The TENGU have been a part of Japanese legend and folktales for hundreds of years. These cryptid-like beings, Heavenly Sentinels of Shinto belief, have taken different forms over the years, from the beaked avian-type, or with monkey or human characteristics, to more recently and commonly recognised as red-faced and with long curved noses. They are considered a type of supernatural yokai or diety (kami/god). In some tales (especially within the realms of Buddhism) it has long been held that the TENGU were disruptive demons, harbingers of war. In recent centuries though, the image has changed somewhat to a more wiser being, a spiritual warrior, a yamabushi (mountain hermit). And in one legendary tale of the great samurai Minamoto no Yoshitsune, it is written that he was trained in the art of the sword by the TENGU Sojobo on Mount Kuruma Kyoto.
Another great and powerful TENGU by the name of Tarobo was the younger brother of Sojobo. In the Uzumasa area of Kyoto, at the end of a narrow alley is a well. Around the well are wooden boards like a cage around teh well. The well is called 'Tarobu's Well' and a small signboard does indeed connect this well to the Tengu Tarobo. The puzzling factor though is, why, what is the connection. The information board offers no answers, in fact it asks the question also. Maybe with further searching and research we will find the connection or a story behind the well. Pictured right, Tarobo's Well in Kyoto.
And with the TENGU in mind, a new book of three short stories titled TENGU & Other Stories has just been released by HIDDEN PATHS' Phillip Jackson. The book is available in digital e-book and paperback formats from all regions of AMAZON. Link below.