From Stephen Turnbull’s History of the Ninja:
“Circa 1570: Several popular works mention an attempt by Hajikano Jube’e to kill the famous ninja Momochi Sandayu using a bagful of hungry weasels, though I have not been able to trace the original source. Sandayu apparently thwarted the assassination by the unlikely act of throwing a bag of rat manure over Jube’e, at which the weasels turned their attentions to him, and bit Jube’e to death.”
I somehow doubt this is a true story, but it seems like a well-circulated tale. I just… I’m floored by everything about this. So many questions arise.
Why go to the effort to catch and starve a pack of weasels?
Do weasels even eat people?
Why didn’t the weasels just attack the guy who was keeping them in a bag? He had to have been closer than his target.
Who carries a bag of rat feces on them? Does it help to have some on you at all times, just in case?
What about rat feces makes a person more appetizing?
Are rat feces just so damn delicious that a weasel hungry enough to attack a person will do an about-face and attack someone else?
But let’s give this story the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Hajikano Jube’e was trying to gain some cred with his fellow ninja. Maybe his friends had done super stylish murders like luring someone into a catapult and launching them to their doom, or developing an immunity to poison and then taking such a large dose they could kill someone by farting in their face, and he was just trying to one-up them. Maybe the bag of rat feces was left on Momochi Sandayu’s doorstep by some neighborhood pranksters and he was just carrying it into the woods to dispose of it. And maybe he wasn’t planning on the weasels reacting the way they did; if I happened to be carrying a bag of feces when someone tried to kill me, you can bet I’d throw it at them. Then, if I died, at least I got crap all over them first.
In any case, I think we can learn a valuable lesson here: when you’re doing a dangerous job, getting fancy is a good way to get killed. And if you simply can’t resist endangering yourself for the sake of style, pick your occasion. Faff about with weasels when you’re assassinating a minister of finance, not a damn ninja.