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The Legend of the Ghost Spear Fishers

Somewhere in the world possibly Korea, some years ago or so possibly around 16th 17th century CE, there was a medium sized fishing village that was somewhat prosperous as they had rich fishing grounds and occasional pearl oysters for trading. This made the village stand out and seem relatively prosperous. Although not an easy life, it was also not too difficult and relatively peaceful.

There came time of a great war in the land across the water in distant Japan. It's sons and young fathers were conscripted into the local Lords army's leaving the village only with the very young, women and the very old. Life was much harder but not impossible. But it was also unprotected.

Towards the end of the war, the village was set upon by deserters; those who were running away from the war and stumbled across this defenseless fishing village. They saw it as a good and easy place to hide until things settled down. The village was not totally unused to deserters and people fleeing the war. They usually did not mind to help the people as long as they continued along their way. This time though, the amount of soldiers that came would have been even difficult to deal with if the whole village would have been there. Now with only the older & the younger and women, the armed soldiers took over the village and made themselves comfortable.

The deserters were not nice people and this seemed like a good place to wait out the war. With no resistance possible, the deserters made themselves comfortable, taking full control of the village and people. After weeks of abuse, rapes and killing, the town elders saw that they needed to do something, but what?

With the increased mouths to feed, most of the village, except for a few of the youngest and some women (who were being held captive) went out fishing. This was not good for the older people, but it was good for planing and deciding without being heard or seen by the invaders. They devised a subtle plan, based on local legend and the usual fear of the occult of the time, that they hoped would rid them of their tormentors. All that was needed now is for the deserters to get drunk again, one night. They did not have long to wait when again, the deserters, now also taken to highway robbery to get drink and loot, got drunk again. The villagers plan sprung into action.


In the early morning, when the spring mist started flowing in from the see, all the villagers whitened themselves and their equipment with flower; some painted their faces and spear tips red with chicken blood and then they all made their way to the waters edge. With fishing spears, sharpened sticks, wooden forks, all whitened to blend into the mist, they walked back towards the village under the cover of the early morning fog. Using a fish-bone music instrument to create an eerie wail, they approached the village unseen, but not unnoticed. The rolling fog, the eerie sound, the befuddled alcohol misted minds, lack of sleep made all the deserters see ghosts in the mist. Although the villagers Weapons were not made to kill, the fishing spear did puncture clothing and skin to cause pain, pricks with sharp sticks to exposed skin and whacks with shovels and sticks, coupled with a hit and run, back into the mist tactic, totally confused and panicked the invaders. The occasional red-blood-faced screaming apparition appearing from the mist, giving a solid whack on the head and disappearing was just too much. The deserters ran, and ran.

When, as usual, the mist lifted later that morning, there were only the villagers left. No one had been killed, not even any of the invaders. This was not within the villagers to kill. But all invaders had run away, confused, bleeding and totally scared (as wild stories later from nearby villages and towns came back to the ears of the villagers). The invaders left all their belongings behind. Although not a compensation for all the pain, damage & grief, a small bonus in Weaponry, materials and loot helped the villagers to get over most the pain. As a bonus, the village gained a reputation for being haunted and protected by the Spirits of their Dead Ancestors. This was an additional protection and reduced the vulnerability of the villagers to similar events.

Ghost Spear Description

The Fishing Spear (before it was made white to disappear in the fog) was about 3 to 4 meters long with a triple prong, slightly barbed head. Some heads could have up to 4 or 5 metal prongs but as all such things, metal was expensive. Often fish bone could also be used. At the other end, the Fishing spear had a sturdy rope that the fishermen would loop around their wrist to secure the Spear from being lost overboard.

The Spear can possibly be one of the oldest weapons as evidence has been found of primates using sharpened sticks (sharpened by their teeth) for fishing.

If you have any QTIPS (Questions, Thoughts, Ideas, Problems or Suggestions) for this article, please contact Sijo Robert Z by e-mail sijo@shaolin.com.au. Thank you.

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