The Red Candles and the Mermaid

In Japan, there remain many folk tales, stories and local practices
associated with candles. Today, we introduce you to one of those
stories, "The Red Candles and the Mermaid," written by Mimei

Once, there lived a mermaid in the northern sea .in Japan. The
mermaid, wishing for her daughters happiness, decided to let her
new-born live in human society. The daughter was brought up by an
old couple who made and sold candles. She grew up to be a gentle
girl. She started drawing beautiful pictures on the candles to repay
the old couple for their favor. The candles became very popular as
the rumor spread that if they were offered on the shrine, ships
wouldn't be wrecked. Despite growing very rich, the couple was
enticed by a merchant into selling the girl. The merchant had heard
about the mermaid, wanted her for his freak show. The girl didn't
stop drawing pictures on the candles until the last minute. When
she left the house, she colored some candles all in red. On the night
she was sold, a woman came to the candle shop and bought the red
candle. That night, a big storm broke and the boat the mermaid girl
was onboard sunk. Since then, the superstition has persisted that
if red candles were lit at the mountain shrine, a big storm would
come and the person who saw the flame of the candle light would die
in the ocean. The town was ruined in the end.

December 10, 2004