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Baku – The Dream Eater

Ewa Nowogorski

Baku is yet another interesting mythological creature in Japanese lore. Legend has it that when the gods were creating animals, they had leftover pieces that they didn’t know what to do with, and so they assembled Baku out of scrap. Baku is a dream eater.

They have an appearance that resembles other animals, such as the body and gait of a big cat and the husks and trunk of an elephant. They have shy personalities. And they may seem a little scary, but they actually devour nightmares for you if you invite them too. Supposedly, if a child has a nightmare, they will wake up and have to repeat “Baku, come eat my dreams” 3 times.

The Baku will come and do so, but there is a risk of inviting him to do so. If your nightmare doesn’t satisfy him, the Baku will also eat your hopes and desires. So one must be careful.

In America, we don’t have creatures that come and consume our dreams for us. Instead we have dreamcatchers, which are charms you hang over your sleeping area to protect you. They originated from Native American traditions, but have become highly commercialized and misappropriated in modern American society. That is something to note about American lore as well. It changes greatly over time and almost always is borrowed from somewhere else.

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