Story 3: The Deity of the Noboribetsu Hot Springs
*For some reason this kanji compound isn't coming out properly. The Wikipedia article uses the correct compound.
**故, this is a very uncommon particle that I didn't even know existed until now. It is pronounced "ゆえ" and means "therefore".
Mysterious fires were sometimes seen on the mountain of the Noboribetsu Hot Springs' Lake Kuttara's shore.*
Known as the Deities' Fires, it's said that they were the deities' messengers that would inform the villagers when bad diseases were flourishing.
When the messengers were there, the village's elders would confer at the chief's house, then inform the villagers, and then resume both offering things like fish and grain to the deity of the Noboribetsu Mountain Peak, and praying with specially made Inau that would keep away diseased things away.
A long time before, at this Noboribetsu, an extremely exceptionally** beautiful young girl was born and was raised by her parents with unsurpassed love. Around the age of seven or eight, malignant boils appeared on her head. Year by year it spread from just her head all over her face. Every treatment was tried, but it only became worse.
Her parents frantically prayed to the deities, but the disease wasn't healed. Her beautiful face became one that couldn't look at with both eyes.
The day she turned 18, she suddenly disappeared. Starting with her parents, everyone searched for her. However, after much searching, they couldn't find her.
The village folk had rumored that she hid herself, lamenting over her disfigured face.
However, this was the deities original plan -- not to make the girl sick or anything like that. Fearing that her beautiful face would lead to her being defiled by humans, her face was made ugly as protection, and she was summoned to the land of the deities when she became of age.****
This girl, a deity's child, returned to the land of the Kamui*** and became a female-deity, and gave birth to six daughters. It's said that, thinking that the people of the hot springs were having trouble, she sent her eldest daughter there as a girl who would be ugly to the ancient human-world. The daughter helped people who became sick and troubled, and became a healing deity.
Since then, it's said that the Noboribetsu hot springs is special for healing skin conditions, being that a female-deity suffered from boils.
*This is likely Kutsutarou Mountain (屈太郎山), just to the east of Lake Kuttara.
** Yes, it's redundant, but that's what it says.
*** I keep using the term deity. This is a much more accurate description than "god". It is VERY important to remember that a god, in the western sense, is a sort of all powerful being who can do amazing things, and who stands for a cause of some sort (a lightning god). This is NOT the way the DEITIES are in Japan (Kami), or in Ainu culture (Kamui). They are merely respectable representations of "heavenly" things. Deities in Japanese lore are
**** This paragraph-long sentence threw me for a loop. It had particles I had never encountered before, adverbs used in obscure ways, it used honorific passives, and included assumed subjects that were never mentioned.
Additional Info and Resources
A video about the Noboribetsu Hot Springs