Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kachi Kachi Mountain

Once upon a time, an old man and an old woman lived in a house that faced the mountains.  They grew some vegetables in the garden, but it was often ruined by a tanuki, a raccoon dog who lived on the mountain.  Since they were annoyed by the tanuki, they wanted to get rid of him.  One day, the old man set a trap, and he succeeded in catching the tanuki,  He returned home with the tanuki, and after a while, he went to the garden again.  Only the old woman stayed in the house with the tanuki.  He knew that the old woman was kind.  So he schemed to escape, and he deceived her.  He said, "I would never play a trick.  Please set me free."  She believed him and set him free, but the tanuki killed her.  When the old man returned, he found her, and he felt very sad.  While he was feeling sad, a rabbit came, and said, "Please don't be sad; I won't fail to revenge her."
   Another day, the rabbit asked the tanuki to carry firewood on his back.  When he carried that, the rabbit struck a fire with a flint, then the flint made the noise "kachi kachi."  The tanuki asked the rabbit, "What is that noise?"  "This is called Kachi Kachi Mountain.  Don't worry."  At last, the rabbit succeeded in setting a fire, and the tanuki was burned.
   Another day, the rabbit pretended to be another rabbit, and said to the tanuki, "Oh, you got terribly burned.  I have some good ointment, and I'll give it to you."  The tanuki put it on his back, and he felt sore.  In fact, it was not ointment but mustard.  The tanuki was very angry.
   On a different day, the rabbit pretended to be another rabbit again.  He made a wooden boat, and invited the tanuki to catch fish.  The rabbit advised the tanuki, "If you make a mud boat, you can catch many fish."  The tanuki believed that, and made a mud boat.  At the same time, they started catching fish; of course, the mud boat sank with the tanuki.
   The tanuki regretted what he did, and promised that he would never play another trick.
   Thanks to the rabbit, the old man could live in peace for a long time.
   -Akiko Iwano

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