My first look into multiple tailed snakes yielded a few pictures of freaky looking snakes with two tails and I would not dare show my wife as she is already scared of snakes enough without putting that image into her head. Then I broadened my search to other animals and found several lizards who accidentally grew back an extra tail after a bird made off with one. Then I came across this cool picture.
|I don't care for cats anyway, but that is just freaky.|
The Japanese have quite a few stories about magical foxes named kitsune who have multiple tails. They get one tail for each 100 years they live, the most being 10 tails, belonging to the mother of all kitsune. These creatures are tricksters who serve the rice god, Inari. There is a pretty good article comparing them to the Native American coyote trickster figure that you can read here: http://www.ranea.org/watts/writing/kitsune.html
Since my questioner already knew about the kitsune, I don't want to dwell too much on them. So I continued my search for stories. It seems that the Japanese have cornered the market on multiple-tailed creatures. Japanese vampires can take the form of cats to sneak up on you. You can tell if a cat is a Japanese vampire, by noticing that it has two tails.
Now, why would an ordinary household cat wish to turn into a monster? The power of course. Once a cat turns into a bakeneko, it can walk on it's hind legs, fly, talk, shoot fireballs, turn corpses into zombies, and shape shift into human form. What do they use these powers for? Usually just to torment/eat their human owners. The sad thing is that this isn't even just some crazy myth. If a person owns cats and dies of natural causes while at home, the cat will start to eat the corpse of its owner. And you wonder why I'm not a cat person?
Outside of Japan, I was running out of luck finding examples of multi-tailed animals. Like I said, Cerberus has three tails (and even up to 50 as one legend has it). Echinda, mother of monsters in Greek mythology has a snake tail and I found one web page that claimed she had a snake tail that was split in two, but that was not a thought echoed on most sites. Egypt also has a story about the Set Animal. This is an animal sacred to Set (duh) and resembles a wild dog and has a stiff tail that is often forked. Not really multi-tailed, but I'm running out of possibilities.
Of course, Sonic the Hedgehog's friend, Miles "Tails" Prower lets us know that having two tails is mainly for twirling them like a helicopter and saving your friends when they get into a bind.
So Thomas, I'm afraid I have failed you. It's at this point that I'm giving up on finding more myths about multiple tailed beasts. There just isn't that many out there. I'm calling on all of Bubo's Blog fan base (both of you) to volunteer any information that you have about this.
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