A long time ago, at a temple called Morinji, in the province
of Jôshiu, there was an old tea-kettle. One day, when the
priest of the temple was about to hang it over the hearth to
boil the water for his tea, to his amazement, the kettle all of
a sudden put forth the head and tail of a badger. What a
wonderful kettle, to come out all over fur! The priest,
thunderstruck, called in the novices of the temple to see the
sight; and whilst they were stupidly staring, one suggesting
one thing and another, the kettle, jumping up into the air,
began flying about the room. More astonished than ever, the
priest and his pupils tried to pursue it; but no thief or cat
was ever half so sharp as this wonderful badger-kettle. At
last, however, they managed to knock it down and secure it;
and, holding it in with their united efforts, they forced it
into a box, intending to carry it off and throw it away in some
distant place, so that they might be no more plagued by the
goblin. For this day their troubles were over; but, as luck
would have it, the tinker who was in the habit of working for
the temple called in, and the priest suddenly bethought him
that it was a pity to throw the kettle away for nothing, and
that he might as well get a trifle for it, no matter how small.
So he brought out the kettle, which had resumed its former
shape and had got rid of its head and tail, and showed it to
the tinker. When the tinker saw the kettle, he offered twenty
copper coins for it, and the priest was only too glad to close
the bargain and be rid of his troublesome piece of furniture.
But the tinker trudged off home with his pack and his new
purchase. That night, as he lay asleep, he heard a strange
noise near his pillow; so he peeped out from under the
bedclothes, and there he saw the kettle that he had bought in
the temple covered with fur, and walking about on four legs.
The tinker started up in a fright to see what it could all
mean, when all of a sudden the kettle resumed its former shape.
This happened over and over again, until at last the tinker
showed the tea-kettle to a friend of his, who said, "This is
certainly an accomplished and lucky tea-kettle. You should take
it about as a show, with songs and accompaniments of musical
instruments, and make it dance and walk on the tight rope."
THE ACCOMPLISHED AND LUCKY TEA-KETTLE.
The tinker, thinking this good advice, made arrangements
with a showman, and set up an exhibition. The noise of the
kettle's performances soon spread abroad, until even the
princes of the land sent to order the tinker to come to them;
and he grew rich
beyond all his
expectations. Even the princesses, too, and the great ladies
of the court, took great delight in the dancing kettle, so
that no sooner had it shown its tricks in one place than it
was time for them to keep some other engagement. At last the
tinker grew so rich that he took the kettle back to the
temple, where it was laid up as a precious treasure, and
worshipped as a saint.