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March 18, 2005


This actually goes quite well with the tragic love story of Cassinus and Cælia.

Since I can't seem to do html in the comment, here's the link:

eb, that's awesome. I used to have a book of Japanese folk tales (probably still do, but if so it's many miles away in California); one of the stories concerned a legendary seducer who was utterly entranced with a woman with whom he'd been having no luck, so he decided to try to rid himself of his infatuation by increasingly desperate means, including, at the end, smuggling out the vessel in which she shat and peed to inspect it, and assure himself that she was just an ordinary woman. But she got the better of him by replacing it with perfumed water (with clove, I think) for the urine and I can't remember what for the shit—I want to say carved pieces of some fragrant wood like cedar but I'm not sure.

For some reason that folk tale sounds familiar but I can't place it. There's probably a whole category of folk tales in which a man refuses to believe that a woman he cannot influence is really a woman.

By the way, are you from California, or do you just store Japanese folk tales there?

That would be telling.

I'm a little scared to think about which sites a google search to find that folktale online would turn up. You do it.

"japanese folktale perfumed water chamber pot" leads us to this cool page (http://www.logan.com/loganberry/solved-m.html), which doesn't answer the question.

I have that story somewhere. I think it was cinnamon sticks. (I just went looking and can't find it.)

Re your poem--line two as it stands is much better than the alternate.

In a library stall at Yale when I was an undergrad, the same stall that had a graffito labeling the latch "John Lock," someone had written:

Breaths there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
"This is my own, my native stall"?

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