#atozchallenge – U is for Ubume, mourning her loss

Could you carry her poor child, just for a moment?

You might get a nasty surprise …

In Japanese folklore, the Ubume was the spirit of a woman who died in childbirth. She appears soaked in blood, carrying what looks like her swaddled infant. She often appears near rivers, begging passers-by to help her carry her baby across. Once someone takes up her child, she vanishes, leaving her victim compelled to carry the baby to safety. As the victim carries the ‘baby’, the bundle becomes heavier and heavier, until the swaddling comes off and the ‘baby’ is revealed to be a large stone, impossible to carry further. Some poor folk have then been pulled down by the weight of the stone, meeting a cold end as they drown in the river.


Image – Ubume on Wikipedia



4 comments on “#atozchallenge – U is for Ubume, mourning her loss

  1. Luna says:

    Oh wow! In my research for today’s post I came across similar characters in different cultures. A pregnant woman who dies during childbirth seems to be prevalent in many cultures. I posted about a similar character today but had to get creative to turn it into a U post. Well done with your A to Z. I am enjoying your posts. 🙂

  2. birgit says:

    Knowing me I would smile and keep walking by. These gals and their kids

  3. http://moonlightandhershadow.wordpress.com/ – my friend is posting Trinidad folklore – almost just like yours and her post for U is exactly the same as yours. So interesting that the stories are from different parts of the world yet the same almost!! You might enjoy her AtoZ actually.

  4. jazzfeathers says:

    I don’t know why, I’ve always been fascinated by water spirits. I like this story, and as other have mentioned, yeah, I know some other stories similar to this, coming from different part of the world.

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