The Ballad of Bushido Santa

One day, or so the story goes, Bushido Santa meets the God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King on the bridge up from Hell.

“Out of my way, kiddo,” says the Defier.

He’s kind of jovial, but his smile’s got teeth.

“Excuse me,” says Bushido Santa. “But I cannot allow you to pass. If you travel this route you will trouble the Earth and bring all measure of sorrows.”

“That’s true,” says the Yama King. “It’s my nature.”

“Please, sir,” says Bushido Santa. “You must stay below for now.”

The bridge is golden and there is a surf like white flowers. There are shining fish in the water and there are cherry blossom trees.

And Bushido Santa meets the Defier’s eyes and each of them, very slowly, puts his hand down to his sword.

(Except, of course, that Bushido Santa does not have a sword. He has a candy cane. But it is very large and, for a candy cane, surprisingly sharp.)

The Defier licks his lips.

Something passes between them, in their eyes.

“If you do this,” says the Defier, “you will die, and then the children of the world won’t have any Christmas presents.”

“That is as it must be,” says Bushido Santa.

So they move. They rush past one another, the sword and the candy cane moving too fast for the eye to see. Each of them stops at the end of their motion. Each of them waits, in stance.

Slowly, Bushido Santa falls.

“Heh,” snorts the God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King.

Bushido Santa hits the bridge with a thump. His mouth is slack, and from it trickles blood.

The God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King salutes.

Then he pauses.

He frowns.

He rubs at his chest, where his kimono is marked by a smear of candy-cane sugar. He sniffs at his fingers.

“I’m full of Christmas spirit,” says the Defier, in a tone of sick horror.

So that’s why, every year, presents still find their way to the children of the world, even though Bushido Santa is dead.

At least, that’s what most people say.

Some say it wasn’t the God-Defying Yama King on that bridge at all, but God.

Some say it was the monster.

And some say that that isn’t what really happened at all; but rather something far more strange and wonderful.

10 thoughts on “The Ballad of Bushido Santa

  1. Whoa! Is this just Jane’s fantasy about how some of the world’s problems might be solved? Or is it a glimpse of Martin’s (possible) future?

  2. It’s theologically complex, Metal Fatigue.

    First of all, Santa is Bushido Santa, which means that even though he’s a good guy, and honorable, he’s also committed to preserving the order of things as they are. Which is what happens in the story; every year, there is the same conflict, and as a result nothing changes. Bushido Santa is the hero who is sacrificed (and presumably comes back to life) every year, as part of the seasonal cycle.

    I have some trouble with the “God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King” because I’m not famliar enough with Japanese myth to know the classic attributes of Yama Kings. But “God-Defying Lightbringing” are the attributes of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods in order to bring it to man. This is did “trouble the Earth and bring all measure of sorrows” from the misuse of fire/technology, but it was also considered to be a generally good thing by the Greeks. A more negative interpretation of “God-Defying Lightbringing”, which also includes the meaning of Yama King as lord of the underworld, would be Lucifer. In this interpretation, and given the reference to Christmas, the sacrifice of Bushido Santa becomes more Christlike. That would be the interpretation “that most people would say.”

    The “some say” lines at the end provide other varients. If it was God being stopped on the bridge, then Gnosticism is indicated, with God either referring to the Demiurge or Bushido Santa being the Demiurge. If it was the monster, then this could be a reference to the Hitherby monster, or it could be a sort of humanistic or atheistic varient that sees the problem as being one of human psychopathology.

    I’d say that the final line might reflect a determination on Jane and Martin’s part to do things differently than in the standard mythic fashions. All of the different classic modes of sacrifice and conflict have been referenced in one way or another; but the last line says that there is another possible way that is more “strange and wonderful” and therefore better.

  3. GoldenH: I do not think it makes any sense whatsoever for the God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King to be a mini-lop.

    Rich: someone (possibly me) needs to go through the archives and collate every mention of Santa.

  4. GoldenH: I do not think it makes any sense whatsoever for the God-Defying Lightbringing Yama King to be a mini-lop.

    Even if Bun-bun wouldn’t make a perfect God-Defying Lighbrining Yama King, he’d probably have have killed the old one first in his killing-spree :D

    I think that it totally makes sense that one might tell the tale with ‘m as god or the monster, too.

  5. The Sluggy Freelance interpretation, as with Disney’s “The Santa Clause,” (I’m sure there’s a classier derivation underlying here but I know it not)– there is a tradition whereby the identity and office of Santa Clause or the Spirit of Christmas are intertwined– and further that in slaying such an entity one assumes the office and thereby the identity.

    If you kill Santa Claus, you become Santa Claus.

    While that isn’t precisely the /mechanism/ employed here, it is the effect– rather than violate the parameters of his existence, he sacrifices his life, knowing that the office will be inherited and thus the essence of the idenity preserved.

    Evil Viral Messiah Bushido Santa Claus.

  6. The Sluggy Freelance interpretation <snip>

    This is a discussion that really needed a Sluggy interpretation. It ain’t always so serious, people.

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