The Teapot Badger
A Japanese Folk Tale from the "Folktales and Legends" program booklet from
the 39th Annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival.
once a poor old man who was kind to everyone, especially to children. He told
them stories, taught them how to paint pictures and write, and shared whatever
little bits of food he managed to grow in his garden. "That is a fine old man!"
said Badger. I think I will reward him for his kindness." Badger went to the old
man's house and turned himself into a teapot full of delicious tea. When the old
man found the teapot, he was very much surprised and happy, for he had never
been able to afford a teapot.
In the evening, three children came to the
old man's garden. "Tell us a story," they pleaded.
"I'll tell you a true
story, today," said the man. And he told the three children about the magic
teapot. When the story was done, he went to the orchard to pick some fruit for
his guests. While the old man was gone, the children said, "Let's go into the
house and take the magic teapot."
As the children crept into the house,
the pot turned back into Badger. His long teeth flashing and his tail waving in
anger, Badger chased after the thieves, nipping at their heels and growling
fiercely. The children fled from the house screaming and hollering, while Badger
laughed and laughed.
"Whatever is the matter?" called the old man from
"Your teapot is really Badger!" sobbed the children. "Look
here, he nipped our feet!"
How can a teapot be Badger?" said the old
man. He went into his house. There was the teapot same as ever. The man came out
and said to the children, "Surely you were dreaming!" Then he went back to the
The old man suddenly heard screams and hollers coming from
inside the house. The children had gone back in to harm the teapot, but he
turned into Badger. "Never mistreat me!" he snarled. At the same time the old
man hobbled back into the house. As the old man was about to hit Badger he told
the old man what had happened. The children were red with shame.
house is no place for me," said Badger finally. "Here is what we'll do, old man.
You and I shall travel on the roads together and give shows along the way. It
will be a magic show where I will turn back and forth between teapot and Badger.
People will give us many gold coins to see this wonderful trick."
the way the old man finally became rich. Then he came back home and put the
teapot in a little temple on the top of the hill in his orchard. It was greatly
honored there, especially by the children who had once tried to steal it.