- See also: List of Folktales
There was an old farmer and his wife whose neighbour was a mischievous Badger, who would come into his land and ruin his farm. And so the old man tried waited night after night with a club but didn’t kill the Badger. He tried instead to lay a trap and one day found the Badger had been caught in a hole he had dug. He strung the badger up in their home telling his wife to watch the creature as tonight when he returned he would cook him for dinner.
The Badger, hung upside down wanted to escape and watching the old woman outside pounding barley offered to help her if she let him down. She refused. But the Badger then tricked her saying if she untied him, he would help her and she could tie him up again before her husband came home. Being innocent and trusting she untied the Badger. The creature then killed her with a pestle, cutting her up for soup. And upon the return of the husband took the form of his wife.
He waits for the old man to unknowingly eat his wife before turning back into his true form. And flees. Distraught the old man begins to cry when a good-natured Rabbit hears him and asks what is wrong. The old man tells the rabbit what has happened and says he will help him seek revenge.
The next day the Rabbit find the Badger, who invites him to join him and cut grass. He agrees, thinking the Rabbit his friend. Storing all the cut grass on their back take home for the winter, the Rabbit sets the grass on the Badgers back on fire.
Next the Rabbit says he will give him ointment for the burns, but he puts red pepper on his burns, causing the Badger agony. However, after a month, the burns of the Badger healed.
The Rabbit then talked about the delight of fishing on a fine day and the Badger wished to join him. The Rabbit agrees and goes home to build two boats for them. He builds a boat of wood for himself and a boat of clay for the Badger.
On the water, he proposed they have a race, the Badger agreeing. His clay boat begins to fall apart and he asks the Rabbit for help. The Rabbit says no, that he will avenge the murder of the old woman and so his hits the Badger with his or until he sinks with the ship. Killing him.
He returns to the old farmer with the news and the to of them lived happily together after that.1
1. Ozaki, Y.T. (1903) “The Japanese Fairy Book” Westminster: Archibald Constable and Co. Ltd. .
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