This squat creature, with his grotesque, potato-like head and straw-coat covered body is said to live on a certain mountain pass in Kumamoto prefecture. Apparently one evening an old woman was walking along this road with her grandson, when she turned to the boy and said, "A long time ago, a youkai called Aburasumashi lived here." But speak of the devil, no sooner had she said this than the very same little goblin ambled out of the undergrowth and informed the pair that he was still there!

The abura in this spectre's name means oil, and the sumashi refers to his unchanging facial expression, which always looks prim and unruffled. Aburasumashi and many other obake are said to be the transformed spirits of those who stole lamp oil, which in the days before electricity was a very valuable substance. Perhaps spirits are also drawn to oil because of their association with strange fires, and maybe they too need fuel to burn.


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