This is the folk story about a dog named Shippei-Taro.
About 700 years ago, there was a festival every year on August 10th at Mitsuke Shrine in Shizuoka prefecture.
It was not a happy event. People living in this village cried and cried during this festival. Why? The custom of this festival was to offer a human sacrifice in a coffin to the gods.
Every year the offering for this festival was chosen by a white feather arrow flying from somewhere. As the arrow fell on one of the villagers’roof, that house must offer their daughter for the festival.
One day a traveling monk came to this shrine and heard the news about this event. The monk thought god wouldn’t wish this kind of awful custom, it must be someone else.
Then one night, the monk saw big monsters taking the lady in the coffin saying don’t tell this to Shippei-Taro, hope he is not watching us.
As soon as the monk found out that the monsters were the ones doing this custom and heard their whispering not to tell Shippei-Taro in Shinshu Shinano about this, he went to Shinshu to find Shippei-Taro. Shinshu Shinano is an old name of Nagano prefecture.
Shippei-Taro was a pet dog at Kozen-ji Temple in Nagano. He was the strong dog and people called him Hayataro. The monk found and borrowed him. He headed to Mitsuke Shrine with Shippei-Taro.
At the next festival, Shippei-Taro was in the coffin instead of a lady. Shippei-Taro fought with monsters and got rid of them. He got injured during this fight. This awful custom ended after this fighting.
Shippei-Taro went back to Kozen-ji Temple and barked loudly one time before dying. It was like he was saying I did it. Also, it is said that Shippei-Taro died before reaching home.
There is Shippei-Taro’s grave at Kozen-ji Temple.
This story is translated by Aki Tanaka who lives in Mitsuke, Iwata city.
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