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怪奇観測所 Center for Gothic Phenomena

海外の怪奇な話、都市伝説、オカルト話を翻訳してみる。(This website includes English translations of Japanese urban legends, scary tales and strange stories.)

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Father and Kappa (River Specter)

Is it OK to post a story about a specter here?

A cousin of my father lived with his family in M City and my father often played there as a kid.
The M river, which had the same name as M City, ran through the middle of M City and my father often saw Kappa (river specter or monster) swimming in the river.
Though he is already dead now, he often told me about Kappa, and strangely enough the story had some reality.
For example, he said "unlike turtles, Kappa has no carapace and its back is stiff like scales of alligators." "A dish on its head is as mucusy as a nose of dogs and the dish takes in water or moisture through hair around the dish. Even if the dish dries, Kappa does not die, but the whole body of Kappa gets dried up, its skin becomes stiff and its movement becomes sluggish."
The dish serves as an indicator to measure Kappa's health conditions, and Kappa parents tell their child to return to a river before the dish gets dry, according to my father.
Kappa does a special kind of breaststroke and swims faster than a human who does the crawl.
But after my father taught Kappa how to do the crawl, it swam even faster.
My father's story described the structure of Kappa's body and its lifestyle in details. His story had reality which only people who actually swam and wrestled with Kappa could give.
During a new year vacation of the year when I became the 6th grader, my father and I visited our relative's house. By that time, I realized my father's story was a fiction.

Our relatives treated us to delicious meals and beverages. After having a lot of sake, my father asked me to go out together for fresh air. I already collected new-year gifts from relatives and was kinda tired of talking with middle aged women, so I agreed to my father's proposal.
When we were walking on the bridge over the M river, he noticed something and began to wave his arms to it in the direction of upper portion of the river, shouting "hey! heeeey!" There were several people on the bridge and they stopped a bit surprised at my father's strange action. They looked at the river and something that my father waved to. I looked closely at the river too. Guess what. The upper part of Kappa's human-like body emerged from the water surface and it waved back to my father. Its hands were webbed and a dish was on its head. Its figure was the same as the one depicted in many fairy tales.




Among the people on the bridge, young ones were astonished saying "My goodness! What the heck is thaaat!" and elders seemed to calmly think "oh it's rare to see such a thing."
Kappa was actually in the M river. This is my experience 30 years ago.
BTW I got married and live in M City now. M City holds Kappa festival every summer.

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