Folk-Lore of the Buso
How to See the Buso
The Buso live in the great branching trees and in the graveyard. The night after a person has been buried, the Buso dig up the body with their claws, and drink all the blood, and eat the flesh. The bones they leave, after eating all the flesh off from them. If you should go to the graveyard at night, you would hear a great noise. It is the sound of all the Buso talking together as they sit around on the ground, with their children playing around them. You cannot see the Buso; but if you do get a glimpse of one of them, it is only for a few minutes. He looks like a shadow.
In the beginning, everybody could see the Buso, because then the Buso and the people were friendly together. Nobody died in those days, for the Buso helped the men, and kept them from dying. But many years ago the Buso and man had a quarrel, and after that nobody could see the Buso any more.
Now, there is one way to see Buso; but a man must be very brave to do it. While the coffin for a dead man is being made, if you cut some chips from it and carry them to the place where the tree was felled for the box, and lay the chips on the stump from which the wood was cut, and then go again on the night of the funeral to the same place, you will see Buso. Stand near the stump, and you will see passing before you (1) a swarm of fireflies; (2) the intestines of the dead person; (3) many heads of the dead person; (4) many arms of the dead person; (5) many legs of the dead person; (6) the entire body passing before you; (7) shadows flitting before you; and finally (8) the Buso. But no one yet has been brave enough to try it.
“But one thing I did when my uncle died,” said my boy informant. “I chipped a piece of wood from the coffin, and tied it to a long string, like a fly to a fish-hook. This I let down between the slats of the floor, as I stood in the room where the dead body lay, and I held the line dangling. As a fish catches at the bait, so Buso seized that bit of wood, and for about two minutes I could feel him pulling at it from under the house. Then I drew up the string with the wood. Buso was there under the house, and smelt the chip from the coffin.”
Buso and the Woman
In a little house there lived a man and his wife together. One night, after they had been married for a long time, the man told his wife that he would like to go fishing.
“Oh, yes! my husband,” said the woman eagerly. “Go, and bring me some nice fish to-morrow, so that we can have a good meal.”
The man went out that same night to fish. And his wife was left alone in the house.
In the night, while her husband was away, the Buso came, and tried to pass himself off as her husband, saying, “You see I am back. I got no fish, because I was afraid in the river.” Then the Buso-man made a great fire, and sat down by it.