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The Man Who Was Changed Into A Fox

Category: MORAL TALES.

Source: Aino Folktales

A certain man's conduct was as follows: he went to every place, making
it his business to do nothing but tell lies and extort things from
people. Then, after a time, when wanting to extort again, he went on to
another place. While walking along he used to think of what lies he
could tell. Afterwards he heard a voice. It was not human language. He
walked saying--"Pau! pau!"[C] When he looked at his own body, it was a
fox's. Then he thought that, whether he might return to his own village,
or go to another place, the dogs would kill him. So, with tears, he went
away from the road into the mountains. There he found a large, leafy
oak-tree. He lay down crying beneath it.

Then he fell asleep. He dreamt that there was a large house. He was
outside of that house. A divine woman came out of it, and spoke thus:
"Oh! what a bad man! what a villain! You have become a bad god, a devil,
as a divine punishment for your misdeeds. Being thus made into a devil,
why do you come and stand near my house? I should like to leave you
alone. But as I am this tree, which is made the chief of trees by
heaven, and as it would defile me to have you die beside my house, I
will turn you into a man again and send you home. Do not misbehave
yourself henceforth!" Thus spoke the divine woman.

Such was his dream. Meanwhile the branches at the top of the tree broke,
and came crashing down, and he was greatly frightened. But when he
started up, he was a man again. Then he worshipped the tree. Then he
returned home. Then afterwards he did not misbehave. So also must you
not misbehave, you men who live now!--(Translated literally. Told by
Penri, 19th July, 1886.)

[C] An onomatopoeia for the bark of the fox.

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