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Ainu Legends
The Ainu believe that the world rests on the back of a giant trout, that otters caused human beings to be flawed, and that seeing an owl fly across the face of the moon at night is cause for great trepidation. Find out the basis for such beliefs, along with what Hokkaido's Ainu have traditionally thought about the crane, the bear, the flying squirrel, and a host of other creatures. The excerpts below were drawn from The Ainu and Their Folklore, by the Rev. John Batchelor (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1901). An English missionary who lived among the Ainu for several decades around the turn of this century, Batchelor carefully recorded the people's folklore even as he proselytized the Christian faith. Note that excerpts set off by quotes are those of Batchelor's Ainu informants rather his own writing.

Water-wagtail
Water-wagtail
Trout
Trout
Crow
Crow
Otter
Otter
Bear
Bear
Eagle
Eagle
Swan
Swan
Hare
Hare
Albatross
Albatross
Owl
Little horned owl
Fox
Fox
Salmon
Salmon
Squirrel
Flying squirrel
Crane
Crane
Water-ouzel
Water-ouzel



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