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The Gon and Fox

Shinpei Kato


 

 

A long time ago, a village tradition says that there was a fabled fox which could change the people who saw it into a stone. Many hunters tried to catch the animal on the mountain where the fox appeared. However, no one could catch it, and some of them never came back to the village. The people who lived in the village were scared of this mysterious animal. The thick forest covered with broadleaf wood made the people in the village scared.

The village was a very small one. There were many rice fields and about thirty houses which were made of straw in that village. In the middle of the village which was surrounded by many mountains, a stream ran and the gentle stream made the life of the people peaceful. The only thing that troubled them was the story of the fox which made their daily life different from normal.

An old man was living on the edge of the village. The people said that only this old man, called Jiji, had ever seen the fox. He had white hair and walked with a stick. He was like a hermit. Most people wanted to listen to the story of the fox. Jiji was a man of few words and usually didnít talk with the people who were living in the village so much; however, he talked to the people about the fox whenever they asked. He always said, " Stay away from the fox. And never look at the fox. If the fox once holds your eyes with his, you will turn to a stone yourself."

The words always scared the listeners. They didnít think they wanted to go to look at the fox even though they were so interested in it. At the same time they wondered why the man always knew so much about the fox.

A farmer named Gon was also living in a small straw house in the village. He didnít have any family and he was a solitary man. He made a living by growing vegetables and selling edible wild plants in a nearby town. Therefore, he had to go to the mountain which everyone was scared of. However, it was a very good chance for him to look for the fox because he was interested in the fox more than other people. In other words, he was not interested in other things at all. So his personality seemed strange to the people of the village. In front of other people, he pretended to be scared of the fox because he knew many people thought he was weird; however, he was not actually scared of the fox. He was just interested in the fox because it was a fabulous story. When he went to the mountain where the fox was said to appear, he was always looking for it and hoping for an appearance of the mysterious animal. Gon was old and seeing the fox was the last thing he wanted to do before he died

On a night with a full moon, he went to the mountain to pick edible wild plants as always. He went at night because it was said the fox usually appeared at night. Gon took a rest after he picked the edible wild plants to bring to town the next day. Then it happened. When he unexpectedly looked at a shadow of the trees after having picked the edible wild plants, he saw something crossing the shadow. At first he thought it was a raccoon or a rabbit. However, he noticed the movement and the appearance were different from the animals he knew. Its appearence was exactly as Jiji had said. The size was a little bit smaller than a normal fox and the animalís fur didnít look soft. Gon wondered if it was the fox. He wanted to make sure that it was the fabulous fox. He followed the animal and tried to look at it as closely as possible. The fox was fleet of foot and he couldnít catch up with it. He tried to find where it had gone while beating his way through the undergrowth of the dense forest. He did this for a long time. It was so dark and he lost his way even though he was familiar with the mountain. However, it didnít matter because Gon couldnít give up looking for the fox.

After he wandered around, he was without notice in the place where he had taken a rest. He was so tired because he had wandered for three or four hours. The time was already past three oíclock. He had to arrive at the nearby town at eight oíclock when the market would be held. It meant he had to leave this village at six oíclock. He gave up chasing the fox because he had to make a living. Then he again felt something close to him. He carefully stared in the direction where there was something moving. He realized it was exactly the fabulous fox which everyone was scared of. It had affectionate eyes like a human being and didnít have sharp fangs like a wolf. The color of its fur was dark and the size was like a dog. It was a kind of fox; however, it was different from a fox. It stared at Gon with sorrowful eyes. Gon was struck dumb with astonishment by this unexpected encounter with the fox. They stared at each other for a while. Gon was delighted at the encounter. Slowly he tried to approach the fox. Then to his surprise, the fox began to speak to him.

"Why didnít you follow my advice?"

Gon stopped his approach with surprise.

"Can you speak?" Gon asked the fox.

However, the fox didnít answer him and asked him the same thing again.

"Why didnít you follow my advice? I advised you not to look at the fox again and again." Gon couldnít understand what the fox was saying. He was so confused about this situation. He didnít know why the fox could speak and what advice it had given. After a silence for a while, the fox began to speak again.

"You know an old man named Jiji, donít you? He is my false figure. Iím the fox which everyone is scared of."

Hearing that, Gon realized that Jiji was the fox. He couldnít say anything and he couldnít understand what was going on in this strange world.

"I really wanted you to follow my advice."

Gon felt himself begin to tremble because he might turn to a stone as Jiji had said before.

"Why do you have to turn people into stones? Have I ever done anything bad? Have I ever hurt you? Gon said to the fox hesitatingly.

Then the fox said as follow,

"Isnít breaking a promise sin?"

After the fox spoke, the fox began to cast a spell on Gon. Gon felt as if he couldnít move his body at all. At that moment, he fainted.

A few days later, a person who heard a rumor about Gon went to the mountain to look for him. Then he saw a stone which had a shape like a man. Actually he had no idea how to make sure whether it was Gon or not. However, he told many people who were living in the village. They said the rumor that there was a fox which could turn people into a stone was true. After that, nobody has been to the mountain.

 


Acknowledgments

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who is in this creative writing class. They all helped my English skills and my writing skills to improve. I appreciate it. Second, I also want to acknowledge Terry Heller. He tried to understand what I was saying and improve my writing skills. It helped me so much. And in the end, I want to say thank you so much to Barbara who is my adviser. She checked almost all of my papers and helped me in many ways. I appreciate them all. Thank you all.


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