Heartbroken Snake

Kaidan Four: Heartbroken Snakes

In Japanese folklore there are tales told of people who turned into snakes after death because of their evil ways and their miserly habits. A male becomes a serpent because his desires are not satisfied in life. A female snake appears as an attractive woman who marries a human: if rejected by her lover, her jealously will cause disaster. Women are often associated with snakes because of tales told of them being fierce and possessive towards their lovers. Children born of the union of a snake with a human may either appear as a serpent or as a human with snake-like qualities. They appear in the dreams of their family and friends, asking them to pray for the release of their souls from their snake-like bodies. The relative either reads a Buddhist sutra or recites special prayers. Then the soul is saved and the snake-body is shed. Some people are reborn in the guise of snakes after death when they wish to avenge wrongful deeds. The avenger’s ghost in Japanese lore is usually considered heroic. Snakes were not always thought of as symbols of evil, but also of love with no bounds.

Long ago in Keicho era, there lived a beautiful girl in Senju in the province of Musashi. A bachelor called Yaichiro fell in love with her and sent her many missives of love to her; but she did not respond. Yaichiro died of sorrow, and the girl married someone else. On the morning after the wedding, the couple didn’t emerge from their room. When the bride’s mother entered, she found the bridegroom dead, and a snake crawling out of one of the bride’s eyes. The villagers believed that the snake was none other than the heartbroken Yaichiro.

if you have a ghoulish tale, stories from your local village or perhaps a personal experience to share, please do email it to me at xniquet@gmail.com and I hope i can published it in my blog and add to my Kaidan collection and i hope that i can gather enough before the next Hungry Ghost Festival.