The Moon on Lunation Day 22 - Oct 23, 2016 by Joseph Brimacombe Via Flickr: Taken from Coral Towers Observatory using a SKYnyx 2-2 Mono camera and 16-cm Astrophysics Apochromatic Refractor on a Software Bisque PME I Robotic Mount.
Average seeing conditions.
Long ago, in a village buried in the mountains of the Land of Fire, there was a strange yet tragic story about two lovers who could meet only during springtime.
In the Whispering Forest, that was the name the villagers had given to the mysterious place, they swore that during nights, if you got near it, murmurs could be heard, and that they probably came from a Cherry Tree near the Goshinboku hidden in the deepest part of the brushwood.
The spirit sealed in the tree seemed to weep all year spring aside, and the lament itself was enough to move people to madness, hence the peculiar name.
Many woodcutters tried to seek and cut down the tree to protect the villagers from the evil spirits they thought lived within, but no one had ever come back alive from that mystic place, to the extent it was deemed cursed ever since, and entering had been forbidden.
They say that tree was protected by a strange spirit who keep guarding it, scaring all those who try to get near it and condemning them to wander till the end of their days: no one has never seen it with their own eyes and the only evidence of its existence lies in spoken legends and rumors.
This is a story that talks about a young girl who got lost in the wood, and the spirit who saved her, and that’s how this strange legend shall begin.
The Scarecrow and the Cherry Tree
It was a cold day of March, the one in which she got lost.
‘Tired of her wandering, a small child with unusual pink hair crouched down on the roots of a magnificent cherry blossom tree, and started crying helplessly.
She cried and she cried, the acute voice piercing through the silent evening, to the point that even the loud cicadas stopped chanting, moved and saddened by her misfortune.
A crowd of spirits called by her laments neared her, looking her from afar. Glinting eyes shimmered in the ruby light of the sunset, between the foliage of the brushes and the trees, curious as why a human cub was so deep in their house.
One of those, whose face was covered by a wolf porcelain mask, approached her, crouching not too near yet not too far. The paintings on his canine face were red and black, circling his eyes and drawing an uprising smile on his muzzle. She, looked up, scared by his dark and abrupt voice, and meet his mismatched glance.
That was how the young girl and the ancient spirit met for the very first time.
He took her out of the forest before the sun gave in.
“Spirits get hungry when the sun set behind the mountains.” he simply stated with a calm, yet unrelenting voice, and with that, he admonished her not to come back again if she cared about her own life.
But he didn’t know how stubborn she was.
From that day, the young girl kept on visiting the sacred forest everyday to keep the spirit company and to bring him presents, thanking him for saving her life.
To protect her from danger, the spirit gave her a small bell to call him whenever she needed him, and from that day on, that happy and ringing sound echoed through the forest each time she passed by to meet him.
They became friends… and that’s the sad part of this story.
Seasons had changed many times, years had passed slowly but thoroughly, and she, obediently, visited him every day for many many years.
The girl who once was just a child had blossomed into a beautiful woman, and it was just a matter of time before their friendship flowered into something more.
He fell in love with her and he would have given anything just to touch her a single time, but that was impossible: he was a spirit and she was a human, and there was no way for him to overstep the boundaries God had forced on him.
He was a poor farmer who lost his life in the forest: his soul, trapped on the cold earth in a corpse not buried, started wandering and got lost so many years ago, unable to transcend. The mask, that was a present from the deity who welcomed him in the depth of the forest, served him to ward off evil spirits and to avoid them spiriting him away.
So strong was his pain for his inability to touch her beloved, that the Goshinboku was moved with compassion and decided to grant his wish for just one night.
“Your wish shall be granted.” he smiled fondly, pitying the young silver-haired soul “I’ll bound your soul into the mask, and give you a body of your own. But remember: if you lost your life, your soul will be dispersed.”
And this spell completed the tragedy.
The villagers, who were suspecting the girl of being an evil creature, followed her up into the forest and spotted her: and as they tried to slaughter the woman, frightened by her allegiances with spirits, the farmer took the fatal blade that was intended to her. Blood gushed through the wound, spatted on the sacred ground in front of the Goshinboku who helped him realizing is only wish.
And for the second time in his long and eternal lifetime, he died again, and this time forever.
So much was the grief, that the woman crouched on his lifeless body and started weeping so much that all the spirits gathered around them, enraged by the wheel of fate, grieved by that ungrateful ending.
And as the villagers tried to escape the spirits’ fury, the girl took her soul with the same blade that killed her beloved, and died to follow him to a place, however, she could not reach.
Sorrowed by the turn of events, the deity of the forest showed her compassion once again: wrapping the girl between his branches, the spirit tree transformed her in a beautiful Cherry Tree and the farmer in a robust Scarecrow.
From that day on, during springtime, the Cherry Tree could touch the Scarecrow with her petals, while the Scarecrow protected her from the wanderers who tried to damage his precious beloved.
And that’s where the story ends, a common tale spoke by many of how the wheel of fate spins and keeps spinning, thus bounding together two souls for eternity.