|The Vampire Cat of Nabeshima|
The following tale that I found is dated back to 1910 from Tales of Old Japan.
|Beloved O Toyo|
Being eaten and kill
by the Monster Cat
There was a tradition in the Nabeshima family in ancient Japan that was many years ago, that the Prince of Hizen was said to be bewitched and cursed by a cat. This cat had been kept by one of his retainers back in the year 1568. The prince had a rare beauty, called O Toyo who lived in his palace and amongst all his ladies of the palace she was his most favourite. Of all the other ladies of his court, none could rival her charms, beauty and accomplishments. Of course when one is so special something is always going to happen in these tales. One day the Prince went into the Royal garden with his beloved O Toyo, and remained enjoying the fragrance of the beautiful flowers until sunset, then they returned to the palace, never noticing that they were being followed by a very large cat. Having parted with her Lord the Prince, O Toyo retired to her own room and went to bed. At midnight she awoke with a start, and became aware of a very huge cat that had crouched in her room and was watching her. So when she cried out, the huge beast sprang upon her and fixed its cruel teeth into her delicate throat, riping it and throttling her to death.
It was a savage way for the fair maiden to go, in such a brutal way and for the prince to find her only her parts of her dress and body parts. As you know how the legend goes the Cat eats the entire human. It was very hard for the prince to see his darling bitten to death and almost eaten halfway by a monster Cat. She was buried probably as an lady of the palace should, however that wasn't the end of this beast.
The Vampire Cat had scratched through the Maiden O Toyo grave that was under the verandah, once the Monster Cat got to the corpse of O Toyo [or what was left of her], he assumed her form and began to bewitching the Prince.
|The Vampire Cat of Nabeshima|
harassed and get into the princes dreams until morning like always. The next couple of nights as the councillors and his guards tried helplessly to help the prince, while the Imp Tyranny continued to torment the prince every night. This was night after night as his health continued to get worst and worst. Then finally three of the Prince trusted councillors were determined themselves to sit up on guard and see whether they could overcome this mysterious drowsiness; but they too didn' fare any better than all the guards as they fell asleep at 10 P.M too. Then three of his councillors held a solemn conclave and their chief , one Isahaya Buzen had said, 'This is a marvellous thing, that a guard of a hundred men should thus be overcome
by sleep. Of a surety, the spell that is upon my lord and upon his guard must be the work of witchcraft. Now, as all our efforts are of no avail, let us seek out Ruiten, the chief priest of the temple called Miyo In and beseech him to put up prayers for the recovery of my lord.'
|Vampire Cat of Nabeshima|
One night at the ninth hour midnight when the priest Ruiten had finished his religious exercises heard something outside in the garden. So he had a look down from the window and there in the moonlight was a handsome young soldier, washing himself, when he finished he stood before the figure of Buddha and prayed fervently of the recovery of our lord the Prince. New hope has come to the Palace the priest thought!
So the priest look down in admiration and called out to him....
"Sir I can't conceal my admiration for you, I am Ruiten, the chief priest of this temple and palace. I am engaging in pray for the recovery of my Lord. I pray what is your Name?
'My name, sir, is Itô Sôda, and I am serving in the infantry of Nabéshima. Since my lord has
been sick, my one desire has been to assist in nursing him; but, being only a simple soldier, I am not of sufficient rank to come into his presence, so I have no resource but to pray to the gods of the country and to Buddha that my lord may regain his health."
When Ruiten heard this, he shed tears in admiration of the fidelity of Itô Sôda, and said—
"Your purpose is, indeed, a good one; but what a strange sickness this is that my lord is afflicted with! Every night he suffers from horrible dreams; and the retainers who sit up with him are all seized with a mysterious sleep, so that not one can keep awake.
|Vampire Cat Of Nabeshima|
So the following evening the young man Soda returned to the temple where he meet Ruiten
and followed him to the palace where the prince laid ill. After a bit of converse with the councillors about he Prince's health he said that he would pray for his Lord into the night.
Since indeed his Lord the Prince illness is very severe and they were certain that he was the victim of some foul sorcery. He was also told about the problem of the sleepiness that comes at 10 p.m. evening and all guards can't seem to stop it or even catch a glimpse of the monster, they were all very thankful for Soda help and grace. Soda the Faithful soldier was permitted to sit with their lord and watch over him at night. After warming thanking the court, the next day the councillors held a meeting and set for Ito Soda and told him that he might keep watch with the other guards that very night too. So the whole group plus Soda in very high spirits went to prepare for nightfall, having made all his preparations , took his place among the hundred gentle men who were on duty in the prince's bed-room.
|Huge Monster Cats dancing|
they were all asleep with in a hour. Ito Soda all this while felt an irresistible desire to sleep creeping over him too, Ito Soda did tried all sorts of ways to rouse himself, awake but what every bewitching sleep was in the room was very strong and nothing was working. So he had to resort to extreme measure for his Lord, for which he had already made his preparations. So how he prepared the room was this; Ito Soda put drawing paper of oil paper which he had brought with him and then spread them all over the mats, after that he sat down upon them. He then pulled out a small knife which he had carried in the sheath of his dirk and stuck it into his own thigh. For awhile the pain of the wound kept him awake. however as the slumber bewitching became heavy in the room, he was assailed by this and became drowsy again. So he twisted the knife round and round in his thigh so that the pain became very violent and the drowsy flew out of his mind, and kept a faithful watch. The oil paper that he and spread under his legs was now covered in blood.
|Evil Vampire Cat|
"My name is Itô Sôda, and this is the first night that I have been on guard."
"A troublesome office, truly! Why, here are all the rest of the guard asleep. How is it that you alone are awake? You are a trusty watchman.""There is nothing to boast about. I'm asleep myself, fast and sound."
"What is that wound on your knee? It is all red with blood."
"Oh! I felt very sleepy; so I stuck my knife into my thigh, and the pain of it has kept me awake."
"What wondrous loyalty!" said the lady.
"Is it not the duty of a retainer to lay down his life for his master? Is such a scratch as this worth thinking about?"
Then the lady went up to the sleeping prince and said, "How fares it with my lord to-night?" But the Prince, worn out with sickness, made no reply. But Sôda was watching her eagerly, and guessed that it was O Toyo, and made up his mind that if she attempted to harass the Prince he would kill her on the spot. However, the monster cat, which was in the form of O Toyo who had been tormenting the Prince every night, was for the first time defeated by the watchfulness of Ito Soda; for whenever she drew near to the sick Prince thinking to put her spells upon him, she would turn and look behind her and there she saw Ito Soda glaring at her; so she had therefore no way to do her evil spells tonight so she left the Prince undisturbed. The next morning when the officers awoke and saw that Ito Soda had kept awake my stabbing himself in the thigh they were all greatly ashamed. Ito Soda went to the house of Isahaya Buzen and told him all that had occurred that night. The head priest of the councillors were so happy and ordered Ito Soda to keep watch every night in their Lord bedroom to see if they could catch the demon. So the next night at the same hour, the false OToyo came into the Prince bed-room once again, had a look around the whole room smiled sinisterly when she saw all the guards asleep, but when she saw Ito Soda still wide awake, you could tell she was beginning to get frustrated and irritated too. Then she returned to her own apartment. Since the Prince has been guarded by Ito Soda for the last 2-days his sickness began to get much better, and there was great joy in the palace. Soon after that Soda was promoted and rewarded with an estate. However, the Vampire Cat O Toyo, saw that her nightly visits bore no fruits and they were keeping her away. Also since Ito Soda the young soldier came to the palace to guard the Prince every night since, the night guards weren't subject to her spell of drowsiness. So after the 3 to 4 day of watching the prince it struck Ito Soda to be very odd, so he went to Isahaya Buzen and told him that in his opinion for certain that the girl O Toyo was no other than a demon.
Isahaya Buzen reflected for a while, and said—
'So, How do we kill the foul thing?'
So Isahaya Buzen and Ito Soda had a plan, to kill the creature, the first was to try to kill her in her own lair you could say. But with backup on the outside with guards outside so should she try to escape she couldn't. Ito Soda knew where the demon/O Toyo' s apartment was so they waited till nightfall. He would pretend to have a message from the Prince,when she saw him arrive at her place. So when he handed her the letter, Soda drew near to her and pulled out his knife and cut at her; however the demon, spring back seized a halberd and glaring fiercely at Soda. The Demon yelled at Soda '' How dare you behave like this to one of your lord's
ladies! I will have you dismissed and she tried to strike Ito Soda with the halberd, however Ito Soda fought desperately with his knife against the demon. Well the Demon Cat realized that she was no match for him and threw away the halberd and form a beautiful young woman, suddenly transformed into a horrible demon cat, which springing up the sides of the room, jumped onto the roof. Outside Isahaya Buzen and his men who were watching all, got a look finally of the true beast demon cat, but missed it as it made its escape into the mountains.
When the cat fled into the mountain he did even more mischief among the
surrounding folks that lived near the palace. That was until at last the Prince of Hizen
ordered a great hunt and the beast was finally killed. In the end of this tale the
Prince finally recovered from his sickness and Ito Soda was richly rewarded.
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The following tale is taken from Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford's Tales of Old Japan, dated 1910.