Monday, 31 December 2012

Boy and Grandmother

Note: I'm not the author of this story. I've translated it from the original Japanese into English. Please do NOT copy and paste it somewhere else on the web without my permission.Thank you for your cooperation.

I'm 33 years old this year and this happened nearly 30 years ago when I was still at nursery school.
Nursery schools in those days were often run by Buddhist shrines and mine was no exception.
I remember there was a charnel house and a cemetery right next to the nursery building.

One late afternoon I was playing in the nursery playground. I was the only one playing outside.
I think there were still a lot of children staying behind but somehow I was playing alone.

I saw a child standing on the top of the climbing frame. It was a boy.
The boy wore short trousers and a jacket with gold buttons. He was barefoot.
He had closely cropped hair and looked a few years older than me.

He stood still staring down at me.
I don't remember feeling scared or surprised. But I remember being overcome by a sudden, inexplicable loneliness.

Without a word, the boy got down from the climbing frame and started walking, past the charnel house and towards the cemetery.
I followed him from behind. I didn't see the cemetery as a scary place because, being next to the nursery, it was a part of the everyday scenery; we sometimes even played  hide-and-seek in there.
I am sure I had my eyes fixed on the boy's back all the time but somehow I can no longer recall what happened next, no matter how hard I try to search my memory.
The only vivid image I still retain is about a small grave overgrown with moss. A massive tree, such as the ones often seen in old cemeteries, towered over me, shutting off the dying sun rays and making the place appear darker than usual. I think I was out there only for one or two minutes but it felt like I was there for a very long time.

Sometime later my grandmother came to fetch me home. When I think about it now, it was the first and last time my grandmother ever came to the nursery to fetch me.
 For some reason I felt really relieved the moment I saw my grandmother's face.

My grandmother stood there, gazing at the cemetery for sometime, her eyes full of sadness. Then she said:
"You have nothing to worry about, dear. Granny will take care of it." I remember the intense look she had on her face as she uttered these words.

We went home with our hands firmly joined together. On the way we walked past a sweets shop and I really wanted to go inside, but she chided me by saying,  'Not today! Not today! We have to go home quickly!'

It was the evening of the very same day that my grandmother passed away.
Strangely I don't remember clearly the details surrounding her death. I do remember the funeral and how it was busy with all the relatives rushing to our house, but even now I don't remember feeling sad at the time, although my grandmother's death must have caused me a great distress because I was very attached to her.

The following year I entered the elementary school. The school was right across the street from the nursery but I never went near the nursery anymore.
To be more precise I couldn't go near it because whenever I thought of the nursery the image of the little moss-covered grave flashed across my mind and it disturbed me.
When I became a junior-high schooler I got involved in a community work and it gave me an opportunity to revisit the shrine in the nursery.

The cemetery had been going through a renovation and all the ancient gravestones had been removed. The nursery too had a new building. The place looked very different from how I remembered it.
The main shrine was also about to get renovated and our job was to clean it out and take all the old things and rubbish to the outside. The chief priest was sorting out various things that had been brought to the shrine.
Among these were many photographic portraits of the deceased. We were told to carry them out as well.
All portraits were wrapped up in old yellowish newspapers but there was one portrait which had come unwrapped.

The moment I picked up the exposed portrait and looked at it, all the blood in my body froze.
It was a portrait of the very boy I saw in the nursery. But there was also my grandmother, who was strangling the boy's neck from behind, with such a fierce expression on her face that she did not look like someone of this world.  

I passed out right there and when I next came to, I was in hospital.
My father and mother were there and they both looked terror-stricken.
I found out later that they asked the Buddhist priest to perform a purification ceremony on the portrait and had it incinerated.

According to the story which my father heard from the priest, the boy was adopted by the landowner who lived around the area during the war. The boy suffered much maltreatment until one day he scummed to illness and died.
My grandmother used to be a housemaid at the said landowner's household when she was young, and she was the only one who treated the boy with affection.

The priest told my father that the boy probably appeared to me because he wanted to take me with him.
My grandmother was not going to let that happen, and the result was what we saw in the picture.

We moved out of the area soon after that, but even after all these years I still find myself musing over the incident from time to time.


27 comments:

SAYA said...

I wish you all have a happy new year, everyone! Take care! :)

Jason Fan said...

Thank you for the story Saya Chan! Omoshiroi neh kowaii hanashii! Happy New Year! :)

Hasumi said...

If the ghost had never appeared the grandmother would probably had not passed away that day..

Anyway, happy new year to you too saya-san ! :D hope 2013 will be a better year for all of us !

Toyboxed said...

Happy New Year! Celebrate it with a moving and awesome story!

By the way, is there customs in Japanese for celebrating new years? i mean the spooky one :p

Anonymous said...

I kind of wondering how did u get all this creepy pasta stories? Btw this is a good story ^_^ and happy new year!

Dethyl said...

Hi Saya,

Thanks for updating so frequently. I've never heard this one before.

Although almost every nation and city in the world has their share of ghost stories, I think Japan has a lot of stories unique to each prefecture. I remember my teacher from a few years ago (She was from Kanagawa) telling totally different stories from my present teacher (from Kagoshima).

They said I had the shining eyes of fascination like a little boy whenever they told me a story. *blush*

Anyway, very nice story. Hope to see more.

よいお年をお迎えください。いつも幸せになっています。

2013年にこれを読んでいるのなら、あけましておめでとうございます。

Regards,
Dethyl

caramichi said...

I don't know why, but I found this story to be really sad. I hope the spirits are now in peace after the purification.
( ;´Д`)

And also, happy new year to you too, Saya. May the following year be nice
♪(*^^)o∀*∀o(^^*)♪

unicorn said...

Happy New Year Saya! So he's only 3 yrs old when the apparition happened? And he was able to remember those details. This story kinda made me sad.

Prisilia Felicia said...

yes the story is touching :'')
another great sotory, miss Saya!!
and Happy New Year to you too \:D/

Creepy Taurus said...

I've pretty much only been lurking your site so far, but I decided that the New Year would be an appropriate time to voice my appreciation.
Thank you so, so much for this new story and for your efforts. This is definitely one of my favourite websites by far.

ryuu said...

this story is touching, his grandmother saved him from the ghost but when the grandmother died and was strangling the ghost boy i got scared a little i thought that she turned into something like the grudge girl.

anyway

\(^o^)/HAPPY NEW YEAR!\(^o^)/

Mimi said...

Happy New Year, Saya!

I love this one, childhood stories seems really appealing to me. Mostly because this kind of thing would only seem to happen to children when they are still pure.

spinning totem said...

Aww, this story made me sad. :(

And happy New Year Saya! I hope 2013 will be good year for you!

Muneera said...

Happy new year Saya-san! LOL I know it's late but I couldn't get on to post this earlier, Anyway! I really liked this story (it's also kinda sad :/) but it's still scary though~ >_<
Please do your best this year as well, Saya-san. ^_^

-Muneera

ForthKun said...

I remember my grandma because of this, she used to have a talisman for protection against spirits and her mother (my great grandmother) was a a spiritual healer. My mother told me some stories on how my great grandma's healing went, how she does that and some paranormal stories with that too...

My grandma also told me that once I die, she'll be the one who'll fetch me, glad to know that she'll always be the one who'll take care of me, I love her much ^_^

nice story! rekindles childhood memories!

♡Princess Pon♡ said...

I found this really scary! (>_<)
I do feel sad for the little boy though and for the author who lost their grandmother... but so scary!

Tani M said...

Happy New Year, Saya san!
This is an eerie, but very moving story. The grandmother very likely gave her life to save her grandchild. But I feel sorry for the little boy ghost too. Perhaps now that he is no longer a danger to her grandchild the grandmother is now caring for him?

Rays said...

Thank you for the story. And happy new year, Saya :)

SAYA said...

Dear God, there are so many messages!

@Jason: Your very welcome, Jason :)
I'm glad it's omoshiori to you!

@Hasumi: Yes, poor granny! I'm sure 2013 is gonna be a great year for all of us! Always expect the best and you shall get it!;)

@Toyboxed: I'm glad you like it, dear! Oh I dunno if there're any spooky Japanese customs for New Year! I'm so NOT patriotic. LOL I think though you're supposed to pay respect to your ancestors around this time? I'll look into it and let you know if I find something good lol.

@Anon (31 Dec 2012): I just browse around the web and pick up stories that catch my eye. But many stories actually come from 2chan.

@Dethyl: sounds like you have cool Japanese teachers! And they seem to adore you too! :D

My hometown is in Kanagawa(east of Japan) too and it's quite possible someone from Kagoshima(south of Japan) knows a lot of interesting stories that are different from mine!

I imagine people from Kagoshima to be kind of exotic. The stereo typical Kagoshima people have distinctive facial features too - they might have a tall nose and large eyes, with darker skin.

And like many districts in Japan, people of Kagoshima must have their own unique dialect! You can ask her if she could speak to you in her dialect. That's what I would do myself. I mean when I travel I'd like to listen to people talk in their dialect. There're so few chances to hear it if you live in Yokohama, expect on TV. When I went to Kyoto I was so excited to hear people speak Kyoto dialect. lol

Thank you, Dethyl, take good care of youself and I also wish you happiness and prosperity! ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice story, Saya
By the way, I got some creepypasta that my grandma told me. How can I send it to you?

SAYA said...

@caramichi: Yes, it's a sad story! Makes you cry doesn't it!?
Oh your smilies are so cute! (*^^*)
Thank you!

@unicorn: Hi! The narrator says it was nearly 30 years ago, so he was probably around 3 or 4! But that was when he met the boy and he doesn't remember it well. When he saw the portrait he was already a teenager.


@Prisilia: Yes, isn't it? I also think it's a good story, thank you! :D

@Creepy Taurus: Oh! Is your star sign Taurus? It's the same as my mum's! :D I'm cancer by the way!

Thank you for leaving a comment! I appreciate it very much too! You take care and come back again! :D

@ryuu: I know! When I read the discription of the grandma in the picture with the boy, in Japanese, oh I felt chills down my spine! I'm glad I was able to covey that scariness in the translation! Yes it seems exactly like the grudge girl! LOL

@Mimi: Oh but I'm glad this kind of thing didn't happen to me when I was a child! lol Well actually I think I saw a ghost once, but now I'm not sure whether it was real or just a dream. Thank you dear!

@spinning totem: Don't be sad! Smile! :D Thank you dear!

@Muneera:Thank you for your kind words, Muneera! I also find it scary and sad at the same time. Take care, dear!

@ForthKun: Wow you have such a wonderful grandmother! I wish I could see that talisman she had! Sounds cool! You've got to make your own blog and write about these interesting paranormal stories you have!
So your grandmother must be watching over you right now! You're lucky! Thank you for that cute story! ;)

@Princess Pon: Oh here's another girl crying! Don't worry and be happy!
You know, to tell you the truth, I did find the story scary before but not anymore, because when I do translation I have to inspect the same story over and over again, and at some point the scariness starts to die away!

@Tani: Hi Tani! True, it's a sad story for the boy too, he may have just wanted a friend to play with!

@Rays: How nice of you, thank you!

@Anon: Wonderful! Is it possible for you to post your story in this comment place? If not, I'll think about other ways! Thanks a lot!

AND EVERYONE, HAPPY NEW YEAR AGAIN!!
Thank you very much for all your comments! :D

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, it's a ritual to summon the "Can ghost"

caramichi said...

Yes, this story is rather sad than scary to me( つ﹏╰)

Anonymous said...

Hello! this is a nice story and all but really doubt if it's truly happen. Maybe someone writes it out? First of all, I think it's odd if normal person is capable of remembering an event when he/she is only three years old. And in this story he/she even remember the face of the boy among the piles of picure. I believe memories are hard to be recalled when you're under 5 years old.

Medicine Melancholy said...

Very unique and creepy, Saya-san! Really a wonderful story, just like every other one I had already read on your site. I found it just today, but I'm madly in love with it, diving through the pages and reading to no end! You really do a wonderful job with it, I simply love japanese culture and folklore, and thus I have had always adored urban legends and ghost stories, but unfortunately, even thought i study japanese, I was never able to find somewhere to read them. And here it is, a treasure pile, all neatly arranged and with many jewels just waiting to be readw. I'm just really grateful for what you do!! Once again thank you very much, and please keep up the good job ^w^, you're the best!

Black Bunny said...

I would like to make a comic out of this but...I'm too lazy to draw -.-"

SAYA said...

@Anon (4 Jan): What is the "Can ghost"??

@caramichi: oh! Ever tender-hearted caramichi, don't cry!

@Anon (10 Jan): Well I had an operation on my leg when I was like one or two, and I still remember how my mother was standing in my hospital room, watching over me. So if you have a memory that is associated with strong emotions you are likely to remember it, no matter what your age. Hell, there are reports of people remembering the time when they were still in thier mothers'wombs!

@Medicine Melancholy: How wonderful of you to comment, dear. As I am prone to melancholia myself, I feel we might have something in common. LOL

Japanese people haven't been a particularly popular race in the recent history of the world, so it's nice I can do something to help people like Japan and its culture more. LOL

Please enjoy your stay here, dear. Thank you for your kind words! :D

@Black Bunny: OH! It's a shame if you just waste away your great creative talent. Please do draw, I want to see your work! :D