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Ainu Legends

How this creature can ruin a good day of hunting
As among the Japanese, so also among the Ainu, the fox, being famous for his cunning, is accredited with supernatural powers. He is not only said to be able to change his body into another form when it suits his purpose, but it is reported that he is able to bewitch people, thereby making them ill, driving them mad, or even causing them to die.

I was on a certain occasion out with an Ainu trying to shoot my dinner, and as we were going along we chanced upon the footprints of a fox in the snow, and I asked the Ainu whether we should go for it first and get its skin, and then seek for food. He said "No" very decidedly, not if I desired to get a hare or some ducks. Upon asking him what that had to do with it, he said that if we killed the fox first we should certainly get nothing else that day, for the spirit of the fox would, if we killed the body, travel round and let all the other animals and birds know that we were coming. I therefore had respect for his feelings and went after a hare instead.

In a conversation with this man afterwards he told me that all hunters in ancient times, if, when they went hunting, killed a fox first, always tightly tied up its mouth, to prevent the spirit from going to warn others, and I find that many do this even at the present day.

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