IkigaiBooks for Adults and Children Copyright © 2011 Nadia Step All right reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems without the permission in writing from the publisher or author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author and the publishing team. For more stories that make you smile and chuckle or simply to leave a comment/feedback, please go to www.ikigaibooks.com or use Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/IkigaiBooks or go to Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/IkigaiBooks/165427473535183 “Plop-Plop” Beaver-San. Life and adventure. by Nadia Step Children’s Fiction Published by Art MacHentsev at IkigaiBooks. Summary: Beaver-San, a hardworking beaver, in his daily kimono reminisces about his childhood and about his very first training that he missed. Or did he? Book design by Anastasia Myakushkina. Illustrations by Elena Belozertseva. This e-book was specially formatted for Ibookstore. ISBN: 978-0-9839633-0-1 Our publishing team wishes everyone to discover his or her hidden Ikigai.
Let the journeys and adventures begin.
ne wise Beaver, or rather Beaver-San, who was not born yesterday, but already was several decades old, sat on his porch in deep reflection. The porch bordered a pond on one side and Beaver-San had lowered his paws into the water and was shaking them leisurely. “Plop-plop,” whispered his splashes, “plop-plop.” The day was waning into evening. A surprising quiet hung over the water. Several moments more and the frogs would begin their evening concert, but for now, for now only the easy lapping of the water from his paws intruded upon the primordial calm. Plop-plop. Plop-plop. Beaver-San loved these rare moments of peace. He spent his normal working hours on jobs that required incredible physical efforts. First there was that new dam to build, then the old one to repair, all the while battling the elements and their consequences. Now as he sat by the water and relaxed, Beaver-San’s kimono, damp from the sweat of his labor, hung like a cloud of steam over the water.
eaver-San loved his everyday kimono. It helped him feel strong and capable of great endurance. And as everybody knows, battling the elements demands great strength. Of course, it is not a matter of clothing. Can clothing really make someone strong? Nonetheless, somewhere deep down in the depths of his soul, Beaver-San was still a child. He believed at least a little that the whole secret lay in his kimono. My strength is in my kimono, he often thought. Thus the wise Beaver-San was sitting quietly at the water’s edge when his childhood started coming back to him. One event in particular was the evening of that very day when Mommy had sewn this kimono for him. That’s right! She had sewn the kimono! She had sewn it herself! It had been impossible to buy a kimono in those years long gone by.
he young Beaver-San, having caught his breath, had held this wonderful gift in his hands. Such emotions filled him that it was impossible to express them in words! For he had been dreaming all his life about karate training! On a tatami! In his own kimono! He hung it with care on a little chair that stood next to his bed. Afterwards he could not fall asleep all night long. He kept on checking to see if it had disappeared. But no, it had not disappeared. It remained hanging on the chair and was there in the morning. The youngster couldn’t believe his good fortune! It was next to him! His kimono! His own kimono! He could feel it, smell it, stroke it... The young Beaver-San got up several times during the night to put it on, tying on the white belt. Then he would take off the kimono and once again hang it on the chair with care. He put it on and took it off and put it on and took it off all over again. Oh how he loved his own kimono! His life had received a whole new meaning.
o not having been able to sleep all night, early in the morning after putting on his freshly made kimono, the youngster headed for the first training of his life.
The road to the gym went right beside an old ant colony. As he was walking a strong wind arose unexpectedly. It grew ever stronger and stronger! Its gusts bent the trees right down to the ground! They broke the branches! But the fearless young Beaver-San, firmly setting all four paws onto the ground and remembering he must be worthy to wear his kimono and not be tardy for his training, did not retreat from his path. A little bit further! Just as he reached the old ant colony a frightening crash suddenly stunned the youngster! A huge old tree had crashed down right beside him, and having fallen it was as if the world had been split into two halves. The youngster barely managed to jump out of the way! Then all at once huge, heavy raindrops began to splash all about him!
h! My kimono will get soaked! Drenched! How can I show up at training looking like this? I must hurry!” thought the youngster. Suddenly a mournful whine distracted him. It had come directly from beneath the huge roots of a fallen tree unearthed by the wind! "Oh! It was that very same ant colony being crushed by the tree! The entire ant colony! Oh, the grief of it! I have to save the ants! They will perish if I don’t do something quick! They will choke from the rain! Or ever worse, be buried alive! Or the wind will blow them away!” All these thoughts rattled around in young Beaver-San's head and, without a bit of hesitation, he took off his new, white, clean kimono, carefully placed it directly on the wet ground and began to scrape the ants onto it. The ants were in a frenzy. They were rushing around the upturned mound and seemed completely befuddled. There was no logic in their movements. Some were trying to move the tree, others to raise it! Some just stayed where they were, showing the whites of their eyes to the skies!
he youngster cautiously scraped the whole ant colony onto the kimono’s white fabric and shielding them from the rain and wind, carried the unfortunate members to the hollow of a neighboring tree. Having assured himself that it was dry and clean inside and that the hollow belonged to no one, Beaver-San carefully emptied the panic-stricken ants into their new shelter. The insects squeaked something to him in reply, but because of the noise from the wind not one of their words was audible. Some scolded him while others praised.
he rain was coming down in sheets. The wind mercilessly broke off branches from the trees. Young Beaver-San’s coat was so soaked that not a trace remained of its fluffiness. It clung to his young, little body and in places bristled like the quills of a hedgehog. The youngster felt practically naked. Having tightened the dirt stained kimono and binding the belt; he gave himself a critical once over. It was impossible, of course, for him to go anywhere looking like this. Not to any training, let alone to the very first training of his life. Beaver-San dawdled indecisively for a few more minutes, thinking it would be appropriate to appear on a tatami, but, good sense, nevertheless, forced him to turn toward home.
ow the wind was at his back, helping him walk home. Cold and wet he broke into a run! The young Beaver-San ran so fast it was as if he could fly with the wind. The rain lashed at his back, poured down his collar, his paws sliding and splashing! Brrr! Well, it was all right. He’d be home soon! Inside his warm, dry burrow! “Mommy, most likely, will read me the riot act because it’s soaked and stained,” the youngster thought along the way, “and maybe even make me stand in the corner.” The path wasn’t even visible beneath his paws from all the rainwater. The young Beaver-San splashed blindly onward. One unlucky step and he tumbled into a deep ditch. Grumbling and spitting in disgust, he scrambled out, grieving over his damaged kimono.
e was home at last. The youngster spied a note from his parents on the table: We hope you liked the very first training in your life. Dinner is on the table. Don’t wait up for us. We are repairing the dam on Spring Stream. We’ll be late. Go to bed after your dinner. We love you.
The young Beaver-San wearily removed his drenched kimono and only then understood just how exhausted he was. He didn’t even have the strength to eat. Collecting the remaining energy of his young body, he washed and spread the kimono on the chair. After that our burnt-out little friend climbed into bed and fell asleep in at once. Just before morning he heard his parents come in. He heard mommy whisper, “Look how wet his kimono is! He worked so hard he soaked his kimono! It looks like our youngster received his baptism of fire at traini...” But the little Beaver-San did not hear the end of the phrase, for a morning dream, as everyone knows, is the sweetest.
ow the all grown-up Beaver-San is sitting on his porch near the pond, delighting in the peace and quiet, leisurely shaking his paws in the water, pondering. Plop-plop. Plop-plop. He had never told Mommy that he had missed the first training of his life. Somehow it had been awkward. Plop-plop. Plop-plop. All of a sudden it dawned on him: “So Mommy had thought my kimono had gotten wet from sweat! On the tatami! Plop-plop, plop-plop. Beaver-San had been regretful his whole life for missing his first training. Plop-plop. Plop-plop. But he had not missed one thing. Plop-plop. It hadn’t even entered his mind that the rescue of the unfortunate ants was in fact his very first training. Plop-plop. Plop-plop.
n ant ran by. He was in a hurry to reach home before sunset. His ant colony was in the hollow of an old tree. Beaver-San, having noted the buster, winked at him, and the ant (most likely a great grandson of one of those from Beaver-San’s childhood) stopped in his track gazing directly at him. Having taken a quick thought, he respectfully bowed low to the Beaver and then hurried off toward home. They’ll be so amazed at home when I tell them that I’ve met HIM. The one that saved us all!” the ant thought. As he skipped along the path home, he joyfully repeated the favorite ditty in their family, Beaver-San, spry and wise, protects our nest from falling skies. Beaver-San, spry and wise, protects our nest from falling skies.
Plop-plop. Plop-plop. Beaver-San adjusted his black belt. Plop-plop.
- The Author
Everything I write is based on real life events. Life itself presents us with plots that parents need to analyze together with their children. We all love our children and wish them “fairy tale happiness” in an adult life. “Ikigai” [pronounced “ee-key-guy”] is a special character that Japanese have created. It looks like this
Though it does not have an exact translation, it stands for “something important one lives for” or “ something, for which a person is ready to happily get up every morning [his entire life]”. This character expresses a state of mind; the bliss experienced by people who have found their true “calling”. I sincerely wish for all parents to help their children discover their “Ikigai”. I truly believe that my stories are our common path into the happy future.
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