Bunbuku chagama: The magic kettle

Long long ago, there was a temple which named “Morinji” at Tatebayashi.

One day, a man was walking in the woods. He found a raccoon caught in a trap. Then he felt sorry that he set him free.

The other day, passing the same way, he found an old tea kettle in the woods. Since he felt it was a pity to waste it, he bought it and cleaned. Then the tea kettle seemed very wonderful.

He thought “The priest of Morinji temple is looking for a nice tea kettle. It will be good for him!” The priest was glad to see this nice tea kettle that paid much money for the dealer.

The temple was very busy with the big Buddhist service to serve tea. However, how much the priest poured hot water, there wasn't enough water in the tea kettle.

At midnight, a noise woke the priest up. When he saw in the dark room, a raccoon took the shape of the tea kettle! He was petrified with terror.

The priest called all young priests, but it was just an ordinary tea kettle. Everybody said, “You must have dreamed it.”

Next morning, the priest called the dealer and said “It looks something strange and weird. I want to destroy it.” Suddenly surprising raccoon dog stuck out his head and limbs from the tea kettle, then they were surprised, too.

The raccoon, quite crestfallen, told them, “I wanted to repay for the dealer’s kindness, but it was hard for me to continue ducking my limbs and tried to stretch them. At that time, he just found my figure.” The priest laughed loud and said, “Splendid! I am satisfied with the success of the Buddhist memorial service. Thanks to you.”

The priest also said, “I want to show the village’s people this raccoon tea kettle.” The raccoon was glad to hear, and made a promise to show the people his performance.

Young priests informed all over the village. “We will hold the amazing performance at the temple. The raccoon’s rope walking, dance and, tumble! Everybody, come and see!”

Many people came to the temple. The raccoon dog tea kettle was a ropewalking while dancing and tumbling on the rope! Everybody was surprised and applauded loudly. Then raccoon tea kettle became popular, and a number of people came to see his peformance from villages remote from the temple.

The priest used much money, which was the entrance fee, for the village to construct the bridge or bank on the river. So he named this raccoon “Bun-buku Chagama” that means "happiness bubbling over like a tea pot." Now Bun-buku Chagama is sleeping at the temple Morinji. It is said he sometimes streches his limbs from the tea kettle and walks around the temple in the midnight. 

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