Monthly Archives: March 2005


Myths & Legends of Japan

Publish date: 1949
Author: Davis
Title: Myths & Legends of Japan
Alternate Title Myths and Legends of Japan
Language: English
LoC Class GR: Geography, Anthropology, Recreation: Folklore
Subject: Folklore — Japan
Subject: Legends — Japan
Subject: Mythology, Japanese

Begin of the book:













The Lovers who exchanged Fans. Fr. (See page 245)


[Pg v]


In writing Myths and Legends of Japan I have been much indebted to numerous authorities on Japanese subjects, and most especially to Lafcadio Hearn, who first revealed to me the Land of the Gods. It is impossible to enumerate all the writers who have assisted me in preparing this volume. I have borrowed from their work as persistently as Japan has borrowed from other countries, and I sincerely hope that, like Japan herself, I have made good use of the material I have obtained from so many sources.

I am indebted to Professor Basil Hall Chamberlain for placing his work at my disposal, and I have found his encyclopædic volume, Things Japanese, his translation of the Kojiki, hisMurray’s Hand-book for Japan (in collaboration with W. B. Mason), and his Japanese Poetry, of great value. I thank the Executors of the late Dr. W. G. Aston for permission to quote from this learned authority’s work. I have made use of his translation of the Nihongi (Transactions of the Japan Society, 1896) and have gathered much useful material from A History of Japanese Literature. I am indebted to Mr. F. Victor Dickins for allowing me to make use of his translation of the Taketori Monogatari and the Ho-jō-ki. My friend Mrs. C. M. Salwey has taken a sympathetic interest in my work, which has been invaluable to me. Her book, Fans of Japan, has supplied me with an exquisite legend, and many of her articles have yielded a rich harvest. I warmly thank Mr. Yone Noguchi for allowing me to quote from his poetry, and also Miss Clara A. Walsh for so kindly putting at my disposal her fascinating volume, The Master-Singers of Japan, published by Mr. John Murray in the “Wisdom of the East” series. My thanks are[Pg vi] due to Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin Company, for allowing me to quote from Lafcadio Hearn’s Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan and The Japanese Letters of Lafcadio Hearn; to Messrs. George Allen & Sons, for giving me permission to quote from Sir F. T. Piggott’s Garden of Japan; to the Editor of the Academy, for permitting me to reprint my article on “Japanese Poetry,” and to Messrs. Cassell and Co. Ltd., for allowing me to reproduce “The Garden of Japan,” which I originally contributed to Cassell’s Magazine. The works of Dr. William Anderson, Sir Ernest Satow, Lord Redesdale, Madame Ozaki, Mr. R. Gordon Smith, Captain F. Brinkley, the late Rev. Arthur Lloyd, Mr. Henri L. Joly, Mr. K. Okakura, the Rev. W. E. Griffis, and others, have been of immense value to me, and in addition I very warmly thank all those writers I have left unnamed, through want of space, whose works have assisted me in the preparation of this volume.

[Pg vii]



[Pg viii]A Note on Japanese Poetry
Gods and Goddesses
Genealogy of the Age of the Gods
Index of Poetical Quotations
Glossary and Index

[Pg ix]


The Lovers who exchanged Fans Frontispiece
Uzume awakens the Curiosity of Ama-terasu
Susa-no-o and Kushi-nada-hime
Hoori and the Sea God’s Daughter
Yorimasa slays the Vampire
Yorimasa and Benkei attacked by a ghostly company of the Taira Clan
Raiko and the Enchanted Maiden
Raiko slays the Goblin of Oyeyama
Prince Yamato and Takeru
Momotaro and the Pheasant
Hidesato and the Centipede
The Moonfolk demand the Lady Kaguya
Buddha and the Dragon
The Mikado and the Jewel Maiden
A Kakemono Ghost
Sengen, the Goddess of Mount Fuji
Visu on Mount Fuji-Yama
Kiyo and the Priest
Yuki-Onna, the Lady of the Snow
Shingé and Yoshisawa by the Violet Well
Matsu rescues Teoyo
Shinzaburō recognised Tsuyu and her maid Yoné
The Jelly-Fish and the Monkey
The Firefly Battle
The Maiden of Unai
Urashima and the Sea King’s Daughter
Tokoyo and the Sea Serpent
The Kappa and his Victim
Kato Sayemon in his Palace of the Shōgun Ashikaga
Tōtarō and Samébito

[Pg xi]


Pierre Loti in Madame Chrysanthème, Gilbert and Sullivan in The Mikado, and Sir Edwin Arnold inSeas and Lands, gave us the impression that Japan was a real fairyland in the Far East. We were delighted with the prettiness and quaintness of that country, and still more with the prettiness and quaintness of the Japanese people. We laughed at their topsy-turvy ways, regarded the Japanese woman, in her rich-coloured kimono, as altogether charming and fascinating, and had a vague notion that the principal features of Nippon were the tea-houses, cherry-blossom, and geisha. Twenty years ago we did not take Japan very seriously. We still listen to the melodious music of The Mikado, but now we no longer regard Japan as a sort of glorified willow-pattern plate. The Land of the Rising Sun has become the Land of the Risen Sun, for we have learnt that her quaintness and prettiness, her fairy-like manners and customs, were but the outer signs of a great and progressive nation. To-day we recognise Japan as a power in the East, and her victory over the Russian has made her army and navy famous throughout the world.

The Japanese have always been an imitative nation, quick to absorb and utilise the religion, art, and social life of China, and, having set their own national seal upon what they have borrowed from the Celestial Kingdom, to look elsewhere for material that should strengthen and advance their position. This imitative quality is one of Japan’s most marked characteristics. She has ever been loath to impart information to others, but ready at all times to gain access to any form of knowledge likely to make for her advancement. In the fourteenth century Kenkō wrote in his Tsure-dzure-gusa:[Pg xii] “Nothing opens one’s eyes so much as travel, no matter where,” and the twentieth-century Japanese has put this excellent advice into practice. He has travelled far and wide, and has made good use of his varied observations. Japan’s power of imitation amounts to genius. East and West have contributed to her greatness, and it is a matter of surprise to many of us that a country so long isolated and for so many years bound by feudalism should, within a comparatively short space of time, master our Western system of warfare, as well as many of our ethical and social ideas, and become a great world-power. But Japan’s success has not been due entirely to clever imitation, neither has her place among the foremost nations been accomplished with such meteor-like rapidity as some would have us suppose.

We hear a good deal about the New Japan to-day, and are too prone to forget the significance of the Old upon which the present régime has been founded. Japan learnt from England, Germany and America all the tactics of modern warfare. She established an efficient army and navy on Western lines; but it must be remembered that Japan’s great heroes of to-day, Togo and Oyama, still have in their veins something of the old samurai spirit, still reflect through their modernity something of the meaning of Bushido. The Japanese character is still Japanese and not Western. Her greatness is to be found in her patriotism, in her loyalty and whole-hearted love of her country. Shintōism has taught her to revere the mighty dead; Buddhism, besides adding to her religious ideals, has contributed to her literature and art, and Christianity has had its effect in introducing all manner of beneficent social reforms.

There are many conflicting theories in regard to the racial origin of the Japanese people, and we have no[Pg xiii] definite knowledge on the subject. The first inhabitants of Japan were probably the Ainu, an Aryan people who possibly came from North-Eastern Asia at a time when the distance separating the Islands from the mainland was not so great as it is to-day. The Ainu were followed by two distinct Mongol invasions, and these invaders had no difficulty in subduing their predecessors; but in course of time the Mongols were driven northward by Malays from the Philippines. “By the year A.D. 500 the Ainu, the Mongol, and the Malay elements in the population had become one nation by much the same process as took place in England after the Norman Conquest. To the national characteristics it may be inferred that the Ainu contributed the power of resistance, the Mongol the intellectual qualities, and the Malay that handiness and adaptability which are the heritage of sailor-men.”[1] Such authorities as Baelz and Rein are of the opinion that the Japanese are Mongols, and although they have intermarried with the Ainu, “the two nations,” writes Professor B. H. Chamberlain, “are as distinct as the whites and reds in North America.” In spite of the fact that the Ainu is looked down upon in Japan, and regarded as a hairy aboriginal of interest to the anthropologist and the showman, a poor despised creature, who worships the bear as the emblem of strength and fierceness, he has, nevertheless, left his mark upon Japan. Fuji was possibly a corruption of Huchi, or Fuchi, the Ainu Goddess of Fire, and there is no doubt that these aborigines originated a vast number of geographical names, particularly in the north of the main island, that are recognisable to this day. We can also trace Ainu influence in regard to certain Japanese superstitions, such as the belief in the Kappa, or river monster.

[Pg xiv]

The Chinese called Japan Jih-pén, “the place the sun comes from,” because the archipelago was situated on the east of their own kingdom, and our word Japan and Nippon are corruptions of Jih-pén. Marco Polo called the country Zipangu, and one ancient name describes it as “The-Luxuriant-Reed-Plains-the-land-of-Fresh -Rice-Ears-of-a-Thousand-Autumns-of-Long-Five-Hundred-Autumns.” We are not surprised to find that such a very lengthy and descriptive title is not used by the Japanese to-day; but it is of interest to know that the old word for Japan, Yamato, is still frequently employed, Yamato Damashii signifying “The Spirit of Unconquerable Japan.” Then, again, we still hear Japan referred to as The Island of the Dragon-fly. We are told in the old Japanese Chronicles that the Emperor, in 630 B.C., ascended a hill called Waki Kamu no Hatsuma, from which he was able to view the land on all sides. He was much impressed by the beauty of the country, and said that it resembled “a dragon-fly licking its hinder parts,” and the Island received the name of Akitsu-Shima (“Island of the Dragon-fly”).

The Kojiki, or “Records of Ancient Matters,” completed A.D. 712, deals with the early traditions of the Japanese race, commencing with the myths, the basis of Shintōism, and gradually becoming more historical until it terminates in A.D. 628. Dr. W. G. Aston writes in A History of Japanese Literature: “The Kojiki, however valuable it may be for research into the mythology, the manners, the language, and the legends of early Japan, is a very poor production, whether we consider it as literature or as a record of facts. As history it cannot be compared with the Nihongi,[2] a contemporary work[Pg xv] in Chinese; while the language is a strange mixture of Chinese and Japanese, which there has been little attempt to endue with artistic quality. The circumstances under which it was composed are a partial explanation of the very curious style in which it is written. We are told that a man named Yasumaro, learned in Chinese, took it down from the lips of a certain Hiyeda no Are, who had such a wonderful memory that he ‘could repeat with his mouth whatever was placed before his eyes, and record in his heart whatever struck his ears.'” It is possible that Hiyeda no Are was one of the Kataribe or “Reciters,” whose duty it was to recite “ancient words” before the Mikado at the Court of Nara on certain State occasions.

The Kojiki and the Nihongi are the sources from which we learn the early myths and legends of Japan. In their pages we are introduced to Izanagi and Izanami, Ama-terasu, Susa-no-o, and numerous other divinities, and these august beings provide us with stories that are quaint, beautiful, quasi-humorous, and sometimes a little horrible. What could be more naïve than the love-making of Izanagi and Izanami, who conceived the idea of marrying each other after seeing the mating of two wagtails? In this ancient myth we trace the ascendency of the male over the female, an ascendency maintained in Japan until recent times, fostered, no doubt, by Kaibara’sOnna Daigaku, “The Greater Learning for Women.” But in the protracted quarrel between the Sun Goddess and her brother, the Impetuous Male, the old chroniclers lay emphasis upon the villainy of Susa-no-o; and Ama-terasu, a curious mingling of the divine and the feminine, is portrayed as an ideal type of Goddess. She is revealed preparing for warfare, making fortifications by stamping upon the ground, and she is also depicted[Pg xvi] peeping out of her rock-cavern and gazing in the Sacred Mirror. Ama-terasu is the central figure in Japanese mythology, for it is from the Sun Goddess that the Mikados are descended. In the cycle of legends known as the Period of the Gods, we are introduced to the Sacred Treasures, we discover the origin of the Japanese dance, and in imagination wander through the High Plain of Heaven, set foot upon the Floating Bridge, enter the Central Land of Reed-Plains, peep into the Land of Yomi, and follow Prince Fire-Fade into the Palace of the Sea King.

Early heroes and warriors are always regarded as minor divinities, and the very nature of Shintōism, associated with ancestor worship, has enriched those of Japan with many a fascinating legend. For strength, skill, endurance, and a happy knack of overcoming all manner of difficulties by a subtle form of quick-witted enterprise, the Japanese hero must necessarily take a high position among the famous warriors of other countries. There is something eminently chivalrous about the heroes of Japan that calls for special notice. The most valiant men are those who champion the cause of the weak or redress evil and tyranny of every kind, and we trace in the Japanese hero, who is very far from being a crude swashbuckler, these most excellent qualities. He is not always above criticism, and sometimes we find in him a touch of cunning, but such a characteristic is extremely rare, and very far from being a national trait. An innate love of poetry and the beautiful has had its refining influence upon the Japanese hero, with the result that his strength is combined with gentleness.

Benkei is one of the most lovable of Japanese heroes. He possessed the strength of many men, his tact amounted to genius, his sense of humour was strongly[Pg xvii] developed, and the most loving of Japanese mothers could not have shown more gentleness when his master’s wife gave birth to a child. When Yoshitsune and Benkei, at the head of the Minamoto host, had finally vanquished the Taira at the sea-fight of Dan-no-ura, their success awakened the jealousy of the Shōgun, and the two great warriors were forced to fly the country. We follow them across the sea, over mountains, outwitting again and again their numerous enemies. At Matsue a great army was sent out against these unfortunate warriors. Camp-fires stretched in a glittering line about the last resting-place of Yoshitsune and Benkei. In an apartment were Yoshitsune with his wife and little child. Death stood in the room, too, and it was better that Death should come at the order of Yoshitsune than at the command of the enemy without the gate. His child was killed by an attendant, and, holding his beloved wife’s head under his left arm, he plunged his sword deep into her throat. Having accomplished these things, Yoshitsune committed hara-kiri. Benkei, however, faced the enemy. He stood with his great legs apart, his back pressed against a rock. When the dawn came he was still standing with his legs apart, a thousand arrows in that brave body of his. Benkei was dead, but his was a death too strong to fall. The sun shone on a man who was a true hero, who had ever made good his words: “Where my lord goes, to victory or to death, I shall follow him.”

Japan is a mountainous country, and in such countries we expect to find a race of hardy, brave men, and certainly the Land of the Rising Sun has given us many a warrior worthy to rank with the Knights of King Arthur. More than one legend deals with the destruction of devils and goblins, and of the rescue of[Pg xviii] maidens who had the misfortune to be their captives. One hero slays a great monster that crouched upon the roof of the Emperor’s palace, another despatches the Goblin of Oyeyama, another thrusts his sword through a gigantic spider, and another slays a serpent. All the Japanese heroes, whatever enterprise they may be engaged in, reveal the spirit of high adventure, and that loyalty of purpose, that cool disregard for danger and death which are still characteristic of the Japanese people to-day.

“The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moon-Maiden” (Chapter III) is adapted from a tenth-century story called Taketori Monogatari, and is the earliest example of the Japanese romance. The author is unknown, but he must have had an intimate knowledge of court life in Kyōto. All the characters in this very charming legend are Japanese, but most of the incidents have been borrowed from China, a country so rich in picturesque fairy-lore. Mr. F. V. Dickins writes concerning theTaketori Monogatari: “The art and grace of the story of the Lady Kaguya are native, its unstrained pathos, its natural sweetness, are its own, and in simple charm and purity of thought and language it has no rival in the fiction of either the Middle Kingdom or of the Dragon-fly Land.”

In studying Japanese legend one is particularly struck by its universality and also by its very sharp contrasts. Most nations have deified the sun and moon, the stars and mountains, and all the greatest works of Nature; but the Japanese have described the red blossoms of azaleas as the fires of the Gods, and the white snow of Fuji as the garments of Divine Beings. Their legend, on the one hand at any rate, is essentially poetical, and those who worshipped Mount Fuji also had ghostly tales to tell about the smallest insect. Too much stress[Pg xix] cannot be laid upon Japan’s love of Nature. The early myths recorded in the Kojiki and Nihongi are of considerable interest, but they cannot be compared with the later legends that have given souls to trees and flowers and butterflies, or with those pious traditions that have revealed so tenderly and yet so forcibly the divine significance of Nature. The Festival of the Dead could only have originated among a people to whom the beautiful is the mainstay and joy of life, for that festival is nothing less than a call to the departed dead to return to their old earthly haunts in the summer-time, to cross green hills dotted with pine-trees, to wander down winding ways, by lake and seashore, to linger in old, well-loved gardens, and to pass into homes where, without being seen, they see so much. To the Japanese mind, to those who still preserve the spirit of Old Yamato, the most glowing account of a Buddhist Paradise is not so fair as Japan in the summer-time.

Perhaps it is as well that Japanese myth, legend, fairy tale, and folk-lore are not exclusively poetical, or we should be in danger of becoming satiated with too much sweetness. It may be that we admire the arches of a Gothic cathedral none the less for having gazed upon the hideous gargoyles on the outside of the sacred edifice, and in the legends of Japan we find many grotesques in sharp contrast with the traditions associated with the gentle and loving Jizō. There is plenty of crude realism in Japanese legend. We are repelled by the Thunder God’s favourite repast, amazed by the magical power of foxes and cats; and the story of “Hōïchi-the-Earless” and of the corpse-eating priest afford striking examples of the combination of the weird and the horrible. In one story we laugh over the antics of a performing kettle, and in another we are[Pg xx] almost moved to tears when we read about a little Japanese quilt that murmured: “Elder Brother probably is cold? Nay, thou probably art cold?”

We have had numerous volumes of Japanese fairy tales, but hitherto no book has appeared giving a comprehensive study of the myths and legends of a country so rich in quaint and beautiful traditions, and it is hoped that the present volume, the result of much pleasant labour, will be a real contribution to the subject. I have made no attempt to make a complete collection of Japanese myths and legends because their number is legion; but I have endeavoured to make a judicious selection that shall at any rate be representative, and many of the stories contained in this volume will be new to the general reader.

Lafcadio Hearn wrote in one of his letters: “The fairy world seized my soul again, very softly and sweetly—as a child might a butterfly,” and if we too would adopt a similar spirit, we shall journey to the Land of the Gods, where the great Kōbō Daishi will write upon the sky and running water, upon our very hearts, something of the glamour and magic of Old Japan. With Kōbō Daishi for guide we shall witness the coming of Mount Fuji, wander in the Palace of the Sea King and in the Land of Perpetual Youth, watch the combats of mighty heroes, listen to the wisdom of saints, cross the Celestial River on a bridge of birds, and when we are weary nestle in the long sleeve of the ever-smiling Jizō.


[1]The Full Recognition of Japan, by Robert P. Porter.

[2]Chronicles of Japan, completed A.D. 720, deals, in an interesting manner, with the myths, legends, poetry and history from the earliest times down to A.D. 697.

[Pg 21]


In the Beginning

We are told that in the very beginning “Heaven and Earth were not yet separated, and the In andYo not yet divided.” This reminds us of other cosmogony stories. The In and Yo, corresponding to the Chinese Yang and Yin, were the male and female principles. It was more convenient for the old Japanese writers to imagine the coming into being of creation in terms not very remote from their own manner of birth. In Polynesian mythology we find pretty much the same conception, where Rangi and Papa represented Heaven and Earth, and further parallels may be found in Egyptian and other cosmogony stories. In nearly all we find the male and female principles taking a prominent, and after all very rational, place. We are told in the Nihongithat these male and female principles “formed a chaotic mass like an egg which was of obscurely defined limits and contained germs.” Eventually this egg was quickened into life, and the purer and clearer part was drawn out and formed Heaven, while the heavier element settled down and became Earth, which was “compared to the floating of a fish sporting on the surface of the water.” A mysterious form resembling a reed-shoot suddenly appeared between Heaven and Earth, and as suddenly became transformed into a God called Kuni-toko-tachi, (“Land-eternal-stand-of-august-thing”). We may pass over the other divine births until we come to the important deities known as Izanagi and Izanami (“Male-who-invites” and “Female-who-invites”). About these beings has been woven an entrancing myth.

[Pg 22]

Izanagi and Izanami

Izanagi and Izanami stood on the Floating Bridge of Heaven and looked down into the abyss. They inquired of each other if there were a country far, far below the great Floating Bridge. They were determined to find out. In order to do so they thrust down a jewel-spear, and found the ocean. Raising the spear a little, water dripped from it, coagulated, and became the island of Onogoro-jima (“Spontaneously-congeal-island”).

Upon this island the two deities descended. Shortly afterwards they desired to become husband and wife, though as a matter of fact they were brother and sister; but such a relationship in the East has never precluded marriage. These deities accordingly set up a pillar on the island. Izanagi walked round one way, and Izanami the other. When they met, Izanami said: “How delightful! I have met with a lovely youth.” One would have thought that this naïve remark would have pleased Izanagi; but it made him, extremely angry, and he retorted: “I am a man, and by that right should have spoken first. How is it that on the contrary thou, a woman, shouldst have been the first to speak? This is unlucky. Let us go round again.” So it happened that the two deities started afresh. Once again they met, and this time Izanagi remarked: “How delightful! I have met a lovely maiden.” Shortly after this very ingenuous proposal Izanagi and Izanami were married.

When Izanami had given birth to islands, seas, rivers, herbs, and trees, she and her lord consulted together, saying: “We have now produced the Great-Eight-Island country, with the mountains, rivers, herbs, and trees. Why should we not produce some one who shall be the Lord of the Universe?”

[Pg 23]

The wish of these deities was fulfilled, for in due season Ama-terasu, the Sun Goddess, was born. She was known as “Heaven-Illumine-of-Great-Deity,” and was so extremely beautiful that her parents determined to send her up the Ladder of Heaven, and in the high sky above to cast for ever her glorious sunshine upon the earth.

Their next child was the Moon God, Tsuki-yumi. His silver radiance was not so fair as the golden effulgence of his sister, the Sun Goddess, but he was, nevertheless, deemed worthy to be her consort. So up the Ladder of Heaven climbed the Moon God. They soon quarrelled, and Ama-terasu said: “Thou art a wicked deity. I must not see thee face to face.” They were therefore separated by a day and night, and dwelt apart.

The next child of Izanagi and Izanami was Susa-no-o (“The Impetuous Male”). We shall return to Susa-no-o and his doings later on, and content ourselves for the present with confining our attention to his parents.

Izanami gave birth to the Fire God, Kagu-tsuchi. The birth of this child made her extremely ill. Izanagi knelt on the ground, bitterly weeping and lamenting. But his sorrow availed nothing, and Izanami crept away into the Land of Yomi (Hades).

Her lord, however, could not live without her, and he too went into the Land of Yomi. When he discovered her, she said regretfully: “My lord and husband, why is thy coming so late? I have already eaten of the cooking-furnace of Yomi. Nevertheless, I am about to lie down to rest. I pray thee do not look at me.”

Izanagi, moved by curiosity, refused to fulfil her wish. It was dark in the Land of Yomi, so he secretly took out his many-toothed comb, broke off a piece, and[Pg 24] lighted it. The sight that greeted him was ghastly and horrible in the extreme. His once beautiful wife had now become a swollen and festering creature. Eight varieties of Thunder Gods rested upon her. The Thunder of the Fire, Earth, and Mountain were all there leering upon him, and roaring with their great voices.

Izanagi grew frightened and disgusted, saying: “I have come unawares to a hideous and polluted land.” His wife retorted: “Why didst thou not observe that which I charged thee? Now am I put to shame.”

Izanami was so angry with her lord for ignoring her wish and breaking in upon her privacy that she sent the Eight Ugly Females of Yomi to pursue him. Izanagi drew his sword and fled down the dark regions of the Underworld. As he ran he took off his headdress, and flung it to the ground. It immediately became a bunch of grapes. When the Ugly Females saw it, they bent down and ate the luscious fruit. Izanami saw them pause, and deemed it wise to pursue her lord herself.

By this time Izanagi had reached the Even Pass of Yomi. Here he placed a huge rock, and eventually came face to face with Izanami. One would scarcely have thought that amid such exciting adventures Izanagi would have solemnly declared a divorce. But this is just what he did do. To this proposal his wife replied: “My dear lord and husband, if thou sayest so, I will strangle to death the people in one day.” This plaintive and threatening speech in no way influenced Izanagi, who readily replied that he would cause to be born in one day no less than fifteen hundred.


The Phantom Friend

Author: Margaret Sutton (1903-2001)
Published: 1991
Title: The Phantom Friend: A Judy Bolton Mystery
Language: English
Subject: Missing persons — Juvenile fiction
Subject: Mystery and detective stories
Subject: Women detectives — Juvenile fiction
Subject: Bolton, Judy (Fictitious character) — Juvenile fiction
Copyright: Public domain

Begin of the book:

The Famous JUDY BOLTON Mystery Stories
In Order of Publication


“The film will not be shown again!” Mr. Lenz said

“The film will not be shown again!” Mr. Lenz said

A Judy Bolton Mystery


Margaret Sutton

Grosset & Dunlap


Alice Thorne
Understanding Editor
and Real Friend


IThe Empty Chair1
IIClarissa Valentine8
IIITour Thirteen15
IVStrange Questions22
VImpossible Answers30
VIAn Unfortunate Gift37
VIIA Hidden Danger43
VIIIThe Witch’s Curse51
IXInto the Mist59
XThe Wrong Direction66
XIOn the Train73
XIIA Night of Terror80
XIIIBefore Daylight88
XIVSerious Trouble94
XVThe Wrong Girl101
XVIThe Name on the Calendar107
XVIIA Wanted Thief113
XVIIIThieves of the Mind118
XIXUncovering the Facts125
XXIIReal Phantoms143
XXIIIA Curious Letter149
XXVReal Friends161
XXVITalking Pillows169

The Phantom Friend


The Empty Chair

“I’ve had enough,” exclaimed Irene Meredith, ducking to protect her face from a biting wind that was blowing across the skating area at Radio City. “Wouldn’t you like to go inside now, Judy? It’s really too cold to enjoy ice skating.”

“It is cold,” Judy agreed. “What a difference from the way it was in the summer! They had chairs out here then, and there were flowered umbrellas over the tables. But with the big Christmas tree up, Radio City is still beautiful in spite of the cold. Don’t you wish—”

Judy did not finish the sentence.

“What’s the matter with you two?” Pauline Faulkner demanded as she stopped short, almost colliding with Judy and Irene. “You can’t just stop skating and gaze at the sights. Other people will bump into you. There, I knew it!”


“Watch it!” someone called out just too late.

Florence Garner, the fourth member of the skating party, turned sharply on her skates and went sprawling. But she was soon picking herself up.

“Are you hurt, Flo?” Irene asked solicitously.

“We’re sorry,” Judy added. “We didn’t mean to upset you.”

“I’m upset in more ways than one,” Florence replied as the four girls skated off the ice. “Nothing is turning out the way I planned it. Pauline said—”

“Never mind what I said,” Judy’s dark-haired friend interrupted. “We’ll discuss it at lunch.”

Ten minutes later the rented skates had been returned, and the four girls were sitting around a table in a nearby restaurant. The waiter served steaming hot soup.

“This will warm us up,” Irene commented over her soup plate. “Remember, Judy, I promised you we’d skate by the golden statue the next time you came to New York, and now we’ve done it.”

“It was fun, but watching your television show will be the real treat,” Judy told her. “When do you have to be at the studio for rehearsal?”

“Not until two. There’s lots of time.” Irene looked at the girl she had first known as Judy Bolton. She herself had been Irene Lang then, a timid little mill worker with a secret ambition to become a singer. Now, although her ambition had been realized and she was also a happy young wife and mother, she still looked to Judy for advice.


“I have a big decision to make,” Irene confessed. “If you were in my place, Judy, you’d know what to do. I don’t want your little namesake to think of her mommy as one of the ‘naughty’ people on television. That’s what she calls the people who do the commercials. We even have a little song we sing about it. Dale and I made it up to amuse little Judy. Of course, I’d never dare use it on my show,” Irene added with a laugh. “The sponsor would never get over it.”

“Sing it, Irene,” Judy urged her.

“Right here?” The Golden Girl of TV and radio looked about the restaurant as if she had been asked to commit a crime. “I couldn’t!”

“You could if you sang it very softly. Come on, I’d like to hear it, too,” Pauline urged.

“Oh, very well,” Irene gave in. “We call it ‘When I Grow Up,’ and it goes like this:

When I grow up I’ll be a teacher or a hostess on a plane,

Or perhaps I’ll be the weather girl and know about the rain.

I might sing and play like Mommy on TV or radio,

But I wouldn’t do commercials,

No, I wouldn’t do commercials,

No, I wouldn’t do commercials and interrupt the show.”

“I don’t like them much either,” agreed Judy after the song was over and she had stopped laughing. “Especially when you see the same thing over and over. It makes a person wonder—”


“Wonder what?” asked Pauline.

Irene laughed. “Judy is always wondering about something,” she explained to Florence Garner. “Her husband, Peter Dobbs, calls her his wonder girl. Peter is—” She paused. “Shall I tell her, Judy?”

“She’ll find out anyway. He’s an FBI agent. It isn’t something you can keep from your friends. Of course,” Judy added, “there are times when it’s better if people don’t know.”

“Criminals, you mean?”

“I mean anybody. Right now Peter is away on an assignment. I don’t even know where he is. But let’s talk about you, Flo,” Judy suggested to change the subject. “Is it all right if I call you by your first name?”

“Of course. I know we just met today, but I feel as if I’d known you always,” the brown-haired girl returned warmly. “Pauline has told me so much about you. I work for an advertising agency on Madison Avenue not far from the office where Emily Grimshaw holds forth.”

Judy laughed. Pauline’s employer was a literary agent who peddled the works of busy authors like Irene’s husband, the detective story writer, Dale Meredith.

“She knows how to get contracts from publishers. Getting advertising accounts isn’t easy, either,” Florence continued. “I’m afraid a good many people share Irene’s feelings about commercials and with reason. You should hear those ad men when they’re in conference.”


“I’ve read about them,” declared Judy. “Is it true that advertising agencies employ psychologists to probe into people’s minds and find out how to make them buy certain products?”

“Of course it’s true.” Pauline, the daughter of a psychiatrist, was indignant about it and said so.

“I don’t see any harm in that,” Flo said defensively. “They push the items they’re paid to put across. Take the golden hair wash people, for instance. It was pure inspiration when they thought of Irene to sponsor their product. Golden Girl—golden hair wash! Can’t you just see it on the TV screen? Their hair wash will sell like crazy—”

“And every girl will be a golden girl. I just can’t agree to it,” Irene interrupted. “I’d have to say I use the stuff when I don’t. My hair is naturally this color.”

“Mine is naturally this color, too. So help me!” put in Judy. “I dyed it once to disguise myself, but never again! Anyway, Peter likes redheads.”

Pauline, a blue-eyed, black-haired beauty, seemed to be studying the others at the table. Each girl had her own distinctive coloring. Irene, with her naturally golden blond hair, wore it in a short bob. “To keep little Judy from pulling it when we romp,” she said.

Judy wore her curly auburn hair in a long bob, while Florence Garner had her brown hair pinned high on her head. It, too, was curly and would have hung in ringlets if she had let it loose.

A fifth chair at the table was vacant. But Judy, suddenly a little homesick, could imagine Peter’s sister sitting there to complete the picture.


“Honey’s hair is darker than yours, Irene,” she spoke up unexpectedly. “I call it honey colored. I hope she never uses that golden hair wash to change it. Honey simply wouldn’t be Honey without her lovely honey-colored hair.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” Pauline quoted airily. “Honey’s hair is actually just plain dark blond.”

“Our advertising will be directed toward dark blonds. Naturally they want their hair to be golden. Who is Honey, anyway?” asked Flo. “You keep looking at that empty chair as if she were sitting at the table with us.”

“She is—in spirit.” This was Irene. Judy laughed and added, “Honey is Peter’s sister. We all love her, especially my brother, Horace. He’s a newspaper reporter, and she’s supplied him with plenty of news. There was a time when we didn’t know she existed—”

“No wonder!” exclaimed Flo, laughing. “She’s invisible now.”

“Judy is trying to tell you about one of the mysteries she solved,” Pauline explained, “but it’s no use, Judy. There have been so many. Phantoms just follow you around waiting for you to pull off their sheets and show them up for what they are.”

“And what are they?” asked Florence.

“Illusions, usually.” Judy found the word a little difficult to define. “People think they see things that are really something quite different. Or else they’re imaginary—”


“Like our phantom friend in the chair,” Irene interrupted with a laugh. “Shall we ask the waiter to bring an extra order—”

“Are you expecting someone else to join you for lunch?” the waiter paused at the table to ask.

He had overheard only part of the conversation. Judy could hardly stop herself from laughing. She was about to tell him it was only a joke when a commotion at the cashier’s desk drew her attention.

“I gave you a twenty-dollar bill,” a tall girl with a country twang in her voice was insisting. “I know it was a twenty. But you’ve given me change for only a dollar. Where’s the other nineteen dollars?”


Clarissa Valentine

“Isn’t that the girl who was sitting alone at the next table?” asked Judy. “I noticed her watching you and smiling when you were singing that song, Irene. She seemed to be enjoying it.”

“I knew I shouldn’t—”

Irene stopped. The girl at the cashier’s desk was really in trouble. Her voice had risen to a wail.

“You’re a thief!” she cried out melodramatically. “Daddy warned me against people like you.”

“Your daddy should have warned you to be more careful of your money,” the cashier retorted sarcastically. “If you’ve lost twenty dollars—”

“I didn’t lose it,” she insisted. “You took it from me!”

“Poor girl! She really thinks she’s been cheated,” Irene whispered.


“She’s beautiful,” said Flo, “especially when she’s angry. That girl ought to be in advertising. She’s just the unspoiled type of beauty we’re looking for. Of course, she ought to do something about her hair.”

“Shampoo it with golden hair wash, I suppose? Please, Flo, don’t try to make her over,” Irene pleaded. “She’s in enough trouble as it is.”

“It looks as if the cashier is going to win the argument,” observed Judy. “I feel sorry for the girl if he really is trying to cheat her.”

“More likely she’s trying to cheat him. She could be putting on an act,” declared Pauline. “There, I told you so. Now she’s turned on the tears.”

In a moment the weeping country girl was surrounded by a little knot of concerned people who had left their tables to try and settle the matter. As they pressed toward him the cashier flung open the cash drawer.

“You see!” he pointed out. “There’s no twenty! I haven’t changed a twenty-dollar bill all day. She’s made a mistake—”

“I did not,” the girl retorted tearfully. “I know what I gave you. It was a twenty. Now I don’t have money enough for my fare home.”

“Where do you live?” he asked as if concerned.

“If I tell you, will you give me my nineteen dollars?”

“No!” he snapped. “You can’t get away with a trick like that.”

“Then I’ll call the police,” she threatened. “I won’t let you cheat me out of all the money I have.”


“Do you think the police will believe you?” the man inquired in a lower tone.

“I don’t know!” cried the girl. “I don’t know what happened to my twenty dollars if I didn’t give it to you.”

“There!” he exclaimed triumphantly. “You’ve admitted you lost it before you came into this restaurant.”

“I did nothing of the kind. Doesn’t anybody in New York care about the truth?” The girl seemed to be asking this question of the other people in the restaurant. “Please, mister,” she began to plead, “give me back my change so I can go home.”

“I’m sorry.” The cashier seemed almost sympathetic. Yet he remained firm in his refusal to give the girl any money, insisting that she must have lost the bill she thought she gave him.

“Come, sit with us and tell us all about it.” Judy offered on impulse. “We care about the truth.”

“Then you’ll look in that man’s pockets,” declared the nearly hysterical girl. “He took it—”

“We would report him to the manager,” Florence Garner suggested.

“And make him lose his job? Mistakes happen,” declared Pauline Faulkner. “We have no way of knowing which of you is in the right.”

“That’s true.” The girl controlled her sobs and said, “It’s kind of you to take an interest in me. I needed that twenty—”


“If we each chip in five dollars, you’ll still have money enough to take you home. You may consider it a loan,” Irene said.

“Thanks.” The girl smiled for the first time. “You’re a genuine Golden Girl. I’ve seen you on television. I recognized your voice, too, when you sang that funny song. You’re Irene Meredith!”

“Indeed I am.” Irene introduced the other girls and offered the newcomer the vacant chair at the table.

“Now our phantom friend is real,” declared Judy.

The girl looked startled. “I hope I’m real. Once,” she confessed, “I looked in the mirror, and there was no reflection. It scared me half out of my wits. Why do you call me a phantom friend?”

“We were pretending we had a fifth girl at the table. It was just a joke. You do have a name, don’t you?” Judy asked.

“It’s Clarissa,” the girl replied. “Clarissa Valentine.”

“That sounds like a stage name,” declared Pauline. “You aren’t an actress, are you?”

“No, but I’d like to be. That’s why I came to New York,” Clarissa admitted. “At home we had a little theater group for a while. But they’re old-fashioned down there. Some of the people in my father’s parish didn’t think it proper for a minister’s daughter to act on the stage. We had to give up the little theater, so I coaxed Daddy to let me come here. I thought I could get a little part on TV, but I was wrong. I couldn’t get any kind of a job. I was all out of money when Daddy sent me that twenty dollars for Christmas. He said he hoped I’d spend it for a ticket back home to West Virginia. I was going to take the train tonight.”


“You can still take it if you let us help you. Meantime,” Florence Garner suggested, “why don’t you join us for a tour of Radio City, my treat?”

“Do you mean it?” asked Clarissa, obviously surprised. “Touring Radio City was one of the things I especially wanted to do. Will we see ourselves on television?”

“We certainly will.”

“Are you joking?” asked Judy. “How could we—”

“You’ll see,” Irene promised. “There’s a live show you may catch if you hurry. But perhaps you’d rather wait and see mine tonight. Francine Dow is playing the Sleeping Beauty. You’ll love her in it. I’m lucky to have her as a guest on my show. She can really act.”

“So can you, Irene.”

The Golden Girl of TV and radio tossed Judy’s compliment aside. “I can sing and tell stories. That’s about all. A part like this takes real talent. When you see the show you’ll understand. Notice the equipment and don’t be afraid to ask questions of the guide while you’re taking the tour,” Irene continued. “You’ll enjoy my show more if you know the types of cameras being used and understand what the men on the floor are doing.”

“Who are the men on the floor?” asked Clarissa.

“I haven’t time to tell you now. The guide will explain it. I must dash, or I’ll be late for rehearsal. Our studio is way uptown. Here’s the address.” Irene handed Judy a card on which she had written, “Admit four.” “That includes Clarissa if she wants to come. You know I’m not on one of the big networks.”


“You could be,” Florence began.

“Please,” Irene stopped her. “I won’t be on anything if I’m late for rehearsal. Turn in your contributions, girls, and let’s go.”

Clarissa seemed almost too eager to accept the four bills the girls offered her. They paid the cashier, counting their change carefully, and left the restaurant together.

Outside, the wind had increased, sending swirls and flurries of snow ahead of them as they crossed the street. They could scarcely see each other through the whiteness in the air.

“I’ll leave you here. Cheer up, Flo. I’ll let you know my decision in a day or two,” Irene promised as she hurried off.

“Talk her into it, Judy,” urged Pauline.

The four girls had entered the RCA Building, glad of the warmth they found inside.

“Talk her into what?” asked Judy. “I’m afraid I don’t know the language. Do you have a new sponsor for Irene?”

“Yes, the golden hair wash people.”

“Oh,” Judy said and was suddenly silent.

“Would she be on one of the big networks?” asked Clarissa.

“Yes, the biggest. You’d see her on your TV at home, Judy. Isn’t that worth thinking about? You can talk her into it if anyone can,” Flo urged.

“I’ll discuss it with her. How do the rest of you feel about it?” asked Judy.


“I think she ought to accept the offer,” Pauline volunteered. “There’s nothing wrong with commercials if they’re in good taste. Lots of stars do them.”

“It’s a selling job like any other. The sponsor pays for the program,” put in Flo. “I wish Irene could see it that way. She could sell golden hair wash.”

“She doesn’t believe in it,” Judy objected. “If she used the stuff herself it would be different.”

“I’d use it. I’d do anything,” declared Clarissa. “I’d dye my hair green to get on TV.”

“That’s hardly ever necessary,” laughed Flo.

“Do we really see ourselves on television when we take this tour?” Pauline questioned.

“I think so.”

Judy asked at the information desk to make sure and came back all excited. “It’s true!” she exclaimed. “The guide just told me.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” asked Clarissa.

Taking Judy’s arm, she pulled her on down the concourse until they came to a high desk where tickets were being sold. Judy found herself paying for them although Florence Garner had been the one to suggest the tour.

Clarissa clutched her ticket eagerly and whispered, as if to herself, “I hope I show. It would be terrible if I just faded away.”


Tour Thirteen

“Did you say faded or fainted?” asked Judy. “People don’t faint away unless they’re ill. You feel all right, don’t you?”

“Just a little trembly,” Clarissa confessed. “I’m excited, I guess—”

“There’s nothing to be excited about,” Pauline told her. “I’ve taken this tour before. You just see behind the scenes in the different studios. It’s a little dull, really.”

Apparently Clarissa did not think so.

“Dull? How can you say that? If we see ourselves on television—”

A voice from a loudspeaker interrupted.

“Tour Thirteen leaves in five minutes.”

“That must be us!” exclaimed Judy.


About a dozen people were waiting at the top of a short flight of stairs. Some of them were watching TV as they waited. Judy and her friends joined them. The set had been tuned to one of the local channels.

“It’s Teen Time Party!” exclaimed Pauline. “Wouldn’t you like to be there dancing?”

“They’re high school students, aren’t they?” asked Judy.

“Most of them, I guess. There are probably a few professionals among them,” Pauline added. “This one, for instance.”

A lovely, golden-haired girl and her partner were caught by the camera in a close-up. The announcer turned to the audience and said, “Isn’t her hair beautiful? You, too, can be a beautiful golden blonde. Shampoo glamorous new beauty into your hair with golden hair wash.”

“I use it. Why don’t you try it?” asked the girl on the television screen.

In a moment she was dancing again, mixing with the other teenagers as if she were one of them. She wasn’t a star. Judy had never seen her on television before.

“This,” she was thinking, “is all Irene would have to say. ‘I use it.’ Three little words, but they’re not true. Irene doesn’t use it. Maybe she should. Her hair is dull and drab. Why am I thinking that?” Judy asked herself. “It’s myhair that’s dull and drab.”

“Yours?” Florence asked. Judy had not realized she was speaking her thoughts aloud. Florence went on, “That’s funny, Judy. You wouldn’t want your hair any brighter than it is.”


“No,” Judy admitted, “I guess I wouldn’t. I always thought it was too bright before. I don’t know why I said that.”

“I do,” Clarissa spoke up. “You read my thoughts. I was just thinking my hair is dull. I could be beautiful if I didn’t have this drab, dull hair. It was lighter when I was small. It was really golden then. But all at once it began to get darker. I changed in other ways, too. Mother says I must be a changeling—”

“Changelings aren’t real,” Pauline stopped her. “They’re what witches were supposed to leave when they snatched real children.”

“There’s a witch in Sleeping Beauty,” Flo put in. “Irene says her dance is the best thing in the whole show. This tour is nothing compared to what we’ll see tonight, but it will kill time until seven o’clock.”

“You mean six-thirty,” Judy corrected her. “We have to be at the studio half an hour before the show begins, and I would like to be there even earlier than that so Irene can explain things. There’s so much I don’t know.”

The guide, overhearing Judy’s remark, smiled and said, “So you’re going to visit the Golden Girl show?”

“It’s treason,” Pau…