Chicken Mound

By Nakagawa Enryou (18??-18??)

This is a ghost story passed down in the household of one Oshima Usuke. A man was raising chickens, but for two or three nights in a row, they cried out in the early hours of the morning. Greatly annoyed by their noise, he drowned them in the Izaki Sea. His children saw this and tried to save them afterwards, but the chickens were dead. They placed them near the back gate of a nearby coastal temple and returned home.

That night, the chief priest of the temple had a dream. A person in yellow clothes wearing a red crown waddled over to him and said, “I was raised in the Oshima household. I learnt that the cat was planning to do something terrible to the master, so I called out in the early hours to warn him, but perhaps unlikely, I was drowned. What a fool I was. By the way, tomorrow is the mourning period for the Oshima household, so I think they will summon you. As such, I’d like to ask a favour of you. Please alert them to the cat’s plans, and please tell them to be careful.”

As expected, the next morning the Oshima household called for the priest. He went right away, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. When he was done reading the sutras, the family brought out their small dining table and everyone sat around it. A red cat came running and jumped into the lap of the master’s daughter.

“I think we should first examine this food carefully,” the chief priest said. They looked and found a small green frog in the soup. They fed it to the family dog, who died instantly. The priest then told the family about the dream he had, and they killed the cat.

Because the chicken was so loyal to its master, it was buried inside the temple grounds. Even now you can still visit the chicken mound inside the temple.

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