princess to have tea with them.  Today, they intended to invite Kitsune and her wedding party.

“Kitsune will surely be very beautiful dressed in a white kimono.  And her own true love will be dressed in red!”

“Oh can you imagine the music they will make … I can almost hear the shakuhachi, cymbals and drums!” said Momoko.

“Me too!”

And indeed, drifting through the woods there did seem to be the sound of a lilting flute followed by the crash of drums and cymbals.   The sound came nearer and nearer and the little girls looked at one another a little worried.  It was one thing to imagine a fox’s wedding procession, but quite another to actually be where one would pass.  Everyone knew that the foxes didn’t like for humans to interfere in their affairs.

Soon the music was upon them, and the first members of the wedding procession appeared on the path near their alcove.  The girls made themselves as small as possible trying to hide behind an old oak near their copse, but they’d already been spotted.

“Who are you?  Why do you spy on our Lady Kitsune!” said the forerunner of the party.

The little girls fell on the ground in deep gassho, avoiding the eyes of the courtesan.

“Honourable sir, we were having a tea party under the willow and never meant to spy on Lady Kitsune!” said Momoko.  Technically speaking, Momoko didn’t really believe in wood spirits anymore and she’d never have imagined to actually see a fox’s wedding, so although they were there to spy on the foxes for her it was only make-believe.

“Oh, honourable sir,” said Tampopo, who did believe in wood spirits and could taste tea from an empty cup, “Would you and your party like to have some tea with us?”

Momoko trembled in fear and hoped the procession would soon pass on, but at that moment, Kitsune herself had reached the alcove and had heard Tampopo’s invitation.

“Ah – what a most generous offer!” said Kitsune “My consort and I will have tea with you and then, you will come to our house at the end of the rainbow and sip sakè with us to celebrate this happy day!”

They sipped invisible tea, complimenting Tampopo for the perfection of her serving manner.

“Would you like to live in my house Tampopo? I could do with a person like you who knows how to serve tea so exquisitely.”

Before Tampopo could reply, Momoko said: “Oh honourable Kitsune, my sister is expected to serve tea today for our mother and we really should be running home.” She was afraid that Tampopo would accept Kitune’s invitation.

“The duty to one’s mother of course must come first!” said Kitsune “Let’s proceed to my house then so that I may honour you with a cup of sakè before you return home.

So the two girls followed the procession until they reached a small house.  A servant had prepared a table in the garden, which was full of peonies and other bright flowers, including a plum-tree and a beautiful jasmine bush.

In the breeze the flowers swayed.  The raindrops that had fallen on their petals looked like tear drops. Momoko had a very bad feeling about tasting Kitsune’s sakè. The cups were set before the girls.  At that moment, the rain stopped.  Momoko pretending to be clumsy fell into her sister jerking the sakè cup from her hand and dropped her own.  A single dark cloud appeared in the sky, obliterating the rainbow and with it Kitsune’s house.  Only the garden remained.  Where the sakè had fallen, two little girls now stood.

“I am Umeko and this is my sister Riko. It is so lucky for us that your sakè fell on us as the rain stopped and the rainbow disappeared!  We’ve been in this garden, captives of the foxes since the day of her Kitsune’s mother’s wedding now more than twenty years ago!”

Momoko imagined that the garden would have had the addition of a peach tree and dandelions if they had drunk the sakè.  Momoko and Tampopo grabbed the hands of their new sisters thinking it would be better to be far away when the rainbow returned … deciding to avoid the wooded paths when sushowers fell in the future.

(Meaning of the names – Momoko – peach blossom child, Tampopo – dandelion, Umeko – plum blossom child and Riko – Jasmine child)

 

Kitsune and the Water Fall – Fairy Tale Choka – February 20, 2015

From Oku no Hosomichi

Urami no Taki (The Waterfall Seen From Behind)

Behind the waterfall,
Kitsune bathed each morning
singing witching songs
in clear bright lilting tones.
When young men passed,
If their hearts were impure,
they’d languish with love.

Urami no Taki
offered Kitsune its waters,
her sweet forms hidden
in the white curtain of water.
There passed one day
a handsome Buddhist monk
who ignored her songs.

Kitsune surprised
spied the young Buddhist monk
so fine was his body
his eyes like bright clear stars.
She sang to him then
in her most seductive voice
he ignored her song.

Love swelled in her heart
for he was lovely to see!
She saw that his heart
was as pure as bright new snow,
she called out to him
and he stopped and he smiled
yet without desire.

She sent her image
inside of his pure soul,
she wished to own him
to make him her true lover,
but his heart was full
she could not plant her seed
he sang his own song.

“Oh Fox, Namaste!
I see your bushy red tail
though you seem a maid.
I walk the Pure Earth’s path
compassion’s my song
and I love you sweet and true
but I love the way more!”

So she shaved her head
for the love of the pure monk,
renounced her tricks
her magic and her strange songs
and was known as Inari.

© G.s.k. ‘15

This choka was written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Fairy Tale Prompt and it has absolutely nothing to do with Inari Okami or the real stories about Kitsune .. these are just flights of my imagination.

How The Ostrich Lost his Wings – Fable – August 9, 2014

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How The Ostrich Lost His Wings

Once upon a time in a far away land lived Ostrich.  He was a curious fellow, a big powerful bird who loved to play tricks on others – dive-bombing them, pooping on them and being an all together nuisance.

Kitsune had been the brunt of a few of his tricks and was fuming in her den not far from Owl’s tree.  Owl also had had to cope with Ostrich.

“Whooo … Kitsune, what’s bothering you today?” said the Owl

“That fat oversized chicken has to be stopped!”  shouted Kitsune.  “He’s a menace to all who live in these woods.  Today I was walking down the lane minding my own business, when down he swooped and pooped on me!”

“Oh my, it must have been awful to be covered in offal!” Said the Owl.  “Last week, I was chasing a mouse when the louse dropped some nuts on my head … I’m surprised I’m not dead!”

They exchanged tales and confabulated and raged then finally decided to go and consult with the wise old Man of the Mountain.

After listening to their tale, he meditated for a while.

“This is not the first time I’ve heard these stories about Ostrich.  I think it’s time that he learns a lesson he’ll never forget.” said the wise old Man of the Mountain.  And he told them what to do.

Kitsune and Owl went to Ostrich’s house right away, holding a gift wrapped pouch of herbs the Man in the Mountain had given them for him.

“Hello Ostrich … I’ve brought you a peace-offering and thought we might have a cup of tea together.” Said Kitsune when she saw him basking in the sun, his great wings sprawled open the gather all the warmth he could get at that early hour of the morning.

Owl intoned: “What lovely shiny wings you’ve got dear Ostrich.  So many beautiful shades of blue and white … so suitable for flight!”

Ostrich knew that they were both pretty angry with him and so was on the defensive … “Hey listen guys, I know you’re mad at me, but I was just having a little fun the other day. No offense meant.”

“And no offense taken!” both Owl and Kitsune replied.

So Kitsune put on a pot of water and began to prepare some tea … Owl did a little dance to entertain Ostrich (or so Ostrich thought, but it was part of the enchantment they’d been given by the Man of the Mountain).

Once the tea was ready, Ostrich drank avidly, not noticing that neither Owl of Kitsune drank a drop of theirs.

He instantly fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

Kitsune pulled out of the pouch Ostrich had accepted and opened a pair of golden scissors and clipped the brilliant blue feathers off of Ostrich’s wings, leaving only soft stubby white feathers.

When he woke up he stretched and yawned and thought he’d go play some more tricks on Kitsune and Owl since they’d been such good sports, when to his horror he discovered that his wings were now just stubby white little things, quite useless for flight!

He whined and he howled at the perfidy of the two and soon grew into a faint-hearted bird who would run away at the first sound of danger, whether real or not hiding his head in the sand (so people say) so as not to see what was going on around him.

That my lovely lad is why even today, Ostrich’s children all have short stubby white wings, can’t fly and hide their head in the sand (or so people say) when danger is at hand.

The moral of the story is this … you can be as big and powerful as you like but if you are cruel to others, they’ll eventually find a way to clip your wings.  Off to bed now!

Written for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie

 

 

Kitsune – July 26, 2014 – Kyoka

Kitsune – Kyoka

sweet swaying creature
tempting and sexy walked by,
seducing the farmer!
KItsune winked at him, then
ran off with his laying hens ..

.A kyoka is to a tanka hat a senryu is to a haiku … a poem wich can be humorous and ironic about “mundane” subjects, often with erotic undertones.  Kitsune is a Japanese kami … a fox who can take human form.  She’s, for Kitsune is a female, is known to be very tricky and sometimes pretty cruel.

I wrote this for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie – Heeding Haiku with HA

Kitsune and the Strawberry Wine – Fairy Tale: May 17, 2014

Minou was sad as she sat by the river under the old willow tree.  She’d hoped to have something special to give to her beloved for his birthday, but could find nothing worthy of him.

A beautiful young woman came passing by with a bottle in her hand.  She stopped and looked at Minou and said:

“What troubles you, my lady, that you sigh here under the willow branches?”

“My own true love will come of age tomorrow and I’ve nothing to give him for his birthday.” Minou replied and sighed again.

“Maybe I can help you.  I just came from my Grandmother’s home and I have this bottle of strawberry wine.  I’ve tasted it in the past and it’s delicious.  I will give it to you if you will invite me to your wedding the day you marry. But remember the wine is for him, you mustn’t drink even a drop or you’ll die!”

So Minou without thinking twice took the bottle of strawberry wine from her new friend, whose name was Kitsune by the way, took it home, wrapped it and the next morning offered it to her love when they met near the river.

“Oh, what a wonderful idea Minou!” He said, “I will open it this evening and we will drink it together!”

“No Michael … this is only for you.  It’s a special wine given to me by my friend and she says no one else should drink even a drop of it, just you!”

“Ah, that’s silly … I want you to taste it with me or I won’t accept the gift at all!”

They nearly had an argument and to calm the waters Minou said she’d promised not to drink the wine but he could pour her a thimble full and they would toast with it on their wedding night.  She herself was actually curious about the taste of the wine since she loved strawberries, but a promise is a promise.

That evening, Michael’s family threw him a big party and his wedding was announced at the culmination of the festivities.  Their wedding date was set for the 21st of June, they thought it would be nice to celebrate the first day of summer in one another’s arms.

Finally the day came.  Minou was being dressed in her wedding gown when Kitsune appeared in her room.

“My dear Minou, you forgot to send me my invitation!” Kitsune said in a petulant voice.

“Oh no dear friend … you forgot to give me your address!  But here is your invitation.  In fact if you wish you may sit in the first row with the royal family to watch the ceremony.”

Kitsune had to admit that she’d neglected to give Minou her address and was very pleased to be seated with the royal family.

Once they were married they all went to the party field to celebrate both summer’s coming and the new couple.  There was dancing and merriment.  They cut the cake and then Michael brought out the bottle of strawberry wine.

He poured a glass of wine for himself and a thimble full of wine for Minou. Which he left on the table.

“May our love last through-out eternity and may no one ever come between us.”  They twined arms and he drank. Instantly, he backed away from her and said:

“Who are you?  Where is my true love?” he said.

Kitsune stepped up, “Here I am my love, I’ve been waiting for this moment!  You’ve finally drunk my summer wine! Now you are mine!” and she began to laugh.

Minou was surprised that her friend should have betrayed her in such a way but she was very quick, so she went to the table and drank her thimble of wine saying:

“Ah I die, but all will know you for the little traitor you are!”

Lightening flashed across the clear blue sky and dark clouds formed.  Suddenly, Kitsune as transformed into a fox.

Michael looked at them both feeling rather confused.  He no longer knew what to think but the spell had somehow been broken.

At that moment an old woman walked up to the table.

“Ah…so that’s where my bottle of wine got to!” she said.  “It was a good thing for you my young man that you’d poured some for your new wife.  If she’d just drunk the wine, she would have died, because the wine was given to you.  But you offered it to her, so my dear niece’s plan was foiled and your bride is safe.”  she picked up the fox and disappeared and with them the memory of what had happened vanished as well as the bottle of strawberry wine on the table.


Inspired by Anja from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Fairy Tale Prompt #8

 

 

 

The Silver Fox – May 1, 2014 (Free Verse)

From the Speakeasy Prompt

From the Speakeasy Prompt

Kitsune walked alone hunting in the woods
Kami, in her foxy silver fur, she stood
Thinking about something good to eat
She began her nightly beat.

She met a moonbeam rippling on the ground
Thought that would be her evening prey …
She crouched down low ready to bound …
Waiting to strike, just before the break of day.

It fluttered for a moment,
magnificent in its struggle,
then wilted and lay still.
Kitsune, jumped but it was too late.

The moonbeam gone she shook her head
Wondering if perhaps it was dead.
She set off again to stalk the night
Wondering about that silver light.


I’m terribly late this week…to make my entry for the Speakeasy.  So, I’ve jotted this idea, and may develope it sometime later.

 

 

The Ronin and Kitsune – Free Verse (NaPoWriMo – April 28, 2014)

wordle7In the midnight forest,
walked ronin Sashimi Shiro
Katana at hand he stalked
Looking for new victims to be slain…
The Kami were disturbed
By the goal that he had set …
To chop down piteously,
Anyone he met!
“Kitsune come to us,
For we have a mission for you!
Go into the forest
And trick that callous ronin now!”

Kitsune took the graceful form,
Of a stunning Geisha then,
And called out  for some assistance
From her mighty friend, Fūjin,
To interpret her loyal Yojimbo,
Thus disguised
They set upon thier journey.

There among some palms,
They finally met Sashimi Shiro …
Who jumped out of his hiding
Shouting words of folly and blood
Waving his katana high.
He stopped short of a sudden …
His soliloquy died in his throat!
He just could not go on …
Shouting his monotonous contention,
That death should be the penitence paid,
For walking in the forest.

” Konbanwa, Samurai Sama!”
Kitsune said and bowed,
“Why do you wish to kill me
As I journey through the forest?”

“I am a mighty samurai …
My Daimyo gave unto me this mission,
To slay all who pass by here
Until he sends word to me.”

“And who then is this callous master
Who has transformed you, thus?
You are a monstrous red letter
of death,
A bloody kanji of horror
The kigo of certain death?”

“Alas … my Daimyo rests
Upon the sacred winds
For these were his last orders
As his days of battle ended.
This in truth is my penitence
I pay for my disloyal service …
I was his Yojimbo,
I failed in my holy assignment …
I would have committed seppuku,
If he’d not given me this order!
And yet, I am so weary
Doing this macabre service
I would die most willingly
But cannot lose my honor now!”

Kitsune put her palms together…
her gasho was low with respect
As she said these words to him:
“Honorable Yojimbo,
Please listen to my words,
If you were to fall in battle,
Bushido would be honorably served…
I offer you then this chance
To free you from your pain…
Fight now in loyalty
With my faithful body-guard.”

The battle, furiously took place
In a clearing of the forest
Kami against ronin …
The contention could only end one way …
Sashimi Shiro was cut in half
A smile upon his face.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle Prompt

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