Central character from one of the oldest surviving Japanese texts ‘The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.’ When a lowly bamboo cutter named Taketori no Okina or
Sanuki Nomiya Tsukomaro
discovered a shoot of bamboo that contained a baby girl, he took it home with him to his wife and raised the girl as his own.
Everyday afterwards, every shoot of bamboo the cutter cut was filled with gold and he quickly became rich. The girl also grew quickly and in three months she was already fully grown. With their newfound riches, the family built a beautiful home and spoke to a name giver who told them their daughter should be called Kaguya. In honor of this, they held a festival where everyone saw the newly christened Kaguya’s divine appearance.
Soon after the family were visited by five princes who wished for her hand in marriage but her father would not let them in. For a year they pleaded and waited until he relented and told Kaguya to choose one of them to marry. She devised a test, in that the most devoted to her was the one who she would choose.
She told the first prince to bring her the stone bowl of the Buddha, the second to bring her a jeweled branch from the mythical island of Hōrai, the third to bring her the robe of the fire rat from China, the fourth to bring her a jewel from the neck of a dragon and the last to bring her a cowry shell that had been birthed by swallows.
The first prince took his servants and hid for three years before producing a old stone bowl to Kaguya. But Kaguya was not deceived as the stone bowl of Buddha was said to be glowing with light, leading the first prince to fail.
The second prince crafted a gold and silver flowered branch that almost convinced Kaguya, but he was found out when the people he had tasked to create the branch came to Kaguya, angry that he had not paid them. The third prince’s servant brought back a jeweled robe from China that was presented to Kaguya who tested the robe by placing it in a fire. When it burned up, she knew it was a fake as the fire rat’s robe could never be burned.
The fourth prince never returned from his journey and the last prince either died or was severely hurt whilst climbing to a nest. Then the emperor himself came for her but she rebuffed him too. Eventually, Kaguya became sullen and looked upon the moon for nights on end without eating, eventually revealing her secret to her worried father.
Kaguya was in actuality, an alien from the moon who was sent to Earth to protect her during a civil war or as a punishment for some crime. The gold the old man had found was to pay for her upkeep and her true parents were coming to take her home. The emperor upon hearing this, vowed to protect her but the power of the moon’s people was took much for the guards he had posted at her house.
There, a tearful Kaguya drank the elixir of life and gave a letter to her earthly parents. A second letter was sent to the emperor with the elixir attached to it. The girl then placed a feathered robe upon her shoulders, which made her lose all compassion towards humans and went back to the capital of the moon with her true family.
The elixir that the emperor had been given was ordered to be burned atop Mount Fuji, where it still burns to this day.
05 of 05 - Modern Compendium: Prime - Prime Aether
Ladies and gentlemen, the very last member of the Prime family, Aether! Representing the pure and boundless sky, Aether as an element has a long and storied history in both science and mythology, leading to a winding, often confusing history. See, the name Aether actually comes from a Greek god, the son of Nyx and Erebus – if this were a Persona game, Aether would be ten thousand times more horrifying, but that’s neither here nor there – but as usual the shift from Greek to Roman mythology muddies the waters pretty seriously. Sometimes Aether is the son of Uranus, sometimes Aether is Uranus’s father, other times he’s related to an entirely different subset of gods.
Personally, I have to wonder if all of this mythological confusion is related to the fact that Aether apparently had no cult established. Without a priesthood to say what was canon and what was not, anybody with an interest could throw in their two cents as to Aether’s history and origin.
But in terms of elementals, the Greeks identified Aether as the element of the “upper sky,” the pure air that the gods breathe which is totally unlike the plebian air we mortals get. In the late 19th century, Aether was adopted as a scientific term to describe a medium through which light could be transmitted, a sort of special air unique to outer space. Though quickly disproved – turns out light doesn’t require a medium to travel through – the term “aether” was generally adopted as a suitably futuristic word that could describe just about anything you’d like in a sci-fi setting.
Today, Aether is rarely seen as an actual god, the elemental idea of aether having long since overpowered the humanized, godlike aspect. Still, we haven’t totally forgotten Aether the god, so this elemental ends up being the most humanoid of this abstract group. And, of course, being associated with outer space and general superiority lands it right at the top of the Prime family.
For more info on this and every other demon in the Modern Compendium, have a look at our extensive Data File, right over (here).