Snow Wife (雪女房)

The story below is mostly from the radio show I listen to, but there are two other versions of it I found online which I incorporated a little:

http://hukumusume.com/douwa/koe/jap/02/18_k.html (variation in this one the couple has a child, although given the time frame, I’m not really sure how that’s possible)
http://www.yamagata-info.com/story/yukionna_wakamono/text.htm (more traditional I think)

———

Aired Feb. 17, 2012
From Yamagata
As collected by Takeda Tadashi

A man lived alone in the mountains. He went out and worked all day coming home late at night. One night, there was a snowstorm. While drying his kimono by the fire, he heard a voice calling, “Good evening. Good evening.”

He opened the door to see a woman looking as though she had just been born with red-tinged skin. He wondered what she was doing so far in the mountains, but hurried her inside. He told her you can stay here a while. She nodded her head and said softly, “Ok.”

From that day on, she would see him off early in the morning and welcome him home at night. She made him delicious food. And when he was sick in bed she stayed awake all night caring for him.

One day he asked her to be his wife. She silently nodded her head.

From that day they lived together as a married couple. The man was very happy. The days of snowstorms became rare and the snow around the trees began to melt. Yet, from that time, his wife seemed unhealthy. However, she still worked hard around the house cleaning and cooking. The snow had almost all melted and the sun’s rays grew strong. His wife had less and less energy.

Some days after that, the man went into the mountains to work. He tried to work hard cutting trees, but he was worried about his wife, and couldn’t do his job. He hurried home and looked for his wife. But his wife was nowhere to be found.

He couldn’t find her inside or outside the house. He sat down by the fireside and sobbed. It was only then he realized his wife had been Yuki-onna.

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