Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Onmyōza Hyakumonogatari Story XXIV "Wedge of Ice"

(Kōri no Kusabi begins at 16:27)

In a raging blizzard a man laid still[1], sure that he was a going to die. While on the way back to the village from the charcoal burning hut located in the mountains, he had seen the first snowfall of that year. In no time at all the snow had piled up and covered the whole area with white. The extraordinary amount of snow made the man realize that it had to be the doing of a snow woman. Around the region there were frightening legends of a snow woman that would lead astray passing men and then freeze them to death. The man had heard those legends when he was a child.

The roaring wind blew up the snow, and when the man was unable to keep his eyes open any longer, it became all quiet around him. Strangely, the snow had suddenly stopped falling, and he could no longer feel the piercing cold. The man nervously opened his eyes. He saw a woman with long black hair who was dressed in a snow-white kimono looking down at him.

"Are you the snow woman?"

Thinking that his life was over, with complete resignation, the man blurted out: "Why do you kill men? Do you hold some grudge against them? You are just going to kill me now, right? In that case, wouldn't you at least let me know before I die?"

The snow woman gazed sadly at the man and soon started talking sotto voce.
"In that case I shall tell you. Indeed I am the snow woman. As you can see, not even blood flows in my cold body, and I have spent hundreds of years hiding here. However, once there was a time when I fell in love with one of the men who come to this charcoal burning hut. Although I did fall in love, neither could we become man and wife nor even embrace each other, as my breath freezes everything and my body chills everyone who touches it. We could only gaze at each other from a distance, but nevertheless we understood each other."

"However, one day he said to me: 'I can no longer live without you. If we cannot be wedded, my heart's only desire is to be killed by you.' He then tightly embraced my body. That was his end. My loved one froze all the way to his heart and never opened his eyes again."

As the snow woman paused, the snowstorm started raging again. An even worse coldness attacked the man.

"You have been buried in the snow for quite some time. At this rate you will be done for. However, there is a way to save yourself."
The snow woman's words were drowned out by the howling blizzard and the man soon lost consciousness.

When he opened his eyes, he found himself inside his charcoal burning hut. He was lying in a properly laid futon and a mouth-watering pot of miso soup hung over the hearth. Under the pot the charcoal burned in crimson, warming the whole hut. The man sprung to his feet and rubbed his eyes in disbelief when he noticed a large puddle nestled close to the futon.

Could this be what had become of that snow woman? The man's family were the only ones who had been burning charcoal in that region, and they had been doing it for generations.

Had the snow woman saved a descendant of the man he loved and thus set herself free from her karma? The man had no way of knowing.

[1] Literally the word means: "without a wink of sleep".

陰陽座百物語 第廿肆話「氷の楔」








雪女の言葉は唸りを上げる吹雪に掻き消され 男の意識はやがた遠退ていった。


果たしてこれは雪女の変わり果てた姿なのであろうか?この辺りで代々炭焼きをやっているのは 男の家計只一つである。



  1. Thanks for all your translations,your job is simply amazing
    thank you very much!!

  2. Thanks for all your translations,your job is simply amazing
    thank you very much!!