Two of my favorite characters from The Crystal Needle are Oki and Yoshi Kitsune.
Twin brothers of the main character, Yuki Kitsune, Oki and Yoshi were born in Japan 300 years ago. Being Kitsune, they have a human form and a fox form and can perform magic. They traveled with their parents and older sister to the east to see Europe when the explorers first came to their lands. The whole family was forced to flee Europe when their true identity was discovered and the fearful people there wanted to burn them. No sooner did they arrive in the new world did the mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch trials begin and they were no longer safe. They found refuge in Featherville Massachusetts, a place designed as a home for the condemned humans who were forced to leave their homes after accusations arose.
Oki and Yoshi are incorrigible boys who like to rough house and always get each other in a lot of trouble. They loved their parents greatly and respect their sister, but they also love to drive Yuki crazy. Wrestling, stealing cookies, or any sort of mischief, Oki and Yoshi are always partners in crime. Since they lost their father and were cursed by Adel, they have stayed at the side of their dear sister in hopes that when the spell breaks and Adel returns, they can have final revenge for what she did to their father and to them.
( note: The picture is not in the book, just a cute set of Foxes that made me think of the characters.)