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   Chapter 6 YUKI-ONNA

The Romance of the Milky Way, and Other Studies & Stories By Lafcadio Hearn Characters: 1465

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

The Snow-Woman, or Snow-Spectre, assumes various forms; but in most of the old folk-tales she appears as a beautiful phantom, whose embrace is death. (A very curious story about her can be found in my "Kwaidan.")


Yosō kushi mo

Atsu kōri;

Sasu-kōgai ya

Kōri naruran.

[As for the Snow-Woman,-even her best comb, if I mistake not, is made of thick ice; and her hair-pin36, too, is probably made of ice.]

Honrai wa

Kū naru mono ka,


Yoku-yoku mireba

Ichi-butsu mo nashi!

[Was she, then, a delusion from the very first, that Snow-Woman,-a thing that vanishes into empty space? When I look carefully all about me, not one trace of her is to be seen!]


Kiété yuku é


Shirayuki37 no

Onna to mishi mo

Yanagi nari-keri!

[Having vanished at daybreak (that Snow-Woman), none could say whither she had gone. But what had seemed to be a snow-white woman became indeed a willow-tree!]


Mité wa yasathiku,

Matsu wo ori

Nama-daké hishigu

Chikara ari-keri!

[Though the Snow-Woman appears to sight slender and gentle, yet, to snap the pine-trees asunder and to crush the live bamboos, she must have had strength.]

Samukésa ni

Zotto38 wa surédo


Yuki oré no naki

Yanagi-goshi ka mo!

[Though the Snow-Woman makes one shiver by her coldness,-ah, the willowy grace of her form cannot be broken by the snow (i.e. charms us in spite of the cold).]

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