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Japanese fairy tales    Tales of Kitsune    Kami

Prince Jaschima and the Fox

A young prince of a royal family named Jaschima went out and into the temple of the kami Inari to perform his devotions when a young fox came running into the chapel and sought to hide itself among his robes. Although foxes are held in high favor by Inari Prince Jaschima was still very surprised by the incident. So he did his best to calm the poor animal and let it know that he wanted to protect it. The fox seemed to understand him and looked at him gratefully.
It soon became clear what the fox was afraid of for two high-ranking officials came and asked him if they had seen a fox. He realized that they must be hunting for a fox to get a part of it which a doctor needed to cure a sick family member, for the parts of foxes are important for the production of many medicines. Jaschima was not willing to betray the fox and replied that he hadn’t seen the animal. The two hunters figured the fox could not have gone far and so didn’t believe him. So they taunted and begged him to give them the fox. Soon their taunts turned into a serious quarrel and Jaschima had to draw his sword to defend himself. But the just at this moment his father came in and joined his son in battle. The fight had a very bloody outcome for the hunters struck Jaschima father down before the Prince struck them each down in turn and thus met the requirements of revenge.
He was sadden by the loss of his beloved father and grieved for him deeply, the grief gnawing painfully in his chest.
The temple turned into beautiful groves and he saw a beautiful girl standing before him, cajoling him and comforted him after he told her of his loss. He soon realized that she was just, good, and wise so he asked her to be with him. She agreed instantly and went with him to his house where the wedding was celebrated and the two newly weds lived together in the highest happiness.
After some time she bore him a son whom they named Seimei, but when this happened the young woman was sad. Finally she told Jaschima that she could no longer stay with him for the time which the Kami Inari had given to her to comfort him for the loss of his father had now expired. She was the same fox which he had saved in the temple, the fox for who’s sake he’d lost his father. So Inari had allowed his servant to marry him and comfort him.
The fox turned back into her animal form and left the prince, both deeply saddened. The son remained with his father, however, and was loved and cared for. In later years the son grew wise and maintained much of the divine nature of his mother.