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

The Story of Susa, the Impetuous

And Susa, full of wonder, drew near and asked the old man, “Who art thou?”

And the old man answered, “I am an earthly deity of the mountains. This is my wife, who weeps with me by the water-side, and the child is my youngest daughter.”

And Susa inquired of him again, “What is the cause of your weeping and lamentation?”

And he answered, “Know, sir, that I am an earthly deity of renown, and I was the father of eight fair daughters. But a horror broods over the land, for every year at this time it is ravaged by a monster, the eight-forked serpent of Koshi, that delights in the flesh of young virgins. In seven years have my seven sweet children been devoured. And now the time of my youngest-born is at hand. Therefore do we weep, O Thine Augustness.”

Then said Susa, the Impetuous, “What is the likeness of this monster?”

And the deities of the mountain made answer: “His eyes are fiery and red as the akakagachi (that is, the winter cherry). He has but one body, with eight heads and eight scaly tails. Moreover, on his body grows moss, together with the fir and the cryptomeria of the forest. In his going he covers eight valleys and eight hills, and upon his under side he is red and gory.”

Then the Lord Susa, the Impetuous, cried, “My lord, give me thy daughter.”

And the earthly deity, seeing his strength and great beauty and the brightness of his countenance, knew that he was a god, and answered, “With all reverence do I offer her unto thee. Howbeit, I know not thine august name.”

And Susa said, “I am Susa, the Sea God, the exile of High Heaven.”

And the mountain deity and also his fair wife spoke, saying, “So be it, Thine Augustness, take the young maid.”

And immediately Susa flung away the veil and saw the face of his bride, pale as the moon in winter. And he touched her on the forehead, and said, “Fair and beloved, fair and beloved....”

And the maid flushed faintly to stand thus barefaced. Howbeit, she had little need, for the tears that stood in my lord Susa’s eyes were veil enough for her modesty.

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