27-32 The Woman Who Worked in a Mysterious House


Once upon a time, there was a man named Toyokiyo, a civil servant (Minbu Taifu) responsible for handling the census and other civil matters. Having been dismissed from his position at the Kamo Shrine, he moved to his villa in Kohata (in Uji City).

Kamigamo Shrine (Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrine),Kyoto

A woman named Mikawa no Omoto had been serving Toyokiyo as a maid for a long time. When her master was dismissed and moved to Kohata, she stayed at her parents’ home in Kyoto instead of commuting to work. One day, a male servant from Toyokiyo’s household came as a messenger and conveyed the following message:

“An urgent task has arisen, so come at once. We moved out of the house in Kohata yesterday due to certain circumstances and are now living in a rented house in a place called Yamashiro. Come quickly.”

The woman, holding her five-year-old child, hurriedly set out.

Upon arrival, Toyokiyo’s wife treated the woman kindly, offering her food and hospitality, more so than usual. The woman found herself busy with tasks such as dyeing and washing, and before she knew it, four or five days had passed.

One day, the wife said, “We left only one garden guard behind at the house in Kohata. There is something I need to convey to him, so could you go and call him?”

The woman agreed, left her child in the care of a colleague, and set off.

When she arrived in Kohata and entered the house, she thought it would be quite lonely with no one there. However, the house was full of people, including colleagues who had been working with her at the other house. Surprised, she went inside and found her master, Toyokiyo. As she stood there in disbelief, he said,

“Oh, if it isn’t Mikawa no Omoto. How rare! Why haven’t you been coming to work?  Your master has been reinstated to his position. I sent someone to inform you, but the people next door said, ‘She is going to her master’s place and won’t be back for two or three days.’ Where have you been?”

The woman, feeling both strange and scared, nervously recounted everything that had happened. Her master and the others in the household were greatly frightened. Some laughed.

Worried that her child might have been killed, the woman pleaded, “Please help me.” The household members decided to go to the place together. Where the house was supposed to be, there was only a vast field with tall grass growing thickly. There was no sign of any people.

With a heavy heart, the woman searched for her child and found him crying in the thicket of reeds and pampas grass. The mother rejoiced and hugged her child tightly.

When they returned to Kohata, she told her master what had happened. “It must be a made-up story,” he said, not believing her. Her colleagues also discussed among themselves, saying, “It must be a lie.” However, could a mother abandon her own child in the depths of a field?

It was believed that this was likely the work of a fox or something similar. Many people said that the child was not lost because of this. The story of this strange event has been passed down.

Siro Inuzuka

This text was created by using ChatGPT-4o to translate a modern Japanese translation into English, and then making some modifications. There may be errors in the English expressions. Please correct any mistakes.

Yuji Nakayama / Siro Inuzuka

The strange phenomena described here offer no apparent benefit. There is no explanation as to why such things would occur. This was a mystery even at the time, and it was concluded to be “the work of foxes.” Foxes were feared as creatures that deceived people.

It is the things that are beyond our understanding that are truly terrifying.

Shinichi Kusano


巻二十七第三十二話 謎の家に勤めた女の話
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