Many of the stories you still see today are inspired directly and indirectly from various myths. For the 2015 A-Z Challenge, I'm going to share mythology from all over the world - myths that are familiar and obscure.
The Japanese myth of the Jorogumo reminds me a lot of Medusa's tragic story. Instead of the creature being a woman-snake hybrid, a Jorogumo is part SPIDER. Yes, yet another creepy monster that instills fear in everyone...especially men.
So, when a spider turns 400 years old, it gains the ability to shape-shift. These magic spiders often like to change into beautiful women who could sing. They'd lure unsuspecting guys who want to check out a hot lady singing in the forest, and BOOM! The Jorogumo would devour the poor fella.
One of the most well known Jorogumo myths begins with an innocent guy just cutting down trees near a waterfall. He drops his ax into the water, so he dives in to get it. He finds a beautiful woman who gives him his ax, only if he promises to never tell anyone about her.
Of course, this guy is enchanted by the woman. He goes to visit her everyday, and yet he grows weaker after each visit, as the Jorogumo is sucking his life force. One day, he grows so weak, he's powerless against the spider's thread being wrapped around his feet. Luckily, a Buddhist monk comes to the lumberjack's rescue. He says some prayers, and the spider web disappears.
After his rescue, the lumberjack can't just forget about the beautiful woman, so he goes back to the waterfall and jumps in, never to be seen again.
By the way, Jorogumo literally translates to "whore spider."
Um, yeah. I see that now.