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Main > Japanese folktales > Fairy tale "The Story of Susa, the Impetuous"

The Story of Susa, the Impetuous

When Izanagi, the Lord who Invites, turned his back upon the unclean place, and bade farewell to Yomi, the World of the Dead, whither he had journeyed upon a quest, he beheld once more the Land of Fresh Rice Ears, and was glad. And he rested by the side of a clear river that he might perform purification.

And Izanagi-no-Mikoto bathed in the upper reach. But he said, “The water of the upper reach is too rapid.” Then he bathed in the lower reach; but he said, “The water of the lower reach is too sluggish.” So he went down for the third time and bathed in the middle reach of the river. And as the water dropped from his beautiful countenance there were created three sublime deities—Ama Terassu, the Glory of High Heaven; Tsuki-Yomi-no-Kami, the Moon-Night-Possessor; and Susa, the Impetuous, the Lord of the Sea.

Then Izanagi-no-Mikoto rejoiced, saying, “Behold the three august children that are mine, who shall also be illustrious for ever.” And, taking the great string of jewels from his neck, he bestowed it upon Ama Terassu, the Glorious, and said to her, “Do Thine Augustness rule the Plain of High Heaven, shining in thy beauty by day.” So she took the august jewels and hid them in the storehouse of the gods.

And the Lord of Invitation commanded Tsuki-Yomi-no-Kami, saying, “Do Thine Augustness rule the Dominion of the Night.” Now this was a youth of a fair and pleasant countenance.

And to the youngest of the deities, his Augustness the Lord Izanagi gave the Sea Plain.

So Ama Terassu ruled the day, and Tsuki-Yomi-no-Kami softly ruled the night. But Susa, the Impetuous, flung himself upon the ground and violently wept, for he said, “Ah, miserable, to dwell for ever upon the confines of the cold sea!” So he ceased not in his weeping, and took the moisture of the valley for his tears, so that the green places were withered and the rivers and streams were dried up. And evil deities increased and flourished, and as they swarmed upon the earth their noise was as the noise of flies in the fifth moon; and far and wide there arose portents of woe.

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