“The Goblin Spider” a very short story.



It’s Autumn, the season of darkness at 8pm!  I noticed that last night. I used to scare my son into the house by telling him ‘die Nacht’ had fallen and the wolves were sniffing around.  It’s the perfect time, with  Samhain and Halloween approaching to draw up to the woodstove and read a scary tale.  The Japanese do it well. 

Lady Nyo




In very ancient books it is said  there used to be many goblin-spiders in Japan. Some folks declare there are still some goblin-spiders. During the daytime they look just like common spiders; but very late at night, when everybody is asleep, and there is no sound, they become very, very big, and do awful things.

Goblin-spiders are supposed also to have the magical power of taking human shape, so as to deceive people. And there is a famous Japanese story about such a spider.

There was once, in some lonely part of the country, a haunted temple. No one could live in the building because of the goblins that had taken possession of it. Many brave samurai went to that place at various times for the purpose of killing the goblins. But they were never heard of again after they had entered the temple.

At last one who was famous for his courage and his prudence, went to the temple to watch during the night. And he said to those who accompanied him there: “If in the morning I am still alive, I shall drum upon the drum of the temple.” Then he was left alone, to watch by the light of a lamp.

As the night advanced he crouched down under the altar, which supported a dusty image of Buddha. He saw nothing strange and heard no sound till after midnight. Then there came a goblin, having but half a body and one eye, and said: “Hitokusai!” [“There is the smell of a man”.] But the samurai did not move. The goblin went away.

Then there came a priest and played upon a samisen so wonderfully that the samurai felt sure it was not the playing of a man. So he leaped up with his sword drawn. The priest, seeing him, burst out laughing, and said: “So you thought I was a goblin? Oh no! I am only the priest of this temple; but I have to play to keep off the goblins. Does not this samisen sound well? Please play a little.” And he offered the instrument to the samurai who grasped it very cautiously with his left hand.

Instantly the samisen changed into a monstrous spider web, and the priest into a goblin and the warrior found himself caught fast in the web by the left hand. He struggled bravely, and struck at the spider with his sword, and wounded it; but he soon became entangled still more in the net, and could not move.

However, the wounded spider crawled away, and the sun rose, in a little while the people came and found the samurai in the horrible web, and freed him. They saw tracks of blood upon the floor, and followed the tracks out of the temple …

from:  Kwaidan: Weird Tales From Japan, by Lafcadio Hearn. 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2017



Tags: , , ,

4 Responses to ““The Goblin Spider” a very short story.”

  1. Frank Hubeny Says:

    His intuition was right about that violin playing, but he still got caught in the web. I enjoyed the story.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Frank! Thank you so much for reading this. Sometimes it seems our blogs are just catchalls for challenges from different poetry groups. There is so much more to use our blog for in my opinion. I LOVE these stories and there are many more. The Japanese are great story tellers. I have never found a culture that has more horror stories! LOL! A professional story teller in Japan (then and now) had to have at least 100 stories to recite. And many had many more. As I read (and have read over the years) collections of Japanese Tales, I am impressed with the amount of shout out horror. Demons, kami, goblins, yoki, so many different kinds of monsters….it’s something I never read when I was a child because I didn’t have the stomach for it. Now? Well, on the page, they can’t haunt. LOL! Thank you, again. Yes, his intuition was right about the violin playing but until the goblin revealed himself, I was still taken in. LOL!


  3. lynn__ Says:

    Never knew of goblin spiders until now…glad the samurai wounded that awful creature 😜


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Me, too. Shiver.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: