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Japanese tale #32 – The spinner and the tanuki


Once upon a time, there was a woodcutters couple who spent all the good season up high in the mountains.

The lumberjack worked hard all day long, cutting trees and burning wood to make charcoal. And his wife sat dutifully in front of her spinning wheel, her nimble fingers coiling fine glossy threads.

Everyday, after her man had left for the woods, a tanuki came sniffing around the camp. Searching for food, the beast lazed around, rummaging through the woodcutters’ belongings.

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Japanese Tale #31 – A grumpy kitten


Once upon a time, there was a prosperous merchant who held a grocery store in old Edo. Hundred and hundred of sacks and crates were stocked from floor to ceiling. The place was always crowded with customers, with many lively clerks running errands everywhere around.

The man had a beautiful calico cat he pampered, sure his good fortune was directly linked to his furry friend lucky aura. He would say to patrons:

– Isn’t she the loveliest cat around? Look how beautiful she is! Come, come pet her, she’s so sweet and soft! Oh and have you seen, I have just received…

On the scene went on and on.

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Japanese tale #30 – The bell of Mugen


Once upon a time, there was a little town called Mugen where stood a famous temple. It was an old respectable institution and its monks were proud… but also haughty and arrogant.

One day, it came to their ears that a faraway shrine had just blessed a new beautiful bell. One monk raged:

– Our temple is the best for miles around. How could we let a second class shrine outshine us? We should have the greatest bell!

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Japanese Tale #29 – The feathered cloak


Once upon a time, deep in the heart of Japan, there was a small village which stood near a huge lake. In such a remote area, of dark forests and treacherous rocks, the quiet lake was a true blessing.

Calm, clear water spread as far as the eye could see. This serene world, made of greys and blues, was only disrupted by the smooth glide of waterbirds and the rippling rings of fishes.

The small village was a fishermen community. All got up long before dawn, laying out nets and creels. And just at the break of day, silent barques slid effortlessly on the lake, ready for catch.

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Japanese tale #27 – A paper bride

paper bride.jpg

Once upon a time, in a poor household of old Edo, lived an old woman and her grandson.

The young man was lazy and relied a lot on his grandmother. He never helped at home and spent all his days drinking and wagering at local gambling den.

The old lady was out and about all day, preparing meals or doing laundry for rich people. Leaving home at dawn, she always came back very late and weary.

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Japanese tales #26 – The year of the Rooster

rooster year.jpg

Once upon a time, there was a small village where two little farms stood side by side.

In one of them, lived a farmer named Tora-san. He was a keen hunter and a hard-working man, with a booming voice and large calloused hands. His fields were always neat and tidy as was his wooden house.

The other farm was inhabited by a strange man named Tori-san. Lanky, always daydreaming, Tora-san’s neighbor was not a very good farmer. His fields were always full of weeds and his house always seemed dusty.

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Japanese tale #25 – The Deers and the Rabbits


Once upon a time, long, long time ago, all rabbits had a horn growing on their foreheads.

Rabbits were very proud of their looks. They spent a lot of time grooming their silky white furs and polishing their horns until they shone like pearls.

Whenever they crossed other animals, rabbits would brag:

– See how beautiful we are! Have you ever encountered anyone with a coat as soft or a horn as precious as ours?

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Japanese tale #23 – The sleeping wolf


Once upon a time, there was a mountain monk who decided it was time to make his pilgrimage to a far away shrine. He packed the few things he owned and took the road, crossing valleys and fields until he arrived to a mighty forest.

It was an amazing place, beautiful and wild. A tiny little path went through the woods, sole evidence of the presence of men on those lands. The huge trees shaded the forest ground, turning the daylight into an eerie twilight. The monk summoned all his courage and went on his way.

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