The Nue is a legendary creature from Japanese folklore, sometimes called the Japanese Chimera. Because of its ability to transform into a black cloud and fly around, the Nue is reputed to bring misfortune and illness.
A hybrid of several animals, the beast has the head of a monkey, the body of a tanuki (raccoon dog), the legs of a tiger, and the tail of a snake.
The most famous story involving a Nue is told in The Tale of the Heike, a classic of medieval Japanese literature. In 1153, the Emperor Konoe of Japan began to have nightmares and to fall ill.
The source of his illness was a dark cloud that appeared on the palace roof each night. One night, the samurai Yorimasu Monamoto stood watch on the roof and, when the cloud appeared, shot an arrow into it. Out fell a dead Nue, which the samurai submerged in the Sea of Japan.