A friend of mine, who’s an international exchange student from Japan now currently studying in China, contributes this story. She says she could not remember where she heard of this story, but this story left her a deep impression because protecting animals from abuse is always her thing. We interviewed in Chinese so the following is only rough translation of what she shared.
A retainer was heading home one day at night when he saw a fox. He chased it down and shot at it with an arrow and hit it in the back leg. The fox screamed in pain and rolled into the brush. As the retainer went to retrieve the arrow the fox appear in front of him, but when he tried to shot it again, the fox disappeared in the air. The retainer then continued heading home. When he’s almost there, he saw the fox running ahead with a flaming branch in its mouth. As the fox got to his house, it transformed into a human and set the retainer’s house on fire, and changed back into a fox right after and got away. The house burned down.
In this particular tale, fox is is a powerful creature, but there are other entries of fox tales I got from both this friend and others served for comparisons. This tale also serves to teach people a moral lesson that never disturb the animals let alone to abuse them, and that what you did others would eventually come back and bite you.