English Story: Kachi-kachi Yama

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Once upon a time there lived a pair of grandparents. Whenever Grandpa worked in the fields, the tanuki came to disturb him by singing. The lyrics of the song sung by the tanuki contain a curse that the harvest will fail. Not only that, the tanuki also dig and eat the sweet potato seeds that grandfather planted in the field. Grandpa was furious and set a trap. The tanuki was caught in a trap, tied up, and brought home. After being placed in the kitchen, grandfather returned to the field. The grandmother who met the tanuki in the kitchen agreed to let her go, because she had been lied to by the tanuki who promised to help clean the house. After being released, the tanuki instead beat the grandmother and killed her.

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The grandmother’s meat is cooked by tanuki into soup. Grandpa’s return from the field was greeted by a tanuki who had transformed into the grandmother. Grandpa ate the soup that “grandmother” served deliciously. After the soup was eaten, the “grandmother” turned back into a tanuki and told her everything. Laughing, the tanuki returned to the mountain.

The grandfather’s best friend rabbit heard of this incident and decided to take revenge. Tanuki happens to know rabbits and believes the rabbit’s invitation to collect firewood in exchange for money. After the dry twigs were collected, Tanuki walked ahead while carrying the dry twigs. The rabbit followed behind because he wanted to burn the dry twigs on the tanuki’s back. Tanuki could hear the “creak” sound of the two flints hitting the rabbits, but her vision was blocked by the dry twig she was carrying. “What’s that ‘creak’ sound?” asked the tanuki. The hare replied, “Oh, that’s the creaking creak from the creaky mountain over there.”

After successfully burning the tanuki’s back, the rabbit visited the burnt tanuki. Tanuki was given mustard which the rabbit thought was a burn ointment. Mustard smeared on the burn on the back of the tanuki made the tanuki even more painful.

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At the end of the story, the tanuki is invited by the rabbit to go fishing in the lake. The boat that the rabbit rides on is made of wood, but the tanuki is given a boat made of mud. Exposed to the water, the mud boat softens and sinks. The tanuki swam as hard as he could to shore, but was beaten by a rabbit with an oar and drowned.

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