Red Sleeved Woman

By Tourai Sanna (1744-1810)

A man by the name of Mikura was staying at a hot spring in Tasuno, Shimotsuke Province. Each night, a woman of barely 20 with red short sleeves and a purple belt snuck into their room while he was asleep to sleep with the man he was lodging with. One night, however, Mikura caught a glimpse of her.

‘What an oddly beautiful woman for such a mountain village,’ he thought. ‘That’s strange.’ He attempted to follow her when she left, but when the woman was deep in the mountains, she suddenly disappeared. He returned to his lodging and asked his partner, “Who was that woman? What is your relationship with her?”

“We are sharing the same bed, yes, but I do not know where she comes from,” he answered.

Mikura told the man of what he had seen, and then said to him, “When she comes again tonight, prepare yourself.”

That night, the woman attempted to enter the man’s sleeping chambers as always, blissfully unaware. Mikura drew his katana and swung. The woman screamed and disappeared. He didn’t know what she was, but there was no denying that the woman was a goblin.

People gathered around and peered at the dreadful amount of blood in the torchlight. They followed the blood trail deep into the mountains, and inside a cave they found the woman dead. There was no change in the woman’s form, even as a corpse, but Mikura realised that what he thought to be red sleeves were actually red leaves.

The woman was a mountain witch, as he was later informed by an elderly priest.

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