The Fox And The Tiger No I
Category: TALES ACCOUNTING FOR THE ORIGIN OF PHENOMENA.
Source: Aino Folktales
Said the tiger to the fox: "Let us run a race from the top of the world
to the bottom of the world, and he who wins it shall be lord of the
world!" The fox agreed, and off the tiger bounded, but without noticing
that the fox had caught hold of his tail so as to get pulled along by
him. Just as the tiger was about to reach the other end, he suddenly
whisked round, in order to jeer at the fox, whom he believed to be far
behind. But this motion exactly threw the fox safely on to the far end,
so that he was able to call out to the astonished tiger: "Here I am.
What are you so long about?"
For this reason there are no tigers in Aino-land.
Said the tiger to the fox: "You are said to be the craftiest of all
creatures. Let us now enter into rivalry, and see which of us can roar
the loudest; for to him shall belong the chieftainship of the world."
The fox consented, and the two stood up alongside of each other. But as
it was for the tiger to roar first, he remained standing up, and did not
notice how the fox scraped a hole with his paws to hide his head in, so
that his ears might not be stunned by the tiger's roaring.
Well, the tiger roared a roar which he thought must be heard from the
top of the world to the bottom of the world, and must certainly stun the
fox. But the fox, as soon as he knew the tiger's roar to be at an end,
jumped up out of the hole where he had been hiding his ears, and said:
"Why! I hardly heard you. You can surely roar louder than that. You had
better try again."
The tiger was very angry at this; for he had expected that the fox would
be stunned to death. However he resolved to make another still more
tremendous effort. He did so, while the fox again hid his head in the
hole; and the tiger burst his inside in the attempt.
For this reason there are no tigers in Aino-land. For this reason, also,
foxes are crafty and eloquent even at the present day.--(Written down
from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 27th November, 1886.)
The Punishment of Curiosity
In very ancient days, when the world had just been made, everything was
still unsettled and dangerous. The crust of the earth was thin, and all
was burning beneath. For this reason the people did not dare to venture
outside of their huts even to obtain food: for they would have scorched
their feet. So they were fed by the god Okikurumi, who used to fish for
them, and then send round his wife Turesh with what he had caught. But
he commanded the people to ask no questions, and never to attempt to
look at Turesh's face. But one day an Aino in one of the huts was not
content with being fed for nothing, and disobeyed Okikurumi's commands.
He wished to see who the woman was that came round every day with food.
So he waited till her hand was stretched in at the window, seized hold
of it, and pulled her in by main force. She screamed and struggled; and,
when she was inside the hut, she turned into a wriggling, writhing
dragon. The sky darkened, the thunder crashed, the dragon vanished, and
the hut was consumed by lightning. Okikurumi was very angry at what the
man had done. So he left off feeding the people, and went away, none,
knew whither. That is why the Ainos have been poor and miserable ever
since that time.--(Written down from memory. Told by Kuteashguru, July,
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