Daitengu – A to Z Blogging Challenge

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Kobayakawa Takakage, 1892

“No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.”

Dammit, that was the best answer he was going to get. The way had been long, and treacherous. As all ways were. If a path is easy, is the journey the same? Is the answer? Now he was thinking in riddles – that damned daitengu. How long had he been perched high on his mountain top, staring into himself and into the soul of the universe?

As though sensing his thoughts the golden-robed monster cast his placid eyes downward.

“Sitting peacefully doing nothing – Spring comes. And the grass grows all by itself.”

Ichiro hid his contempt well enough – what use was the gift of prophecy if you could only speak in tongues? His father had warned him. To speak to the daitengu was to invoke madness – he turned on his heel and stepped back into the forest. He heard the washed out voice whisper behind him.

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.”

What did that mean?

That to talk to the daitengu was to invite madness.

My fourth day of the A to Z Challenge, the letter ‘D.’ D is for daitengu, a species of monster native to Japan. They were converted to Buddhism by travelling monks – and although wise, the daitengu can also be ferocious protectors of their forests. I’m on holiday in Japan at the moment (hooray!) and seeing as I also grew up there I think a few of these monsters will be Japanese (there are so many good ones!) Additional words, again from the ancients, this time from Lao Tzu and Ts’ai Ken T’an. Comments and criticism always welcome! 

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15 thoughts on “Daitengu – A to Z Blogging Challenge

  1. mel says:

    I love this! A philosopher monster…only the Japanese! 🙂 And I’m so glad I meet another short story person through the A-Z Challenge.

  2. Joe Owens says:

    I have not seen much writing with a Japanese character. I also am glad to find another short story writer. We are the brave ones!

  3. chontali says:

    lol this “daitengu” reminds me of some church “prophets” I know! Vagueness and gibberish

  4. bronbloxham says:

    Loved this little snippet… very zen! Definitely very Japanese but in a good way. Hope you’re enjoying your holiday 🙂

    • They are quotes from Zen masters, I don’t think I could come up with those sorts of statements that say both nothing and everything at once. Holiday’s going great, thanks!

  5. Margo Kelly says:

    Nicely done! I enjoyed it! 🙂 I’m stopping by from the A to Z Challenge.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Interesting. I’ve never heard of the daitngu before today, so your story is both entertaining and educational. I’m also doing short stories for the A to Z Challenge.

    Jennifer at A Creative Exercise

  7. Very well written. I love the pictures your adding with each post.
    A to Z buddy
    Peanut Butter and Whine

    • Thanks Connie, the images I use are all from Wikipedia – under a creative commons license. Basically it means that (most) are from more than 70 years ago…but still brilliant! Thanks for stopping by.

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