This ancient Japanese tale, like many mythological stories, explains a natural occurrence with a fantastic but tragic story. It tells the story of a girl who lived with her parents by Lake Biwa in the Hira mountains. She was very important to the spirits, or kami (beings beyond our comprehension, literally “superior ones”), that dwelled there.
One evening, the girl was rowing on the lake and noticed the lighthouse keeper on the shore. As the light faded, he shone his lamp on her boat to help guide her home. The following night, the girl left her house to visit the lighthouse keeper, an unexpected visit that resulted in them falling in love. All summer the girl visited him at night, making sure to return home before dawn so her parents would never know.
|Lake Biwa (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
The lighthouse keeper started to worry about what might happen if they were discovered. He became paranoid that the girl was really a demon trying to get him into trouble. To test his theory, he decided to turn the lighthouse lamp off the next evening – a demon would still be able to find its way, even in the dark.
As the girl set out to visit him, she wondered why the light was off. Unperturbed, she kept rowing, thinking that the lighthouse keeper would soon relight it and she would find her way to him. When he didn't, she was stuck rowing in circles, becoming more and more confused and angry. Completely exhausted, she jumped out of the boat and drowned in the water.
The kami were beside themselves with anger at the lighthouse keeper, and brought forth a hurricane to punish him. Realising what he had done, he prayed to the kami for mercy, but it was too late. The hurricane destroyed the lighthouse and the keeper also drowned in the lake. And that is why, each August, hurricanes (or typhoons) come to the Lake Biwa area.
This is a bit longer than my other A to Z posts, but I hope you agree with me that it was worth it for this great story!