Yuki-Onna was a creature in Japanese mythology. Sometimes it had a solid, earthly form (always female), but it would always disappear in a mist. It appeared in front of men during snow storms and caused them to lie down and go to sleep, where they would freeze to death. Yuki-Onna is sometimes known as the Snow Woman, Lady of the Snow or Winter Ghost.
One tale about Yuki-Onna tells of a old man and his younger friend who were travelling through the mountains when they got caught in a blizzard. They decided to shelter for the night in a hut, but they hadn't been there long when the door opened and in came a swirl of snow, along with a beautiful young woman.
The woman walked over to the old man and breathed over him, her icy breath causing him to die. The younger man was scared for his life, and begged for mercy. The Snow Woman considered this and decided to allow him to keep his life providing he never spoke of what happened to the old man.
Later, the young man met a woman called Yuki. They married, had children and lived happily for many years. Then one night during a snowstorm, the young man remembered that night on the mountainside and decided to tell his wife about it. Yuki started acting strangely and revealed herself as the Snow Woman. She was furious as he had promised never to speak of that night. Her husband once again begged for mercy and again was spared, this time for the sake of their children. Yuki-Onna warned that she would never forgive his betrayal, and then disappeared into the snow.
I don't know about you, but I wasn't expecting the husband to come out of that story alive – characters in mythological stories aren't usually known for being merciful!
|(Source: Wikimedia Commons)|