@Chimchar98; @The Jingster; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;
Week 92: How Sorin Defeated Tanooki
(real tale: The Slaying of the Tanuki)
"This week, I have a little different Sorin tale for you...one where Sorin plays the hero." Brock explains to thunderous applause.
He waits for the applause to quiet, then begins. "Once, near a big river, and between two high mountains, a man and his wife lived in a cottage a long, long time ago. A dense forest lay all round the cottage, and there was hardly a path or a tree in the whole wood that was not familiar to the man from his childhood. On one of his excursions into the woods he had befriended Sorin, and though he knew as well as anyone that Sorin was quite the trickster..."
More applause goes up at the familiar beginning. "the two of them spent a long time together, talking about anything and everything."
"Now one day a wicked, quarrelsome Zigzagoon-like beast known as Tanooki happened to discover Sorin and the man having one of their long conversations." Brock explains. "He hated the man, and was never tired of doing bad things to him. Time and time again he had crept to the house, found some choice morsel or another meant for Sorin, and had either eaten it or trampled it to pieces so that no one else would get it. Finally, the man lost his patience, and made up his mind that he would have Tanooki's head."
Nervous laughter goes up as Brock goes on. "So for many days the man lay hidden, waiting for Tanooki to come by, and when one morning he marched up the road thinking of nothing but the food he was going to steal, the man threw himself on him and bound him up tight, so that he couldn't move. Then he dragged his enemy joyfully to the house, feeling that maybe he had got the better of the mischievous beast which had done so many bad things to him. When he got to the house, he hung Tanooki head first from a beam, and went out to gather wood for a fire."
After waiting a few beats, Brock continues. "Meanwhile, the woman was standing at the mortar pounding the rice with a pestle that made her arms ache with its weight. Suddenly she heard something whining and weeping in the corner, and, stopping her work, she looked around to see what it was. When she saw Tanooki just hanging there, she felt sorry for him and untied him--which prompted Tanooki to dart away from her, making her fall into a pot of boiling water on accident!"
Laughter goes up at this. "Needless to say, it took her some time to recover from all those burns." Brock notes.
He goes on "Then, Tanooki looked outside, and saw the man coming from the forest carrying a large bundle of wood. Quick as lightning, Tanooki not only put on the woman's clothes, but, as he was a magician, he cast a spell..." Brock pauses to sing <i>Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...</i> for effect. "and assumed her form as well. But Sorin saw right through his disguise, and Tanooki had no choice but to run for the forest."
Giggles go up at this. "About then the man had found his injured wife, cleaned and dressed her wounds, and swore revenge on Tanooki for gravely injuring his wife. Sorin heard the ranting and raving, and after hearing the whole story, offered to help the man in whatever way he could."
"Ooh"s and giggles fill the air at this. "The first thing he did was to search the house for materials to make an ointment, which he sprinkled plentifully with pepper and then put in his pocket. Next he took an axe, bade farewell to the man, and departed to the forest. He made his way to Tanooki's house and knocked at the door." Brock pauses to knock in a 'shave-and-a-haircut' rhythm for effect. "Tanooki, was greatly pleased to see Sorin, for when he noticed the axe, started mulling ways to get hold of it."
"And then?" some children ask.
"Tanooki offered to accompany Sorin, which was exactly what Sorin wished and expected, for he knew all of Tanooki's cunning and wiles." Brock explains. "As the two of them wandered through the forest, Sorin carelessly raised his hatchet in passing, and cut down some thick branches that were hanging over the path, but after he cut down a huge oak tree, he decided that it was too heavy for him to carry home, and he would just leave it where it was. This delighted the greedy Tanooki, who said that they would be no weight for him, so they collected the large branches, which Sorin bound tightly on his back. Then he trotted happily to the house, with Sorin following with his lighter bundle."
He returns to his place at center stage, then continues "Meanwhile, Sorin got the idea to set the wood Tanooki carried on fire. Tanooki however, was off in la-la land, oblivious to the smoke and the crackling flames that he heard. It wasn't until he noticed his fur was in flames, and it was almost too late to put it out, did he realize there was any problem."
The audience roars with laughter at this. "Tanooki shrieked with pain, stamping and howling with agony all the while." Brock continues, stomping around the stage himself for effect. "But Sorin comforted him, and told him that he always carried with him an excellent plaster for just such an emergency, which would bring him instant relief. So he took out his ointment, spread it on a leaf of bamboo, and laid it on the wound. No sooner did it touch him did Tanooki leap yelling into the air."
The audience laughs even more as Brock concludes Sorin just laughed as Tanooki raced into the forest, never to return; and ran to tell his friend the man what a trick he had just played."
The crowd applauds as Brock takes a bow....