PC028: The Tanuki-Kettle
Rated G. Contains objects and animals that refuse to remain in their platonic categories.
by Eugie Foster
As she opened the door, Hisa was surprised to see an iron kettle sitting on her step. It had a large, round belly and four stumpy legs. The spout was wide and curved like a fox’s mouth with two round, black eyes above it. And most curious, a pair of pointed triangles jutted from the top, exactly like a pair of ears.
“What an unusual teakettle.” Hisa looked, but there was no one about.
She set aside her broken pot and brought the new, iron one inside. She poured sweet, cool water into it. Where her old kettle took eight dippers of water, this new one required a full twelve to fill.
Hisa stoked the fire high and lifted the kettle to the hook.
“Mistress, I thank you for the drink, but please don’t put me on the fire.”
Hisa spun around, sloshing water on the floor. “Who said that?”
“It was I, mistress. The teakettle.”
Hisa stared at the iron pot in her hands. “Teakettles do not talk.”
“I’m only pretending to be a teakettle.”
About the Author
Eugie Foster (December 30, 1971 – September 27, 2014) was an American short story writer, columnist, and editor.
Her stories have been published in a number of magazines and book anthologies, including Fantasy Magazine, Realms of Fantasy, Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, and Interzone. Her collection of short stories, Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, was published in 2009.
After receiving her master’s degree in psychology, she retired from academia to pen flights of fancy. She also edited legislation for the Georgia General Assembly, which from time to time she suspected were another venture into flights of fancy. She was also a director for Dragon*Con and edited their onsite newsletter, the Daily Dragon.
Eugie received the 2009 Nebula Award for Best Novelette for “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” which you can listen to on Escape Pod. She’s also been a finalist for the Hugo, Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press, and British Science Fiction Association awards.
Foster died at Emory University Hospital on September 27, 2014 from respiratory failure, a complication of treatments for Large B-Cell Lymphoma. The day Foster died, Daily Science Fiction published her last short story, nominated for the Nebula award, “When it Ends, He Catches Her.” This story ran on PseudoPod.
About the Narrator
Tina Connolly’s books include the Ironskin and Seriously Wicked series, and the collection On the Eyeball Floor. She has been a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Norton, and World Fantasy awards. She co-hosts Escape Pod, runs Toasted Cake, and is at tinaconnolly.com.