Higashi no Wadatsumi, Nishi no Soukai
<The Sea God in the East, the Vast Sea in the West>

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 1994


~ Starting Chapter ~


He woke up in the middle of the night, and heard some peoplefs voices. He was so sleepy that he couldnft take in what the people were saying. However, he knew only that Mother was being scolded by everyone. I must help her, he thought to himself as he was drawn into slumber again.

The next day, the boy took Motherfs hand and got out of the town. Mother cried as she took his hand and walked. This was the first time he saw his motherfs tears.

He has no father. Father has gone to a very far country, Mother told him. The hut they had lived had burnt down, so he and Mother went to the town, and began to sleep somewhere at the corner of the town. A lot of people had gathered there, but they vanished one by one, and before long, only a few people were left.

All adults except Mother were coldhearted to him. They were always playing harsh on him, and threw cruel words to him. They were all the crueler when he was hungry.

Mother held his hand, stifled her cries, and walked on a path amid burnt down, desolated farmlands. Soon, they walked up a hill, and walked across woodland. The place was so far away that he hadnft been to anywhere around there before.

At the middle of the woodland, Mother finally let go of his hand.

gWhy not rest a little here? c Do you want some water?h

He was thirsty, so he nodded.

gLet me find some water now. You wait for me right here, okay?h

He was tired from all the walking, so he nodded despite his worry about Mother being away from his side. Mother patted on his head many times, and suddenly withdrew herself, and walked quickly out of the woodland.

He sat still at the place for a long time. Finally, worried that Mother would never come back, he stepped out to find her. He called Motherfs name and stumbled and wandered around the woodland, but he neither recognize Motherfs leaving direction nor the way back.

He was cold. He was hungry. And the thirst was the most unbearable.

He cried as he walked and searched for Mother. Leaving the woodland, he walked along the shore, and finally found a town at sunset. He searched for his mother as he dashed through the town, but he met only unfamiliar people. The boy noticed only that he somehow arrived at a different town.

One man came up to the boyfs side. Hearing the whole incident from the sobbing boy, the man patted on the boyfs head, and gave the boy a little water and food.

Then, meeting the eyes of the surrounding people, the man took the boyfs hand. This time, the boy was brought to the edge of the sea. At the other side of the sea, the boy could see tall mountains surrounding like walls.

When the boy came to the edge of a cliff, the man patted on the boyfs head once more, muttered, gIfm sorry,h and pushed the boy off the cliff.


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