Sero Hiki no Goshu
(Gauche the Cellist)
|Synopsis - Page 3|
As day breaks, Goshu drops to the floor in weariness. By the time he awakes, it is past midday and he is late for rehearsal. He hitches a ride on a passing cart, but in his mad dash for the rehearsal room, knocks over his conductor. The lady in the kimono sighs in seeming resignation, and things do not improve for Goshu as once again, the conductor singles him out as they rehearse.
That night as he cooks dinner, he is interrupted yet again by a knock at the door. This time, he encounters a young tanuki carrying some sheet music and drumsticks. Although Goshu waves his fearsome cleaver around, and describes dire recipes for tanuki soup, the young animal has been told by his father to seek lessons from the good human. Amused by the naïveté and innocence of this young tanuki without even a drum to play his music, Goshu starts the music on his cello as the tanuki beats time against the instrument's belly. As this unlikely duet continues, the tanuki notices the same lateness that has frustrated Goshu's conductor. They start again, although Goshu does make the excuse that the cello might not be the best. As dawn breaks, the tanuki takes his leave, with Goshu left to collapse into sleep once more.
The next evening, his practice seems to be observed by all the countryside, and although he falls asleep over his cello, he is disturbed by yet another visitor - this time, a timid fieldmouse with an ill child. They bring him an acorn offering, pleading for a cure. As they explain, it seems his music indeed has "charms to soothe the savage beast". When ill, the local animals gather under his floorboards to listen, to be massaged by the melodious strains of his music, and to recover either on the spot or when they have returned to their homes. Inspired by this, Goshu pops the little one into the body of his cello, and plays a soothing refrain. It is a refrain that conjures pictures of a floating dandelion, a starry night on a hillside, and indeed the picture of health that the child has become as Goshu tips him out, much restored. Goshu asks if they eat bread, but the mother is distraught that he would think that they would steal his bread when he has performed such good deed for them. Laughing at the misunderstanding, he breaks a bit of bread for them to take home and goes to bed, as the animals that have surrounded his house for therapy also depart.