Saturday, August 27, 2005

I Was A Fan Of Jackanory..

Heard this one before?

Japanese people have this superstition about bad spirits and keeping them out the house. Spirits over there don't haunt one single house, they're too jumpy, but if given the chance will stay a short time causing bad luck for the family. Beacuse of this, all Japanese houses have wooden storm shutters fitted as well as windows. At night they're closed to make sure no bad spirits get into the house while everybody's sleeping.

There're an old wives tale that says if all the doors and windows of the house are opened then closed, when you go to shut the last door you will feel the spirits darting past you, afraid of being locked up in the house for good.

Now, in Northern Japan lived a girl named Yuko. One day she decided to test out the story about the spirits and the house. On a saturday afternoon she went around opening all the doors and windows, waited a couple of hours to let the spirits find their way inside, then quickly ran through the house shutting everything up again. She ran around to the front and was about to push the last door closed... when something suddenly grasped her by the leg. She froze there, with her hand on the front door. Looking down, there was the half torso of an old man spralled at her feet, one of it's hands wound tightly around her ankle.

It's eyes staried up at her, and it's mouth opened and closed, making desperate gasps for air.

"Grghaaance, grghaaance!". It said, looking up at Yuko like it was imploring of her.

Yuko panicked, she screamed out loud, let go of the door and ran away blindly as fast as she could.

Later in the day she came back to the house, her mother was already home and had come back from shopping to hind the house empty and the front door wide open. Yuko couldn't bring herself to explain what had happened so she apologized and quickly ran up to her room.

That evening at dinner there was news of the family. Yuko's great uncle, a man of eighty two who lived far across Japan, was dying and not expected to last the night.

Yuko realised, it must have been his spirit she saw that afternoon. She tried to remember what had happened, what the old man had been trying to tell her.

"Grghaaance, grghaaance!". It sounded like "Dance, dance!". As a small girl Yuko had taken ballet lessons. She had vague memories of family get-togethers with eveyone crowded into a small room while she performed, her great uncle playing the piano.

That night, while Yuko lay half asleep inside her futon she felt something grab her left ankle, and heard that rasping voice again, the voice of an old man desperate and fraught.

"Grghaaance, grghaaange!"

This time Yuko didn't panic, she managed to stay somewhat calm speak to the man.

"Uncle, I can't dance for you. I stopped taking lessons a long time ago."

But the hold on Yuko's ankle didn't slacken, nor did the voice stop repeating it's request. Instead, the old man started dragging himself across the tatami floor, closer to Yuko's face.

"Grhaaance, grghaaange!"

Too scared to get up and run for help, Yuko was frozen in place.

It was then she heard it, what the old man was trying to say. It had been difficult to make out but now she could hear it almost clearly, he was saying "Change, change".

The old man wasn't asking her to dance for him, he was asking her to change with him, to take his place in the next world.

Yuko lay still out of fear as the voice came closer and closer "Chaange, chaange!"

I was a fan of jackanory to get a woman to sleep with me!

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