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Baku, Eater of Dreams
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Baku, Eater of Dreams

Japan

In Japan, among superstitious people, evil dreams are believed to be the result of evil spirits, and the supernatural creature called Baku is known as Eater of Dreams.

The Baku, like so many mythological beings, is a curious mingling of various animals. It has the face of a lion, the body of a horse, the tail of a cow, the forelock of a rhinoceros, and the feet of a tiger.

Several evil dreams are mentioned in an old Japanese book, such as two snakes twined together, a fox with the voice of a man, blood-stained garments, a talking rice-pot, and so on.

When a Japanese peasant awakens from an evil nightmare, he cries: "Devour, O Baku! devour my evil dream." At one time pictures of the Baku were hung up in Japanese houses and its name written upon pillows. It was believed that if the Baku could be induced to eat a horrible dream, the creature had the power to change it into good fortune


  • Source: F. Hadland Davis, Myths and Legends of Japan (London: G. G. Harrap, 1913), pp. 358-359.
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