Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Mujina

Oct.-Dec. 1996

Long, long ago there was a lonely slope in the city of Edo.  People stayed away from the slope at night, because a Mujina lived there.
   This is a story about the Mujina.  One night at a late hour, and old man was hurring up the slope.  Then he saw a woman under a tree.  She was sitting alone, and crying, "Why is she crying here at this late hour?"  he wondered.  "She looks like a young girl."  He went up to her and said, "What's the matter?  Why are you crying?"  But the girl did not answer.  She was covering her face with one of her long sleeves.  "This is not a place for a young girl at night!  Don't cry, please!"  Slowly she stood up, but she was still covering her face.  He put his left hand on her shoulder, and said again, "Please, don't cry!"  Then the young girl turned around, and dropped her sleeve.
    Look!  He was surprised.  She had no eyes, or nose, or mouth.  He cried out and ran away.  He ran and ran up the slope.  And at last he saw a light far away.  The light was from a soba, or Japanese noodle, stand.  The old man ran up to the stand, and the feet of the soba man.  "Did anyone hurt you?"  "Oh, no!"  said the old man.  "I saw a woman; her face had no eyes, no nose and no mouth."  "Well, was her face like this?" asked the soba man.  He stroked his face.  Then his face became like an egg.  And, at the same time, the light went out.

   -Keiko Shimizu

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