The Tanuki of Green Temple

    Once, there was a tanuki that wandered deep into the mountains. He came across a temple that had been long forgotten by men and decided to make it his home. The tanuki was lazy, so he did very little to restore the temple to its former beauty. He was content to inflate his testicles and sit on them, basking in the sun.

 One day, he heard the sounds of a man from the village at the base of the mountains fumbling through the foliage. In a panic, the tanuki used his magic to disguise himself as a monk sitting in meditation upon a rock. When the villager came across the tanuki, the villager gasped in amazement.

    “I didn’t know that anyone still lived here!” he exclaimed when he saw the tanuki in disguise. The tanuki tried to concentrate as hard as he could, hoping that the villager would think that he was in deep meditation.

    The villager poked and prodded at the tanuki, but the tanuki said nothing. The villager sat across from the tanuki and studied him in amazement.

    “You must be divine to be able to be so deeply entranced,” said the villager. The villager squinted at the disguised tanuki to see if there was any sign that he was listening. The villager observed that the tanuki was not listening, but that a tail was poking out from under the disguised tanuki’s saffron colored robes. The villager smiled and pretended to walk away. The tanuki opened one eye, very slightly, to see if the villager had truly left and saw that the villager was standing far away and was lifting his shirt.

    No! thought the tanuki, He knows what I am!

    The villager began to bang on his stomach in a marching rhythm and sang:

Even though there is no wind
The tan-tan-tanuki’s balls
Are sway-sway-swaying

I know you hear my joyful call
Come on tan-tan-tanuki
Come dan-dan-dance!

The tanuki tried to fight the urge to dance, but it overcame him. He flipped into the air and stomped the ground joyously. He sang along loudly, swinging his testicles wildly until he regained his composure. The villager smiled and clapped. He had heard of tanuki, but he never imagined he would meet one.

   “No!” cried the tanuki, “how did you know?”

    “When I saw your tail, I knew what you were. Every child in the village knows what a tanuki is. Yet, what brings you here?”

    “I like to be alone,” said the tanuki. “When I’m alone, no one can judge me for being idle. There’s no one to chase after me, telling me to clear leaves and fix roofs. A domestic life isn’t a life for a tanuki.”

    An idea crawled into the villager’s mind: he remembered how he believed the tanuki was a monk; he began to imagine people coming from all over to see the wise man of the woods. However, he would have to convince the tanuki.

    “You could simply sit in meditation through the day. You could even be asleep. People will love to see the unmoving wiseman of the Green Temple.”

    “But what if they see my tail like you did?” asked the tanuki.

    “No one will know who you are,” assured the man.

    The tanuki agreed and in the weeks that followed, people began coming to the temple. The man from the village would explain to the visitors that the monk of the Green Temple was wise and could solve any problem. Visitors could tell the monk their problems and he would reach out to them through the ethers to give them a solution. At first the tanuki was content to listen to the problems of the farmers from the village, but when a woman came from the town outside the village, he couldn’t stay silent.

    “My husband makes too many demands,” explained the woman, “I can’t sleep because he hassles me through the night. When I get up in the morning, I’m tired and he expects even more from me. What should I do?”

    The tanuki’s eyes opened and he looked at the woman. She was beautiful but haggard. He clenched his prayer beads and spoke, saying:

    “A man shouldn’t want more than a woman will provide. You must teach him to do some tasks for himself. Guide him tenderly and he will see the right way.”

    The woman blushed, but the tanuki didn’t know why. How could housework be something to blush about? Unsure of how to react, he grinned uncomfortably and the woman saw his sharp teeth and recognized him for what he was. She glanced around and saw that no others were there and the tanuki eyed her suspiciously.

    The woman lifted her skirt above her knee, showing a bit of her fleshy thigh.

    No! thought the tanuki, She knows what I am!

    The woman began to slap her thigh in a marching rhythm and sang:

I know you hear my joyful call
Come on tan-tan-tanuki
Come dan-dan-dance!

The tanuki’s eyes narrowed and his mouth contorted into a frown. His right foot began to tap and his left leg started to bounce. Try as he might, he couldn’t fight the urge to dance. He leaped into the air and spun, lifting his robes and swinging his testicles in the breeze. The woman and the tanuki danced arm-in-arm, laughing, until the tanuki regained his composure.

“How did you know?” asked the tanuki.

“When I saw your teeth, I knew what you were. The old folks taught some of the children in town what a tanuki was. I didn’t think they existed anymore! What brings you here?”

 “I used to like to be alone,” said the tanuki. “When I was alone, no one could judge me for being idle. I got bored of being alone, so I started listening to people‘s problems. As I listened, I started to care about them.”

 A terrible idea crawled into the woman’s mind, and she was afraid to say it out loud. She worked up the courage, and then said:

 “What if someone bad found out what you are?” asked the woman. “They might take you away and open you up, trying to find out the secret of your powers.”

 The tanuki felt his testicles drop to the ground in fear. He thought of the good he was doing by listening to the problems of people. When they spoke to him, they left feeling lighter. He was helping, but he was worried that it could turn out poorly for him.

 “You could stop,” the woman suggested.

 “No,” said the tanuki, “what I do is good for people. No one that does good is punished for the good they do. Fate will treat me well. I am sure of that.”

 The woman wished the tanuki well and returned to town. The tanuki felt confident that he had done the right thing. He listened to the problems of all that came to him through the rest of the day and into the night, offering advice when he felt it was right. When the moon rose, the tanuki walked around the Green Temple and spotted an old paper umbrella that someone must have dropped.

 He waddled over to it and was astonished when the umbrella’s eye opened.

 “Left behind again,” complained the umbrella as its handle transformed into a well-muscled leg.

 “A karakasa!” exclaimed the tanuki. He was well acquainted with all manner of creatures, including the strange living umbrellas.

 “Left behind, left behind. No one loves me, no one loves me,” said the karakasa in a sing-song voice. The tanuki sighed and shook his head.

 “Stop pitying yourself,” admonished the tanuki.

 “Not for me, not for me. All my pity is for you! All alone, all alone!”

 “That’s the way I prefer.” said the tanuki.

 “No one will protect you! No one, no one. When the bad man comes, you will be gone. No more tanuki, tanuki will be no more.”

 “Quiet!” ordered the tanuki.

 “No one, no one! No one loves…”

 The tanuki inflated his testicles and made them hard as a rock. He swung them with all his might and smashed the karakasa, sending it flying into the night.

 The next day, the tanuki’s eyes were dark from a lack of sleep. He sat on his testicles in the sun but found no joy in it. People came from far and wide and he listened attentively. His lack of sleep made him feel mean, so when he offered advice, he hid it inside of enigmatic riddles. The afternoon became cloudy and with it came news. A man from the city was coming, and he was known to be cruel.

 The tanuki worried and was nearly shaking when the man from the city sat before him. The man brought cameras with him and a dozen hangers-on. He was slick and sly, and when he smiled, his eyes frowned.

 “Seer,” he said, “Tell me: what is the worth of this temple?”

 “It is worth nothing and everything,” said the tanuki.

 “What is the worth of the village?” the man asked.

 “It is worth nothing and everything.” said the tanuki.

 “What is the worth of the city?” the man asked.

 “It is worth nothing and everything.” said the tanuki.

 “What do you mean?” asked the man.

 “You’ve had my answers. You can make of them what you will.” said the tanuki, defiantly. These weren’t the sort of questions the tanuki liked being asked.

 The man smiled genuinely and said:

 “I know what you are.”

 “How do you know?” asked the tanuki.

 “Because these answers are all rubbish.”

 The tanuki was puzzled and scratched his head.

 “They aren’t rubbish,” argued the tanuki, “they are the truth. The city by itself is worth nothing. It is the people within it that make it worth something. The same goes for the town, the village, and the temple.”

 The man nodded and said:

 “You are a wise seer.” and bade for the cameras to be shut off. As the man left, he sang quietly to himself:

Come on tan-tan-tanuki
Come dan-dan-dance!

The tanuki grinned to himself. The man would need more than that to make him dance.

About harrylthompsonjr

I'm a writer, a photographer, and a lover of role playing games. I've moved my blog to wordpress in hopes of actually getting some feedback. We'll see :)
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3 Responses to The Tanuki of Green Temple

  1. harrylthompsonjr says:

    That is my first attempt at coloring using watercolor pencils. I don’t think it is terrible, but I need to give it another go, and perhaps just use regular watercolors. I learned the valuable lesson that I should work MUCH larger if I intend on using the watercolor pencils to color in my work again. Additionally, I learned that trying to letter in watercolor pencils is terribly hard when the letters are terribly small. Lessons, lessons, lessons.

    I’m happy with the story, but will re-evaluate it in a week or two.

    Not too shabby for a weekend’s work.


    • ~m says:

      It can be a challenge to get fine details with watercolour pencils!

      What paper you’re working on is important, too.
      Drawing paper is too thin of course, but most watercolour paper has too much tooth for fine detail.
      One way to get fine detail is to look for cold-pressed paper, which will be smoother. Then get a very fine tip on your pencil and damp it directly.
      THEN do the details or lettering, keeping water at hand to rewet your pencil tip.

      Then again, not everyone likes to do paintings inside of matchboxes.
      Maybe it’s just easiest to work larger, lol….

  2. Sarah says:

    Good job Hun! Love the story. His balls are really gross.

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