Mountain Witch of Awa

Yokoi Kijun, Ashuu Kiji Zatsuwa (1936)

In the southern mountains of Awa, there had once been sightings of a mountain witch. This was when the witch was no doubt still young.

One night, a lumberjack was boiling tea in his cabin when the witch arrived. She had undoubtedly changed form, but she appeared to the man in the form of a beautiful young woman, with white skin, long black hair, and she stood before him stark naked. He smiled and led her inside to the fire.

“Would you like some tea?” he asked. His desire for the beautiful woman outweighed his fear, so he poured her some tea and she calmly drank it while they spoke.

When dawn came, it was time for the witch to leave, but she left with some parting words for the man. “I’ll come see you again soon for some more tea.” She appeared to be holding something back, but then left.

In the mountains to the north, a hunter waited deep in the mountains for a boar to pass by the trail. As night fell he gathered dry wood for a fire, and a woman appeared. She approached the fire.

“Please let me sit by your fire,” she said. “I wish to blacken my teeth.”

“Go ahead,” the hunter replied, looking her over. She was a beautiful woman with white skin and long, black hair. The woman painted her teeth black, and then spoke again.

“If you are chased by a deer here, would you kill it for me?”

“No problem,” he replied, and soon a deer came running. He killed the deer, and the woman tore the deer apart, biting into its raw flesh.

The hunter trembled. ‘She’ll probably come for me next,’ he thought, and while the woman was eating the deer, he loaded his gun with another bullet and lit the fuse. When the woman was almost done eating the deer, she turned to approach the man.

“Well, I have one more favour to ask of you.”

But the man fired, and the woman escaped, as though disappearing into thin air. The hunter grew so afraid that he left the mountain at once.

This is how terrifying mountain witches truly are.

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