Yukki Onna is one of the most well-known yokai. She can take human’s life without a blink of an eye and also she can be a loving wife and mother.
Yuki-onna (雪女, snow woman) is a spirit or yōkai in Japanese folklore. She is also a popular figure in Japanese literature, film, and animation.
She lives on the lifes she steals of those who got lost in the storm.
The first written information about her is from the 14th century, Muromachi period, written by monk Sogi in a book about his travels where he encountered the Yuki Onna.
Sogi described her as a huge (almost 10 feet tall), with skin whiter than any human being. Although her face was young and beautiful, her hair was stark white. Her kimono was white to the point of being translucent. He saw her when she was standing one cold morning in the frozen garden.
(It’s a legend so the sorry can be slightly different depending who is it telling and from where he is.)
Many many years ago in a snowy mountain far in the north was a small village where lived a lumberjack Mosaku and his son Minokichi (some sources says he was his apprentice). In a winter when the mountains were fully covered in a snow they went day aftet day deep in to a mountain forest to hunt, but one day they couldn’t find any animal to be hunted. Suddenly the sky grew heavy and the wind began to strongly blow and the snow started to fell. Son and his father started seeking for a lumberjack cabin which was nearby so they could hide from the freezing weather.
They got into a cabin and set a small fire to get warm little bit, both were hoping the storm will be gone by tommorow’s morning, so by the gentle warmth of the fire and by the sound of the snow storm outside they fell asleep. And as they slept their small fire extinguished and the heat inside started to dissapear. Minokichi was awakened by the cold air inside and as he opened his eyes he saw a beautiful yet scary woman dressed fully in white but her hair was dark as the night itself. She blowed her freezy breath at Mosaku, freezing him to death. Minokichi was shaking in a fear of seeing his father die and he became worried over his own life. The beautiful woman noticed Minokichi and she said with a light voice “You are young, the fire of life burns beautifully in you. I decided not to take it from you. However you must never speak of it, with anyone and if you do your life will also be frozen.”
When Minokichi woke up he thought it was just a dream he had last night, but as he saw his father frozen to death he realised it really happened.
The seasons passed and Minkoichi lived alone for a whole year and for so long he hasn’t spoken nearly to anyone. One cold winter night someone knocked on his door. When he opened, he found a beautiful young woman standing in front of them, who clamied she was a traveller and lost her way and was searching for a shelter. Minokich let the young beautiful woman to stay at his house and offered her food. Her name was Oyuki. They spent whole night talking and so they fell in love and became husband and wife. Together they had two children (some sources says 5). They lived in harmony, but in summer Oyuki became weak and faint, althought the years Oyuki did not aged a day.
Then one winter night Minokichi was confessing his love to his wife and talking about the first day they met. And as he realised his wife didn’t aged a single day he wished his father to see her and so he started explaining to Oyuki how his father diet and so he told her the whole story. And so Oyuki asked Minokich if he made a promise that day and as he nodded she turned in her true cold form and with a horrific voice said “I warned you not to talk about it to anyone, I am the snow woman. You make a clearly promise and you broke it as clearly.” As she promised she was supposed to freeze him to death as he did to his father, but she loved him and her children and so she vanished with a wish of Minokichi raising their children good.
Even these days in the mountains you can hear her griefing voice.
She is the ice and winter itself. With cold yet ageless white skin, white or black long hair covering her face, from where her strinkigly deep violet eyes watches you and her beautiful full lips with the cold blue color, looking like she is frozen. And so as the snow covering the mountains her kimono is the purest white. When she walks she left no steps in the snow behind her almost as she is floating in the air.
Other stories about Yuki Onna:
The watter beggar – The Yuki Onna travels on the wind, and appears on days with a light snowfall. She walks through the town swinging a white Gohei wand, and shouting “Please give me water—hot or cold!” to anyone she meets. If you give the Yuki Onna cold water, she swells in size. If you give her hot water, she melts and disappears.
The moon princess – Once she was a lunar princess living on the Moon in luxury. But her life was boring so she decided to look at Earth so she stepped down. But the way down was much easier than back up so since then she is stuck on Earth.
The Vampire – This tale is based on the fact Yuki Onna lives on the lifes she steals from others.