Like Shippeitaro, this tale is confusing because of its non-western roots. Unlike the classic Japanese Fairy tale reviewed two weeks ago, the story “The Wonderful Tea Kettle” jumps around a lot. At first it sounds like a genie, trapped in a magical lamp trope. Before that you get a hint of no one but a certain man can see the creature and everyone thinks he’s crazy.
Backtracking a bit to give some more context, the “wonderful” part of the tea kettle is the fact that the dishware can turn into a partial badger. From the narrator’s description it sounds like only the arms, legs, and head are from a badger. This conjures up a strange image in the mind, but for a short story a lot happens in the span of a few minutes. It’s almost like someone tried to cram a novellette’s worth of stuff into a short story and cut some important bits. The man who first see’s the tea kettle turn into a badger is treated like a classic western fairy tale character–whose name and story he appears in escapes me at the moment.
Near the end, we basically get a tell of what happens with the tea kettle and a tinker’s life, spanning several months or years. Based on the ending, it sounds like the tea kettle is display on a museum somewhere and this is the legend of how it got there. For that, I have to give this story bonus points. Without it, however, the story is rather disinterested in itself, jumping from plot point to plot point in order to tell as much story as possible.