Now she must revive the mysterious power | Ahora tiene que revivir su poder misterioso

There was once a woman who had an iron tail. And more than this, she was also an eater of men. When a stranger came to visit her, she would wait until her guest had fallen asleep, and then she would jump up in the air, and fall down upon the sleeping one, who was thus pierced through by her tail.

Once there came a man to her house. And he lay down to sleep. And when she thought he had fallen asleep, she jumped up, and coming over the place where he lay, dropped down upon him. But the man was not asleep at all, and he moved aside so that she fell down on a stone and broke her tail.

The man fled out to his kayak. And she ran after.

When she reached him, she cried:

“Oh, if I could only thrust my knife into him.”

And as she cried, the man nearly upset—for even her words had power.

“Oh, if only I could send my harpoon through her,” cried the man in return. And so great was the power of his words that she fell down on the spot.

And then the man rowed away, and the woman never killed anyone after that, for her tail was broken.

Hubo una vez una mujer que tenía una cola de hierro. Además, comía hombres. Cuando un extraño iba a visitarla, esperaba hasta que su huésped se hubiera quedado dormido. Entonces, daba un salto y caía sobre el durmiente, a quien atravesaba con su cola.

Una vez, un hombre fue a su casa y se acostó a dormir. Cuando la mujer creyó que estaba dormido, dió un salto y se precipitó sobre él. Pero el hombre no estaba dormido en absoluto. Se corrió a un lado y ella, al caer sobre la piedra, se rompió la cola.

El hombre se escapó en su kayak y ella lo persiguió. Cuando lo alcanzó, dió un grito:

“¡Si pudiera clavarle mi cuchillo!”

Asustó al hombre con su grito, porque incluso sus palabras eran poderosas.

“¡Si pudiera atravesarla con mi arpón!”, gritó a su vez el hombre. Y el poder de sus palabras era tan grande que la perseguidora se desplomó instantáneamente.

Y el hombre se fue remando, y la mujer nunca más pudo matar a nadie, porque tenía rota la cola.

Knud Rassmussen and W. Worster, Eskimo Folk Tales | Cuentos folklóricos eskimales

Sound: RL

Un guerrero es elegido | A warrior is chosen

Lo hemos capturado vivo. Como combatía tan bien le ofrecimos que nos sirviera: prefirió servir a su Príncipe en la muerte.

Le hemos cortado los tendones: él agitó los brazos para demostrar su valor. Le cortamos los brazos: él gritaba de devoción a Aquel.

Le abrimos la boca de una oreja a la otra: con los ojos hizo un signo de fidelidad constante.

No le arrancamos los ojos como hacemos con los vagabundos, pero, cortándole la cabeza con respeto, celebramos el koumys de los bravos y realizamos este brindis:

Cuando vuelvas a nacer, Tch’en Houo-chang, haznos el honor de renacer entre nosotros.

It is here that we took him alive. As he fought well, we offered him a favor: he preferred serving his Prince in death.

We cut his hamstrings: he shook his arms to demonstrate his zeal. We cut off his arms: he howled his devotion for Him.

We slit his mouth from one ear to the other: he signaled with his eyes that he still remained faithful.

Let’s not cut out his eyes like cowards; but sever his head with respect,

Let’s pour the kumis of the brave, and this libation:

When you are reborn, Tch’en Houo-chang, do us the honor of being reborn amongst us.

Victor Ségalen, Stèles

Eng. trans. Jeanine Herman

Sound: Alan Courtis


This is from a book called Eat Sleep Sit: My Year at Japan’s Most Rigorous Zen Temple, written by Kaoru Nonomura and translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter. Nonomura has been suffering through the first week of training at Eiheiji Monastery; he comments on the dressing codes at the place, and particularly on the use of “the mantle or kesa, which derives from an everyday sari-like garment of ancient India that was transformed into something sacred”. This is the story behind the mantle:

“During his stay in China, Dogen saw monks place their mantles on their heads and hold their palms together in reverence. He wrote that this holy sight filled him with such irrepresible joy that he wept until the collar of his robe was soaked with tears.

Concerning the material for the mantle, he specified that it should be made from pure materials, and decreed that the following ten types of discarded cloth are especially pure:

Cloth chewed by an ox.
Cloth gnawed by rats.
Cloth scorched by fire.
Cloth soiled with menstruation.
Cloth soiled by childbirth.
Cloth discarded at a shrine.
Cloth discarded at a graveyard.
Cloth discarded in petitions to the gods.
Cloth discarded by king’s ministers.
Cloth laid over the dead.

Monks would gather scraps of such discarded cloth and patch them together. Dogen expounded further on the meaning of such rags, known as funzoe (literally “excrement-sweeping cloth”);

When collecting discarded bits of cloth, some will be silk and some will be cotton. But once they are used to make a mantle, they are neither silk nor cotton but funzoe. Cloth that is funzoe is not silk, nor is cotton.

If a human being should become funzoe, that person would be no longer a living creature, but funzoe; and if a pine or a chrysanthemum should become funzoe, it would no longer be vegetation but would indeed be funzoe.

Only by grasping the principle that funzoe is neither silk nor cotton nor jewels can one understand funzoe and come face to face with it. Those who are not convinced that a mantle is silk or cotton cannot begin to understand funzoe. Even if someone wore a mantle of rough cloth all his life in a spirit of humility, as long as he was distracted by the material and appearance of the cloth, faithful transmission of Buddha’s teachings would never be possible.”