I caught the Tanuki and hung the beast from the rafters. Then I told my wife that when I got home from work, we would kill him and cook him for dinner. I was feeling pretty good about myself when I returned to the forest.

When I got home, I was ravenous, and my wife gave me a good meal. I didn’t even think to look up in the rafters for the Tanuki. Then suddenly, my wife rips off her clothes and it’s the Tanuki. Where’s my wife? “You’ve eaten her!” he declares. “And if you want to find her bones, you’ll have to look under the floorboards.” Then he scrambles back to the forest.

Why did I think I could kill a Tanuki?

The Peasant Who was Tricked by the Tanuki in The Slaying of the Tanuki, Pink Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.

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