Yuki-onna Leading a Cow (べこを連れた雪女)

Just a weird story from Yamagata I found and thought I ought to share^^
Translated from:


As told by Shitsue Saito

Long ago their lived a little brat named Takichi that didn’t listen to his elders. Compared to other children his age, he was bigger and stronger, but he was an arrogant brat.

One year, just after New Year’s, it had become lesser New Year (1st month of the solilunar calendar, 15th day). The snow had been falling on the 14th and 13th. When it got close to lunch time on the 15th, it finally stopped and the weather became very good.

The children had been shut up in the house for two days and ran out shouting to no one in particular, “Let’s go sledding!”

In the blink of an eye, 7 or 8 children had found pieces of wood to use as sleds and gathered together. They took their sleds and left the village to go to the nearby mountain. It had been snowing for two days, so it was tough work for the children to walk in the deep snow.

At that time, Takichi was still in his house. He was thinking, “Idiots. They went out to go sledding. I guess I should go after them.”

His grandmother said, “Takichi, you can go sledding, but Yuki-onna will come out at night, so be sure to be back early.”

“You say such stupid things. Like Yuki-onna’s going to show up,” he replied.

The children who had gone ahead of Takichi worked hard to make a good sledding area. When it was ready, Takichi ran ahead to use it. “Out of my way, out of my way! I’m going first!” he shouted while pushing past the others. The smaller children knew they didn’t stand a chance, so they went and sled in another area. If they tried to line up, Takichi just cut in front of them. He felt very proud of himself. Eventually the other children left him alone and went sledding on a smaller hill. Everyone sled to their heart’s content.

Suddenly it was sunset. A small child said, “If we don’t go home soon we’ll get yelled at. And I’m scared of Yuki-onna.” The other children agreed and they all went home together, except for Takichi.

He said, “Idiots! It just got a little dark while we were sledding. I’m going to keep sledding.”

And he did.

But when the sun was halfway set behind the mountain, it suddenly became twilight and Takichi began to feel lonely. “Isn’t anyone around?” he wondered and looked, but there was no one, and he became lonelier.

At that time, he remembered the image of Yuki-onna from a story he had been told.
“Ick…I’m going to go home,” he thought, suddenly full of fear. He shouldered his sled and set out on the path towards home. At that moment, he saw something white moving like a slow wind towards him. When Takichi looked closely, he realized it was a white woman leading a white cow.

She held the white cow’s bridle with her right hand and in her left hand she held a pail. “Who are you?” asked Takichi, and moved to step forward, but his feet wouldn’t move. Takichi stood there, silently. The woman also stood silently looking closely at Takichi’s face. Takichi found this to be very creepy and as though someone had doused him in ice water, he suddenly felt he was freezing.

The woman watched him closely and then motioned her hand as if to say, “Come here, come here.”

“Who would go over to you? I won’t go. I won’t go.” Takichi thought. He shook his head and braced his legs. But suddenly his legs moved on their own and took him to the woman against his will.

The woman continued to stare at his face. She handed him the bridle of the cow. “Her hands are so cold,” he thought. After touching her hands, his entire body felt as though it was freezing. She placed the bucket down and walked as if she was smoke in the direction of the trees. She lifted snow off the branches and tossed it to the cow. It began to eat it as though it was bran. Chewing it and smacking its lips. Soon it was all gone.

Takichi couldn’t move, so he just stood there. While floating like smoke, the woman continued to stare at him. She got snow from another branch and fed it to the cow. Soon it too was all gone. After that, she took the pail, squatted under the cow’s belly, and began to milk the cow. Soon the pail was full.

Takichi stood their shaking and watching. The woman scooped out some milk with her hand and offered it to him. Up to this point she had looked like a demon, but now her face was somehow kinder. As if saying, “Drink, drink,” she held out her hand.

Takichi felt sick. “I can’t drink that! Who would drink that?” he thought, but was unable to speak. The woman brought her face close to his. “Gyaaa!”he thought.

She splashed his face with the milk. Takichi crouched to avoid it, but lost consciousness.

After many hours he awoke. He was lying face up in the freezing snow. All around him was a vast snowscape. He could see the stars twinkling through the clouds. “I have to go home. My parents must be worried,” he thought. But he couldn’t move his legs or his mouth. “What has happened to me?” he wondered. He began to cry.

In the distance he could hear people calling his name, “Takichi! Taaaakichi! Takichi!” He wanted to answer, “I’m here!” but he couldn’t speak or move. He had no way to tell them where he was.

All the neighbors and village people had turned out to look for him, so eventually they found him and took him home.

Shitsue Saito added this part:
And that’s why you should always listen to your elders. And you shouldn’t bully or be mean to your friends.

The end.

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