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Ama-terasu and the Storm God
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Ama-terasu and the Storm God




That lady, the resplendent Sun Goddess, was born out of the left eye of the august Father creator, and her brother, the powerful Storm God, was born out of his nostrils. To her was given the Plain of High Heaven for dwelling with the Earth for dominion, and to him the Sea was given for dwelling and dominion.

But between Ama-terasu, the Sun Goddess, and Susa-no-wo, the Storm God, there was strife. The resplendent Goddess was beneficently careful of things that grew upon the earth; she strove against the evil spirits that were abroad on the earth, and she was especially careful of the temples that men built for their celebrations of the harvest rites. Her powerful brother had no care for these things. He would leave his own realm and go clamorously upon the earth. He would strip off branches and level trees, and tear out of the ground the crops that his beneficent sister had cared for. He would break down all that guarded men from the evil spirits that were abroad upon the earth. He would make turmoil in the temples and prevent the harvest rites from being celebrated. All the work whose beginnings on earth were helped by Ama-terasu, that shining and beneficent lady, were destroyed by Susa-no-wo, the bearded and impetuous Storm God.

Once he ascended into High Heaven. He came before the Heavenly River, the Yasu. The Goddess cried out, "You who would destroy all I have given growth to upon earth, have you come to darken and lay waste the Plain of High Heaven?" The Storm God declared that he had come to establish peace and trust between himself and his resplendent sister.

Then on the bank of the Heavenly River, the Yasu, the powerful Storm God and the resplendent Sun Goddess exchanged tokens of their trust in one another. To the Storm God the Sun Goddess gave her

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jewels; to the Sun Goddess the Storm God gave his sword. Then, from the spring whence rose the Heavenly River, the Yasu, Ama-terasu, the Sun Goddess, and Susa-no-wo, the Storm God, drank. They put into their mouths the tokens they had received from each other: from the sword that the Goddess put into hers was born a beautiful and courageous boy; from the jewels that the Storm God put into his, were born shining Gods of growth and power.

Thereafter the cocks, the long-singing birds of the Eternal Land, crowed everywhere upon the earth, prophesying the flourishing of all growing things and the checking of all the evil spirits that went abroad upon the earth. Men gathered full crops in and celebrated the harvest rites in temples that were blown upon no more. The beneficent lady, Ama-terasu, had her way upon earth, and the powerful God, Susa-no-wo, stayed in his own realm, the sea.

Out of the sea he went once more. He went clamorously upon the earth, destroying growing things, and breaking down the guards put up against the evil spirits that went abroad upon the earth. He threw down the temples and scattered the people who had come to celebrate the harvest rites. Then Ama-terasu would look no more upon the earth that her brother had wasted. She went within a cavern and would not come forth. Confusion came upon the eight million Gods, and the spirits of evil wrought havoc through the whole of creation.

She came forth again. The Gods seized upon Susa-no-wo, cut off his great beard, and took from him all his possessions. Then he went wandering upon the earth, but he was no longer able to work havoc upon it. He came to the mountains by the side of the ocean; he planted the mountains with the hairs of his beard, and the hairs became the Forest of Kii. The forest was his dominion; men gave homage to him as Lord of the Forest. It was he who slew the dragon of that land. Once, with its eight heads rearing up, the dragon stood in his way. Susa-no-wo slew it and cut it to pieces. In the dragon's tail there was a sword-a sword that would be ever victorious--and that sword Susa-no-wo sent to Ama-terasu as his tribute to her and to her descendants.

Many were the dragons that were in the land that Susa-no-wo had come to. Once when he was on his way from his forest to the sea he came upon an old man and woman who were weeping upon the bank

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of a river. They told him the reason of their grief. Every year a maiden was given to the dragon of the place, and this time their daughter was being given him. The fury of the Storm God was aroused when he heard this: he went to where the dragon waited by the river, and he destroyed him, cutting him to pieces. Susa-no-wo then took the maiden for his wife. They lived in that land of Izumo, and they and their children after them had the lordship of that place.

Another God came to woo his daughter. He came within his house when Susa-no-wo was lying in slumber on his mat. The tied the hairs of his head to the beams of the roof, and he took in his hands the things that were Susa-no-wo's most cherished possessions-his sword, his bow and arrows, and his harp. He lifted the maiden up and carried her off with the treasures. But the harp cried out as it was taken in the hand of the younger God. Susa-no-wo awakened. He could not even move his head since his hair was tied to the beams of the roof, and he had to loosen each strand of hair before he could go in pursuit of the one who had carried off his daughter and his treasures. At last he freed himself; led by the sound of the harp that still played of itself he followed that one. But when he came to where Oh-kuni-nushi was with the maiden whom he had carried off, Susa-no-wo said, "You have great craft, and because you have I will give you this maiden and all my possessions; I will take you for my son-in-law,"

Together Susa-no-wo and Oh-kuni-nushi ruled the Izumo, and, through his daughter, the descendants of Susa-no-wo peopled that land. But Susa-no-wo knew, and Oh-kuni-nushi knew, that their children would have to give place to the children of the resplendent Sun Goddess who were destined to be the rulers of the Eight Islands.

When Ama-terasu, on account of the destructiveness which her brother had wrought, had hidden herself in the cavern, the Gods had come together and had consulted as to how Ama-terasu's beneficence might be brought into the world once more. They had brought the cocks, the long-singing birds of the Eternal Land, and had placed them outside the cavern; they had lighted fires that made such a brightness before the cavern that the cocks crowed perpetually. They had the Goddess Uzume dance for all their company. On an upturned tub she had danced, and her dancing and her laughter had made all the Gods laugh loudly. Their laughter and merriment and the sound of

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the cocks crowing had filled the air and had made the earth shake. Ama-terasu, within the cavern, had heard the merry din. She had wondered what merriment could be in the world while she was within the cavern. She had put a finger out and had made a little hole in the rock that closed her in. She had looked out at the crowd of the Gods, and she had seen the dancing and laughing Goddess. Then Ama-terasu had laughed. One of the strong-armed Gods had put his hand where the hole was in the rock and had made a wider opening. Then a long-armed God had put his hands within and had drawn the resplendent Goddess to the wide opening. Light immediately had filled the world. The cocks had crowed louder, and the evil spirits had drawn away. The Gods were made joyful, and the din of their merriment had filled all creation.

So the resplendent Sun Goddess had come back to the world. Then it was that the Storm God, banished, had gone forth and founded a new realm for himself. And the realm he had founded, he knew, was to pass to the descendants of the resplendent Goddess.

After the coming-forth of the Goddess from her cavern the growing plants flourished upon the earth, and the evil spirits were kept away. The cocks crew. The harvests were brought in, and the harvest rites celebrated. The temples stood unshaken and unbroken. The banished Storm God went back to his own realm, and his descendants bore rule in the Eight Islands. Then the resplendent Goddess willed to have her grandson take possession of the Islands. He came; he faced the rulers of the land armed with the sword that must always be victorious. They gave him the land and they gave him power over all that was visible. But they kept for themselves the hidden world and all the powers of divination and sorcery. And since that time the children of the Sun Goddess bear rule in our land.

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