The Bear and Forest Pals
Written by Kunio Fukuda Illustrated by Stoy Jones
An amusing story begins from today. 1.
The Bear and His Forest Pals
he bear woke up. The sun had already risen high. "Ahh, I have overslept again!" Saying that, the bear came out of the cave. Bathing in the dazzling sunshine, he squinted. The bear began to amble towards the river. The river he usually washes his face in ﬂows right in front of the cave. He rarely brushes his teeth. He washes his face though. He is an extremely lazy bear. However,he never forgets to open his shop. He opens it every day. The shop has several tables, on which rice crackers, baked by himself, are neatly arranged on the baskets.
His forest pals used to call him "A bear of Senbei (rice cracker)shop," later they changed it for "Mr. Senbei shop," and now they all call him simply "Senbe". He is very happy to open his shop every day, because the pals smelling the delicious Senbei gather at the shop. â€ƒ"Who is going to come today?" Senbe began to prepare his shop delightedly.
The ďŹ rst visiter was a kitty named "Mikoro". â€ƒShe had came during Senbe was carrying small stands and has been looking at his doing a lillte far from him since a short while ago. After setting up stands neatly, Senbe returned to the cave and came out with a basket with rice crackers he baked last night. Mi, mi!" he heard a cry. Senbe looked at his underfoot while holding a basket.
"Ah, that's you, Mikoro." He named her Mikoro, because nobody knows where she was born and she lives.
When he found her for the ﬁrst time, she always cried "Mi, mi!" and he named her "Mimi", but she has brown(cha) hair and some pals in the forest call her "Micha". Still, Senbe call her "Mikoro" now, because she is chubby (korokoro) and cute, so Senbe named her "Mikoro" after adding "Mi" with "koro". "Good morning Mikoro! …Oops, it's nearly at noon, then, Hello! ", "Mi, mi!" she can only answer Mi, mi! Senbe gave her a piece of rice caracker from the basket he hold. When she had a rice cracker in her mouth softly, and went away without a word. Senbe looked at the sky with narrowed eyes and ate a rice cracker he sell at his shop. "So, good!"
â€ƒThen, "Moo, moo." the familiar voice was heard beyond the river. "Ah, it must be Moa of the milk shop." Senbe shaked a hand and Moa answered wagging her tail while shaking her big breasts. â€ƒMoa is a cow who goes around every house of pals. She has approached with her assistant Akame on her back.
â€ƒAkame is a kid hare who just turned three years. She is very good at milk a cow and she always goes along with Moa to deliver milk. The Moa s milk is so fresh, because she comes to every house and gives them milk directly in a cup they prepared. â€ƒ 6
Senbe soon turned to the cave and brought back the biggest cup. Putting the cup on the ground, Senbe said "Give me a lot." "Come on, you are always putting such a big cup, other animals are more humble and put a small cup. Yours are not a cup but like a bucket. "Still, this is originally a bucket and the handle had come oďŹ€ then I use this as a cup now." "Shoot! It's so you, Senbe, but isn't it unfair that only you have such a lot of milk?" "No, not only I drink milk, others too" Senbe smiled. "I've heard a bear usually loves honey, but the bear who only drinks milk is very rare, isn't it? " Moa said.
"Yeah, very rare." Said Akame. "I am a bit weird." Senbe said. "Exactly, you are badly weird." Akame nodded with a serious face. "Thanks a lot! Then, please take oďŹ€ these rice crackers for the price of milk." Moa got ďŹ ve bags of rice crackers including her children, and Akame had one bag and they returned back. " Others too. Senbe said but he has no wife and children, what does he mean?" on the way back, Moa muttered to Akame on her back. "Yeah, he may have something secret, as he is a very weird bear anyway." with a wondering face, Akame said.
It is getting on for noon. Senbe went back to the cave with holding the bucket. There is no clock in this forest. However nobody is in trouble. When they talk about the time such as "early in the morning" they say "when the sun shows up on the top of the mountain." About the next time "When birds start singing." About just before noon "When Senbe wake up." About at noon "When the stomach is growling." About afternoon they say "When it is warm." or "When kids are making merry." About evening "When the moon is reďŹ‚ected in the lake." There is a big lake in this forest and everybody knows when it becomes evening the moon reďŹ‚ects in the lake. About at night, they say "Moon time" or "The time when we can see many stars in the sky."
About time they almost understand if they say something familiar. Senbe went into the cave and put the bucket and returned back holding something. They are a big plate and a handle of the bucket. He told Moa that the handle has come oďŹ€ but he ďŹ xes the handle on the bucket again. "Now then, my stomach is growling, so I have to rush." Saying so, he held the handle of the bucket carrying the plate under his arm and leave for somewhere.
Senbe began walking slowly along the river. Not to spill milk carefully, with hurried steps. Sometimes, he put the bucket on the ground and took a rest or drank water on the river. Otherwise, he went straight looking at somewhere and kept on going. After a while, he arrived on the outskirts of the forest. He seemed he walked quite a lot. He got tired. Standing by the tree on the outskirts of the forest, Senbe stared at the front.
As a curtain opened, what came into view were many houses and tall buildings. The view from there was the scenery of the town that was entirely diďŹ€erent from the forest.
Senbe went down a slope slowly and carefully not to spill milk There is a fence. Fence has been much followed and surrounds the forest. This is the fence separating the forest and the town. Animals live in the forest and human in the town. The animals in the forest are frightened at human and never come such place. If they are found out by human they will be tormented by human, because when they are found out by human they will be tormented by them. Senbe looked at the out of the fence and he saw a small wooden box, in which there were ďŹ ve newborn kitties sleeping together closely. A cushion with pretty pattern of ďŹ‚owers was spread in the box.
He looked around and conďŹ rmed there are no people, then straddled the fence carefully and went out. Kitties woke up. Senbe put the plate on the ground in a hurry and poured milk in it and pinched the neck of kitties to sit them down around the plate.
Kitties began to drink milk while closing their faces to the plate together like washing their faces. Sometimes, Senbe secretly looked at something around but it didn't seem somebody come. Kitties drank all milk but still were licking the plate. " Then, it all for today," Senbe said and put them back to the box, he returned to in side the fence in a hurry. Then He became a kindly face a little and went back to He retraced his steps.
When Senbe arrived around the bank of the river, he put the empty bucket and plate on the ground and went down the river. "Heheheâ€Ś" He broke into a smile unconsciously and grin to himself. His stomach is growling loudly he knows there are many wild strawberries somewhere near here.
Oh, he found them in many places the opening of leaves and began to eat them with his ďŹ ngers. Then, he heard the rustle of leaves behind him. "Jeez!" he ate the leaves with wild strawberry together.
"Meow, meow!" "Ah, it's you again, Mikoro!" He held her in his arms and patted her on the head softly. "meow, meow!", " Yeah, I know. I gave them milk as usual. No worries." he answered to her so, and when he took down her he climbed up the bank and held the bucket and place and began to walk along the river. While saying "Jeez, Jeez!" like an old man, he disappeared beyond the hill.
This is the storybook I wrote for my son about 30 years ago.