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myths

Japan's 'Killing Stone' split in two, possibly setting powerful evil vixen loose

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sesshoseki.jpgOn March 5 this year, a large stone in the volcanic mountains near the town of Nasu in Japan's Tochigi Prefecture was found to have succumbed to what seems like a normal case of freeze-thaw weathering and split in two. Even setting aside that this occurred over two months ago (though, to be fair, that's a blink in the lifespan of your average rock), such geological processes are hardly news even for mainstream sources, much less a furry news site. But this wasn't just any rock.

The rock in question was the Sessho-seki (or Killing Stone), the rumored earthly remains of Tamamo-no-Mae, the Jewel Maiden, a legendary nine-tailed fox said to have spread chaos throughout Eastern Asia for nearly 2000 years before finally being hunted down in Nasu. Though finally killed and transformed into the stone, you can't keep a good evil fox spirit down; so her final resting place was obviously haunted by it, poisoning anyone who came near. Though she'd apparently calmed down a bit after an encounter with a Buddhist priest, the stone suddenly breaking in two is a bit ominous.

Which version of Ratatoskr do you prefer?

Smite
70% (7 votes)
Marvel universe
30% (3 votes)
Votes: 10

The little squirrel from Norse mythology who had a big summer

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RatatoskrGirl SquirrelIn Norse mythology, the squirrel Ratatoskr (whose name is usually translated as "bore-tooth", and who is sometimes depicted with a unicorn like horn) is the messenger between the serpent at the base of the world tree Yggdrasil, and the eagle living at the top. Neither eagle nor serpent much like each other; Ratatoskr does not help matters, as it is known as a gossip who keeps the two rivals angry with each other. That's pretty much Ratatoskr's role in Norse mythology. The squirrel is a very, very minor character.

Despite its small stature (both literally and figuratively), Ratatoskr has managed to gain an important role in a Marvel comic and become a playable character in a popular video game. And the squirrel's two entrances happened one day apart.

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany

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Anthropomorphic fiction branches from a long tradition of mythic literature. When considering its roots, you may think of Aesop's Fables, or the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. (My pick for most interesting would be Andrew Lang, who "examined the origins of totemism.")

The discovery of 500 previously-lost fairy tales may add their collector, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810-1886), to the list.