Fox Pranks

My friend who took Japanese Literature last semester contributed this story, since one of the chapters was all about Japanese folktales. She admits this story fits her impression on most of the fox stories they read on class – the foxes love pulling pranks on people – for pleasure or for their own good, but with no intention of hurting anyone. 


A yin-yang master moved in to a haunted house. He began his move in an unusual way by taking only a straw matt with him. He dismissed all the servants and asked them to bring the carriage back the next day.  The house was old and huge, and the interior was all warped and torn. The yin-yang master cleaned up a corner and set up the matt to lay down. He soon fell asleep, but was awaken in the middle of the night by a sound of rustling from the ceiling. There are faces everywhere, but when he calmed himself and look again, they all disappeared.

Next, a closet door opened and a tiny lady came out, with dark hair covering all over her body, and a red fan hidding most of her face. Her forehead was white and the eyes were beautiful, though the way she looks at the yin-yang master was sinister. The yin-yang master thought she would have a beautiful face, but as she moved the fan aside, her nose was bright red, and a pair of long fangs stuck out from the corners of her mouth! The yin-yang master was a little bit shocked but she crawled back into the closet.

It was nearly dawn now, but the yin-yang master was still lying there, alert and untroubled. An old man came from the garden outside, knelt in front of him and bowed. He told the yin-yang master with respect that, what he encountered was a little pranks held by the youngster in the fox tribe to demonstrated their fury at someone invading their home. The yin-yang master answered that this house is meant for human and it is only normal that people buy and use this property. The old man apologized and asked for advice, so the yin-yang master told him that he can lead his tribe to move to this vacant lot in such such place. The old man agreed and left. From then on, nothing supernatural ever happened again in that house.


In this particular tale, fox is represented as mischievous and magical, which is fairly common theme in many of the fox tales, but there are other entries of fox tales I got from both this friend and others served for comparisons. Since fox is often sly and hard to catch, mischievous and evil are the tags people often associate it with.