Illustrations of Rare Stones of Various Provinces
Late Edo Period
This text is the “Illustrations of Rare Stones of Various Provinces.” It is believed to have been produced at the end of the Edo period, but the author is unknown. The text illustrates and describes rare stones from around Japan.
For example, one of the stones described is Parrot Rock (Ōmu-ishi) in Ise Province. If you play instruments or sing in front of Parrot Rock, the same sound will echo back at you. Two other stones, named “Shrine Maiden Stone” (Miko-ishi) and “Ox stone” (Ushi-ishi), from Nikko in current day Tochigi Prefecture are described as well. The story behind these stones is that one day, a shrine maiden attempted to ride an ox up Mount Nantai, that was forbidden to women, and both the shrine maiden and the ox were turned to stone. Another stone, named “Toad Rock” (Kawazu-ishi), in Settsu Province was famed for being able to split in two and eat birds and bugs. Another stone in Kii Province at Amida-ji Temple in Nachi, called the “Hidden Water Stone” (Kakuremizu-ishi), was seven shaku tall (2.12 meters) and when water collected in a hole inside it, the amount of water varied depending on the tides.
This book also describes strange events that occurred in the Nishio area. The text records that on the 14th day of the 8th lunar month of the 7th year of Kyōhō (1722) the Tomiyoshi shinden levee was washed out in Kira-no-shō in Hazu-gun of Mikawa Province. Kira-no-shō is located in present day Nishio city. The villagers ran to see and upon arriving found a crab, whose body exceeded 2 meters in width, had punched a hole in the levee and was living inside the levee which had caused seawater to burst through the hole. The villagers took rakes and attempted to chase the crab and though the crab lost a pincer the width of two man’s hands, it still managed to escape into the ocean. Even after this, the crab was sometimes seen in the ocean nearby.
The main part of this story is identical to a story that was published in the third year of Kanpō (1763) in the collection of fables Folk Tales of Various Provinces. Though the story of this great crab is completely unknown now, even among people who live near where it occurred, this story was somewhat famous among Edo period people who enjoyed fables.