Who or what do you think Schippeitaro is? This story features some Demon Cats and cat wailing FX and is a little more spooky than usual. And don't forget to try out our wonderful sponsor, Outschool https://outschool.com/storynory for fantastic online learning classes.
Hello, this is Jana,
And welcome to Storynory - which this week is brought to you by Outschool - Stay tuned for details.
I’m here with an adventurous tale from Japan. It features some Demon Cats and catty sound effects, so I would say that this story is slightly spookier than usual. And by the way, we’re recording this story on a very blustery day, so you might hear some real life windy sound effects!
There is also a mysterious character called Schippeitaro. Who or what do you think Schippeitaro is? Listen on to find out.
Long, long ago, in the days of fairies, giants, ogres, and dragons, a brave young warrior set out into the wide world in search of adventures.
For some time he went on, without meeting anything out of the ordinary. Then one evening, when he was weary and tired, he found himself on the side of a lonely and wild mountain.
There was no sign of human life, not a village, not a cottage, not so much as a hut. Dark was coming on, and he wandered around trying to find the way back down. But the more he wandered, the more he became lost - because every direction looked the same in the dim light of evening. At last, as he stumbled on, he came across the ruins of a temple. At least these deserted, half-tumbled down walls gave him shelter. He set his good sword down on the ground by his side, wrapped himself in his cloak, and closed his eyes.
Towards midnight, he was awakened by a noise. At first, he thought it must be a dream, but the noise continued, with shrieks and yells. The young warrior took a hold of his sword and rose to his feet. Cautiously, he spied through a hole in the wall. Then he saw something strange and awful in the pale moonlight. A troupe of hideous cats were dancing and singing. Their wild shrieks sounded like human words. It seemed that they were hissing:
Keep it close
Keep it dark
Do not tell our secret to Schippeitaro.
Then all at once, the phantom cats disappeared, and all was quiet again, apart from the distant tooting of an owl.
At first light, the warrior hurried on his way. It was a bright clear morning, and he soon found a path which he began to follow. Much to his relief, the path became clearer and clearer, until at last, a village came into sight. His thoughts turned to how he would buy a good breakfast from one of the villagers. But as he approached the cottages, he heard crying and wailing. He instantly forgot his hunger, and pressed on to find the people who were crying, and ask if he could help them in their distress. He soon found a group of women who told him as follows:
“Every year, the Cat Demon of the mountain demands a victim. The girls of the village draw lots, and one of us must become his sacrifice. This is the cause of our sorrow.”
“What a terrible story!” exclaimed the young man. “How is this awful custom carried out?”
And they explained that in the evening, they would take the poor girl out to the ruined temple on the mountain, and leave her there, locked in a cage. By morning, she would have vanished.
When he heard this, the young warrior realised that the ruined temple was the very place where he had spent the night and seen the dancing cats. He recalled the terrible sights, their awful shrieks, and their strange words: “Do not tell our secret to Schippeitaro.”
“Well then, perhaps you can tell me,” he said, “Who or what is Schippeitaro.”
“Schippeitaro” came the reply, “is a dog. He belongs to the Lord who lives in the biggest house of our village.”
The warrior thanked the women for this information and hurried to the largest house, where he met the Lord of the Village and told his peculiar tale.
“So my Lord,” he said, “I humbly beg you this favour. Lend me your fine and beautiful dog for the night. I promise that I will return him in the morning.”
And although the Lord of the Village loved and valued his dog, Schippeitaro, he was convinced that the young man was in earnest. And so he lent him his dog.
Towards evening, the young warrior led Schippeitaro up the path to the spot on the mountainside where he had spent a lonely and cold night. They hid behind some rocks until they saw the village elders escorting a poor girl who was to be the victim of the Cat Demon. The villagers were also carrying a large trunk. When they arrived at the temple, they made the girl step into the trunk, and then they hurried away, leaving her to her fate.
As soon as the villagers were out of sight, the young warrior jumped up and released the girl from the trunk. How surprised and grateful she was to be rescued!
Next, he commanded Schippeitaro to jump into the trunk. He then closed the lid and went to hide himself and the girl.
They had to wait until near midnight to see what happened next. First, they heard a hideous wailing and singing. Then at last they saw a band of cats, this time led by a giant Cat Demon. The cats sprang around the shrine, dancing and singing until the Cat Demon threw open the box with his claw. He was expecting to find his victim inside, as in years gone by, but how wrong he was. Schippeitaro jumped out and grabbed him with his teeth. In a flash, the young warrior joined in the fight, slashing at the cats with his sword. The battle was soon over, the Cat Demon lay dead, and his followers had scattered in all directions.
As soon as it was daylight, the warrior, the young girl and Schipiteitaro, returned to the village and announced that the Demon Cat Person would trouble them no more. The village that had been so sad and troubled the day before, was now filled with celebration and song. No one was happier or more grateful than the girl’s parents. But the warrior did not linger. He was eager for new adventures. And so having returned Schippeitaro to his master, he went on his way.
And that was the story of Schippeitaro - who of course turned out to be a dog.
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