Saturday, October 13, 2012

Manekineko, Bakeneko and Nekomata

Once upon a time, there were 2 cats. You could say of course "there are always cats, and that everywhere, after all, it's a caturday!" But these cats were special ones. They weren't, but they looked almost like twins. Only their sizes was different, one tall, one rather small. But oh boy, they sure enjoyed their cat life!

And everyday they caught alot for their foods, keeping the houses of the little village clean of mice and rats. But as different as their sizes had been, as different were their personalities as well, or were they?!

The place they called their home, was the home of a nice old lady, and a beautiful one on top of that. In fact, sometimes she was called a geisha, and as much as she was away from home, as much she liked their two cats, though. 

Anyway, as their sizes were different, so was their age. The tall cat was so old and experienced by now, no one knew his age anymore, but his name he still knew, it was Bake. And he knew, it wouldn't take so long anymore, and he'd grow into a Nekomata, a very ancient cat, with special abilities. In fact, some of them started to arise already! The young one didn't had nor knew all this, but she was an agile and curious one named Maneki. Together, they made a great team!


Sadly, the story wasn't such a happy one. One day on their hunting trip, they discovered strange hissing noises coming from the latrine, they assumed it was a snake in there, but as their geisha wasn't arround, they didn't care. They went along their typical things, sleeping, grooming, hunting,....but by the time it was dawn, they started to be suspisious. Was it alright to just leave the snake like that? 

By that time, the geisha shortly arrived at home, after a long night with a lot to drink, she just wanted to use the latrine really fast before the sleeping for a few hours. The cats noticed, and wanted to warn her, after all, they cared for her!

 Now, Bake was so experienced, and had such a long and tough life already, he managed to catch and kill the snake! The woman  praised him later in the day for killing that one snake, and he was oh so proud!

What she didn't know, was that there was in fact a second snake. As curious and little as Maneki was, she played there at the toilet, trying to catch an imaginary snake. But by that time she noticed, there was a second one! 

The next time the geisha wanted to use the toilet,  the young one quickly ran into the toilet, trying to warn her, making her stop to go in there, even ifshe had to use her claws! The woman screamed and tried to shake her off. In the end, she didn't go to toilet, but she became so upset and angry, in her anger, she ordered the cat to be killed!

The older one saw this, and started to despise the geisha he used to love so much. How could she do that to his precious comrade? Bake decided to leave that woman, and being careful and suspicious of humans ever since. 

Now that both her cats were gone, the woman became very sad. But yes, maybe it was her own fault. Only later she found out there was another viscious snake hiding there in the toilet she was about to use, and her little Maneki tried to warn her with her scratching and winking! It was too late, but to redeem herself at least a little bit, she made a figurine of her little cat who saved her life, and put it on the front of her house. Everyone should know how this cat saved her life! And thus, the first Manekineko was born.

And what happened to her other cat, the old one? Well, Bakeneko travelled far, and during all these travels his tail slowly split in two, finally he was becoming a Nekomata! And because he was so careful with humans, and many more experiences made him despise them, he used all his abilities to play tricks on them, and give them a hard life. He wasn't particularly bad to them, but soon, the humans started to be afraid of him. And thus, the legend of the Bakenekos was born.


Sources:
Maneki neko (german)
Bakeneko
Nekomata

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