Welcome to people dropping in from Fables For Japan. This is a great project to be a part of and I hope we’re able to do something good for those in need. I thought I’d go ahead and share the first four of paragraphs of “Hiroko” with you all.
It is said that the Haru-Dori, the spring birds, sing the memory of Hiroko, the blessed child. The islanders of Yakushima claimed she was the daughter of a great spirit, for her sweet voice was lilting and her very presence filled their hearts with peace. Many would travel to see her at the Shinto temple that was nestled within the forest of the island. There they sought her blessings and wisdom.
When Hiroko came of age, wealthy suitors brought her extravagant gifts, seeking her affection. Chests filled with jewelry fashioned from jade and sapphire, silks of brilliant hues, and garments that paled next to her beauty, were laid at her feet. However, she refused them all in turn saying, “My love is not bound in gifts of the world.”
Akio, a fisherman from the village of Anbou, also sought Hiroko’s attention, for his love was as deep for her as the oceans he sailed. Having little in the way of money, and determined to show his love for her, Akio set to make a gift for her. Finding a log of driftwood upon the shore, he patiently carved into it until all that was left was a rounded shape the size of a coconut. He painted the bulk of the wood red with yellow trimmings, to depict a small robe. He added a white face with a black beard. Where the pupils should be, he left blank. In a flash of inspiration, he affixed tiny limbs to the body then sat back to admire his work. Before him sat a Daruma doll, a great talisman, said to be able to grant wishes. Akio was pleased.
That evening, Akio carried Daruma to the Shinto Temple. At the gates he steeled himself, determined to present the doll to Hiroko with pride. Crossing the grounds, Akio caught sight of her radiance through the windows. Doubt struck his heart. How could she ever accept anything from him, a poor fisherman? Feeling ashamed of his work, Akio crept to the temple steps, laid down the doll upon the wooden floor and departed in silence.
I hope that piqued your interest! I’m looking forward to collaborating with Leanne Buckley who’s cooking up some amazing art to accompany my story. Keep a look out for the digital release of Fables For Japan.