knits by sachi

Raccoon dog’s spinning wheel

on February 25, 2014


There are some fairy tales related to spinning wheels. You know “Rumpelstiltskin”, the imp who span straw into gold and the world famous “Sleeping Beauty” who gets pricked with spindle and sleeps 100 years.

My favorite is the Japanese folktale called “Tanuki no itoguruma” meaning raccoon-dog’s spinning wheel.

Once there lived a couple in the woods.

The husband was a woodcutter and his wife, a spinner. I think she spun cotton since we did not have sheep in our country.

There was a mischievous little raccoon dog which came near the house time to time. He would turn the vegetable patch upside down, so the woodcutter set a trap to catch the raccoon dog.

And there, he got caught.
But the wife felt sorry and let him go.

“Don’t come back again. You will be cooked in a stew if you get caught.”

But at night when she was spinning the wheel as usual, she noticed a set of eyes peeking through the screen door.

The eyes went round and round as the wheel turned. She almost burst into a laughter but tried to pretend not to notice him.
‘ He could be naughty, but such a little cute thing.’ she thought.

Harsh winter arrived and the couple went down the mountain to spend the cold months in the village.

And the spring. They went back to their house in the woods.

The wife noticed the piles and piles of cotton rods stacked in the workroom.
She saw the raccoon dog spinning cotton with the wheel. When he finished spinning, he stacked the rod neatly just as the wife would usually do.

The raccoon dog noticed her and he ran away. But he turned around once and bowed to her.
How sweet.


This is my favorite of all folktales. I read it when I was in primary school

The images are taken from the Japanese language text book and is painted by Yutaka Murakami. I truly love his work.

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