View Full Version : The monster of the hill (japanese folk story)


Kyriakos
Jan 09, 2007, 06:27 PM
“I was thinking of the tale of the monster of the hill, which had made such a big impression on me in the middle, or the end, of elementary school. The monster of the hill was a Cyclops who had been forced to live away from the nearby village, in the wooded hill, so that it would not be coming to contact while remaining there with the villagers who feared him. Probably his voluntary exile there was enough so that in the village they would confine their interest in him to only a few popular stories in which furthermore perhaps with time it would have become possible that also doubts would be added for the possibility itself that there could be some foundation for them in the real incident, if it wasn’t for two villagers traveling at some time to the hill, and there being met by the monster.
This meeting had as a result the death of one of them, since due to his horror when he saw the monster he stepped back, but he stood next to the edge of a cliff and so now fell to the pointy rocks of the landscape below. The other villager, most probably still horrified not only by the sight of the monster- due to which in all probability he had shut his eyes so as to avoid looking, irregardless of how much he should have been also fearful that thus he remained even more open to attack, but also later one when the monster begun talking to him that with such a behavior he would only make it more willing to attack him- but also due to the demise of his fellow traveler, begun begging, in tears, not to be attacked.
The monster, as much as I can recall, tried to explain to him that it was not his will at all to harm them, and that it was not due to him that the other man died, an explanation which the other traveler seemed to accept only pretentiously, since he had foreseen that in this way he would manage to convince the monster to let him go, which was all that he was thinking of.
Truly, the monster allowed him that, but when the villager returned to the village he presented differently what had happened, claiming that the monster had attacked them, and rallied the villagers to form a group armed with pitchforks so that they could capture and kill that creature of the hill.
The story was coming to an end melancholically, since now the monster, already half-beaten by its own despair that the villager had tricked it- something which however perhaps it had expected, in its deepest thoughts- threw itself against the villagers, who succeeded in immobilizing it, perhaps with minimal casualties, and to slay it”.

This is a translation of a note in my diary, about a story i had watched in an old japanimation :) At the time it had made me feel very sad about what had happened to the creature on the hill. Also it made me think of the parallelism between the plot of that folk tale, and the arabic tale of the evil Jin, which i had mentioned some months ago in another thread, since both creatures are being depicted as evil, whereas both had been forced to live in isolation for very long periods, and we are not really told of their own side of the story, while they both meet their doom in the end as well.
It also made me think of the folk presentations of the complicated theme of "beauty" and "uglyness", where the focus is in clear contrast between two worlds, while peripheral concepts (ethics, fear, hatred) surround the stable, main ideas.
Contrary to more intricate writing, where all notions are broken up to molecules, in folk stories (or mythologies, their archetype) there are always very concrete such over-notions, which are presented as atoms, not as something to be broken up (atom, although not the smallest part of mass we now can divide, etymologically means just that).

-What were your views of the story of the monster of the hill?
-Do you know how that japanimation was called? (not very possible perhaps, but i would want to see it again :) )
-What is your view of folk stories and mythology?

http://www.canvasreplicas.com/images/Japanese%20Bridge%201900%20Claude%20Monet.jpg

Trajan12
Jan 09, 2007, 06:31 PM
I enjoy your threads, they are very insightful.:) I'll have to post later though, I want to make a good reply but I don't have all the time I want.

CivGeneral
Jan 09, 2007, 10:14 PM
-What were your views of the story of the monster of the hill?
Sounds almost losely simmilar to the Frankistine story at the end.


-Do you know how that japanimation was called? (not very possible perhaps, but i would want to see it again :) )
I dont know how the anime was called nor its name.


-What is your view of folk stories and mythology?
Interesting and that we all have our shares of culturaly linked folk stories and mythology. The Greeks and the Romans had theirs and we Americans have the Tall Tails like Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox.

Till
Jan 10, 2007, 07:05 AM
The story reminds me of an old Prince Valiant comic i read as a kid. A tall and ugly fellow was cast out of his village and shunned as monster. He was neither good nor bad, however, just different.

As for your questions:
-What were your views of the story of the monster of the hill?
I like the story, as it works without clear cut villains/heroes. No participant is truly good or evil. The monster is victim of its condition and the villagers victim of their fear. The surviving villager seemed overwhelmed by his fear and grief, which distorted his perspective of reality. Surely he thought he was doing the right thing in initiating the hunt for the monster.

-What is your view of folk stories and mythology?
I enjoy reading them, especially the classical Greek ones. Gods, monsters and heroes, all of which are ruled by all too human desires. :D

Stegyre
Jan 10, 2007, 01:23 PM
Off topic, but this reminds me of the story told by one of our professors at my law school graduation:

THE DRAGON IN THE CANYON

In ancient China was a kingdom that enjoyed great peace and prosperity. It had no foreign enemies coming to make war, no insurrections or rebellions. There was only one problem: the king was plagued by terrible nightmares, sent by a dragon who lived in a canyon on the far edge of the kingdom.

No one had ever seen the dragon, but all the loyal citizens trusted their king and the terrible stories he told the nightmares and torments.

Every year, the best and strongest of the young men would volunteer to take up arms and go to slay the dragon. One by one, each would set out for the canyon. None ever returned, and it was rumored that the canyon was littered with their bones, while the dragon had grown great on their flesh.

Finally, in his twentieth year, the king's own son came to his father and said, "Royal Father, let me take 100 of your best armsmen and go to the canyon to slay the dragon and put an end to your torments."

"My son," the king replied, "my 100 best armsmen are already in the canyon."

"But Royal Father, why have they then not slain the dragon?"

"My son, there is no dragon, only my armsmen, who slay all who come to the canyon seeking the dragon."

"Royal Father, why do you do this to your own people?" asked the confused prince.

"Because, my son, in every nation and kingdom, there will restless youth, discontent with the way things are and seeking change. If they are not given an outlet, they would eventually rise up in revolt. So I invented the dragon, and that is why we have such peace in this land."

The Moral: choose your dragons with care.

Kyriakos
Jan 18, 2007, 11:21 AM
I am also thinking that, like i mentioned in the OP, the folk story of the monster of the hill was for me in the elementary school years (in the middle of them to be more precise) linked very clearly to the story of the evil Jin, from the 1000&1 nights (arabic nights).
Whereas in the story of the evil Jin, the Jin is liberated (unwillingly) by a fisherman, who has fished its bottle in the sea and has opened it, in the story of the monster of the hill in a way (at least in my own imagination) one was seing a possible past of what had later on become the evil Jin.
The monster of the hill, contrary to the Jin, is already presented as being in a dire state, due to its one eye. Whereas the Jin has (for unknown reasons) been imprisoned in the bottle (obviously as the result of some untold clash of the past) the monster of the hill is still living such a clash. Moreover, whereas the monster of the hill is still trying to negotiate a kind of solution to the clash with the villagers (having already self-imposed exile to the hill as a step to that solution) the evil Jin appears to have had thought of different means of making up for what had happened.
Since firstly the evil Jin decides to give wealth and good fortune to everyone frees it, and secondly to give him only wealth, in the end it decides that it will on the contrary kill whoever frees it (the change of mood occured with the lapse of periods of 10.000 years, during which it still remained in captivity in the bottom of the sea) one can suspect that the Jin in this way was trying to negotiate with itself closure from its past. The fisherman, on his part, is not interested in listening how the Jin got trapped into the bottle in the first place, since he is too frightened by the threat that he will now die to pay for it, and later on (after he has tricked the Jin to enter the bottle once more, and upon that has closed the lid once again) he is too angry to care, so he just throws the bottle to the sea again.
Likewise the villagers in the story of the monster of the hill do not care about the monster's feelings. To them it is just an enemy, something frightening, and they easily accept the (false) claim of their fellow-villager that it had killed one of their own. With such a state of mind they cannot communicate with it, although it would seem that the monster was still trying to reach an understanding with them, already having sacrificed any possibility of living with them as an equal.

Kyriakos
Feb 17, 2009, 01:40 PM
:bump: I want to ask if anyone knows any similar myths i could look into :) I am working on something which may include them.

Supr49er
Feb 17, 2009, 01:56 PM
The movie Big Fish had an exiled Giant who lived in a cave outside town.

Kyriakos
Jun 10, 2011, 03:29 PM
Now that the thread is moved to the forum it belongs perhaps someone would know the answer as to which anime contained that story... Or maybe not, anyway worth a try.

Farsight
Jun 10, 2011, 04:08 PM
Off topic, but this reminds me of the story told by one of our professors at my law school graduation:

THE DRAGON IN THE CANYON

In ancient China was a kingdom that enjoyed great peace and prosperity. It had no foreign enemies coming to make war, no insurrections or rebellions. There was only one problem: the king was plagued by terrible nightmares, sent by a dragon who lived in a canyon on the far edge of the kingdom.

No one had ever seen the dragon, but all the loyal citizens trusted their king and the terrible stories he told the nightmares and torments.

Every year, the best and strongest of the young men would volunteer to take up arms and go to slay the dragon. One by one, each would set out for the canyon. None ever returned, and it was rumored that the canyon was littered with their bones, while the dragon had grown great on their flesh.

Finally, in his twentieth year, the king's own son came to his father and said, "Royal Father, let me take 100 of your best armsmen and go to the canyon to slay the dragon and put an end to your torments."

"My son," the king replied, "my 100 best armsmen are already in the canyon."

"But Royal Father, why have they then not slain the dragon?"

"My son, there is no dragon, only my armsmen, who slay all who come to the canyon seeking the dragon."

"Royal Father, why do you do this to your own people?" asked the confused prince.

"Because, my son, in every nation and kingdom, there will restless youth, discontent with the way things are and seeking change. If they are not given an outlet, they would eventually rise up in revolt. So I invented the dragon, and that is why we have such peace in this land."

The Moral: choose your dragons with care.

So what happens to people who suspect the fact that the dragon was invented? Are they hauled away for some good old-fashioned Laogai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laogai)?

Kyriakos
Jun 12, 2011, 09:32 AM
I think that Stegyre is no longer around :)

So, to no one does the story of the monster of the hill ring a bell? I would love to know what it was so i can watch it again ;)

holy king
Jun 12, 2011, 11:03 AM
you should probably ask that question on an anime forum.