Tiny Youkai

A quick blur of moment drew his eye — a mouse, skimming over the ground? No, a tiny youkai, galloping through the tangled grass, waving stubby arms and piping something in a shrill, unintelligible voice.

Kaworu bent toward him. “What?”

Metal split the air above his bent shoulder and struck the tree beyond. Kaworu did not waste time looking after it but made his lean a roll, dodging to one side and coming up in a crouch.

Ukiyo-e print of yōkai, by Kawanabe Kyosai

Ukiyo-e print of yōkai, by Kawanabe Kyosai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Youkai come in all shapes and sizes, from the size of a mouse to the size of a house. The tiny youkai who in Kitsune-Mochi warns Kaworu of impending danger might be any of a dozen little varieties, just as Western folklore has sprites, elves, gnomes, goblins, pixies, fairies, and more. Many, as far as I can learn, don’t have specialized names — they are simply small youkai.

As with Western folklore, size may not matter; small creatures might be powerful, and large creatures weak. Of course, that’s not always a safe bet to make! Best to treat all with caution and respect.

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