Rikumo Tales: Little White Hairs

 On Kawara,  Paris-New York   Drawing no. 144,'    1964

On Kawara, Paris-New York Drawing no. 144,' 1964

Every month we share one story with you that has been shared many times before.In this short tale about the superstitious minister Fujiwara Sanesuke, we identify the exact time and place when we begin to fear old age.

One day when the sage minister Sanesuke was still only a counselor, he dozed off in his carriage on the way out of the palace. Hovering between dream and waking, he noticed a little man all in white catching up to him fast. On reaching the carriage the little man lifted the rear blind. Sanesuke was indignant. "What do you want?" he growled. "I don't like you. Go away!"

"I'm from the king of hell," the little man answered. "My name is Little White Hairs." He jumped into the carriage, hopped onto Sanesuke's head, and disappeared. 

Back at home Sanesuke looked in the mirror and saw his first white hair. He had never been much interested in religion before, but after that he began to think about the life to come. 
 

ADAPTED FROM ROYALL TYLER'S JAPANESE FOLKTALES