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"In the going on four years I've been running this site, I have received a lot of tales.
This is not the only tale that offers an origin to the curse, but it is perhaps the oldest.
What follows is an obscure legend from what was once called the Naka region of 
Japan."

Long ago, there lived a doll maker. Unlike many stories, he was not the finest in all the land. His dolls were of mediocre craftsmanship – cast in inferior porcelain, wearing simple robes of linen, and painted with an unsteady hand. He was not a bad or lazy man; he simply had neither the talent nor the means to produce the high-quality dolls that the feudal nobility demanded. He tried his best, but his dolls remained upon the shelves and his wife and son remained hungry and impoverished.

One day, he received word that the daimyo in the next region was urgently seeking the services of a doll maker. The lord’s daughter favored a masterpiece of a doll - a finely crafted work of art, clad in the most elegant of silks and jade. A clumsy servant smashed the doll’s face by accident and consequently the child had fallen gravely ill. The lord believed that only upon mending the doll would the child be saved. Knowing that fixing the doll would gain him notoriety and honor beyond his meager abilities, the doll maker bid his family goodbye and set off on the long trek to mend the doll and hopefully the child as well.               

Three nights into his journey, the doll maker came to a bridge. Upon crossing the water, he was beset upon by a trio of thieves who beat him savagely. When they saw that the traveler carried only doll making equipment, they tossed his bags into the river and fled. With nothing left, the doll maker wept and awaited death.But death did not arrive, as such. He was discovered by a bewitching beauty. A gorgeous young woman who walked as softly as the breeze approached him, concealing her face behind an elegant fan of silk. “Why do you cry?” she giggled. “Am I not beautiful?”  The doll maker apologized, for surely this ethereal beauty belonged to a house of great stature and recounted the events of that evening. At the end of his tale, she touched his shoulder and led him deep into the forest to her elegant estate. There she dressed his wounds and seduced him.

The next morning, the woman offered to teach the doll maker to make dolls without porcelain in exchange for his everlasting love. Desperate for the knowledge, he eagerly accepted. Using cord and cloth, she taught the man to sew whimsical forest animals and stuff them with straw and fluff. Under her guidance, the doll maker created brightly colored likenesses of the hedgehog, the spiny anteater, and a large cat.

“Bring these to the child and she will love them,” the woman said. She gave him a necklace with a red jewel on it as a token of her love and sent him on his way, telling him to return to her as soon as he was successful.

The doll maker finally made it do the daimyo’s estate. Though he could not mend the broken doll, he offered the sick girl his stuffed cloth animals. She adored them and the doll maker was richly rewarded. With his new skill and reputation, he could finally support his family. He made haste for home, making sure to avoid the forest where he met his beautiful benefactor.

When he got home, he gave his wife the jeweled necklace, saying that it was a gift from the daimyo. With his son as his assistant, he began making the strange cloth animal dolls which were now highly sought after. Many years passed and the family became rich and respected.

One night, the doll maker heard his wife calling to him from his workshop. Upon entering the room, he discovered his wife nailed to the wall. Her mouth was sewn shut and black tears were streaming from her bloodshot eyes. The doll maker tried to run to her, but blocking his path was the beauty from the forest, clutching the jeweled necklace in her hands. She appeared as young as ever and from the two silky tails  that twitched angrily behind her, it was clear that she was a kitsune.

The forest spirit giggled, nastily. “You promised me your heart and soul, doll maker, and I always collect. Your payment is late, so I will simply have to take more. I will have your soul, your wife’s, and everyone that enjoys the fruits of your labors. After all, these stuffed creatures are our children.”

When the doll maker’s son returned home, he discovered that his parents had vanished and the workshop had burned down. Sifting through the ashes, he discovered that all of the dolls had been immolated, except one - a captivating kitsune doll with two tails and a red jewel upon its head.

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