Minfe’s Wonder – A Renicaria Story

Minfe was fast approaching the last leg of her journey. She was now heading into the rice fields of Tsuki, which was the last landmark before her destination. She had enjoyed her travels thus far along the road. Minfe had always regretted not having children, but she felt as though she had gained two children along the way. Kintaro an Momotaro had been especially wonderful, and unique, children.

The rice fields stretched as far as the eye could see. People were bustling around the fields, Minfe smiled and waved to each and every one. They smiled back at her kindly. What a beautiful place Minfe found herself in. She visited Tsuki regularly in her younger days, her friends at the time had now all sadly passed. Except for one. Taketori. He was a bamboo cutter who lived on the outskirts of the fields. They had been friends for fourty years, though she had not visited in twenty five.

Minfe headed over to Taketori’s cabin at the edge of the bamboo forest. He was outside when she arrived. He ran over to her and wrapped his arms around her in a loving embrace.

‘It has been far too long,’ he cried as he hugged his old friend. ‘Come in, what brings you back to these parts?’

‘Top secret work for the Empress,’ Minfe winked. ‘

‘Oh wow,’ he replied. ‘You must stay for supper. I have the most amazing news. You have missed so much since we last spoke!’

Minfe headed into the familiar cabin and placed her things down in the spare room. Taketori pulled Chuji from the basket and embraced her lovingly. He had never had the pleasure to meet Chuji previously, but he adored every animal, big and small. She took to him instantly and snuggled up into his arms.

That evening, Minfe gathered at the dinner table with Taketori and his wife. ‘We have much great news,’ he exclaimed. ‘We have a daughter. Kaguya. I was out in the bamboo fields one day when I witnessed a stalk of bamboo that glowed, like the moon. It was the most wonderous sight I have ever beheld. Of course, I cut the bamboo open and inside lay the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. I took her home and we both fell in love with her instantly. She is now in her twenty third year and is blossoming wonderfully. Here she comes now!’

The most beautiful young girl with the sleekest black hair Minfe had ever seen floated into the room and took her place at the dinner table. Minfe regaled the beautiful family with her tales and adventures thus far. They were in awe that someone of Minfe’s age was still as tough and active as ever. Kaguya was increasingly interested in the key that was gifted to Minfe by Momotaro. It was all she was willing to discuss. Her tone completely changed when she was discussing it. She sounded excited, but nervous and solemn at the same time.

After supper, Minfe took Kaguya into the bedroom to show her the key. ‘This is what I have been searching for!’ Kaguya cried. ‘This is the key that will allow me to return home’. She immediately darted from the room before Minfe could ask her anything. Minfe followed her out as she swept into the bamboo forest. Taketori and his wife swiftly followed her in a panic.

Kaguya dropped to the ground in front of the glowing bamboo stalk. Minfe could see that at the bottom, there was a very small hole, one that would fit a key. Kaguya turned to address her family before she placed the key into the hole.

‘Thank you, mother and father, for all you have done for me,’ Kaguye began. ‘Thank you Minfe for retrieving this key. It is the key for me to go home’.

‘But your home is with us,’ Taketori began to tear. ‘We have raised you since you were an infant. What do you mean?’

Kaguya sighed. ‘I am so grateful for you taking me in and raising me as a child. I am not of this world. My true family are from very far away,’ she paused and looked up at the moon. ‘This key will take me home to them. My family’.

‘We are your family Kaguya,’ Taketori cried.

‘This is something I must do,’ she replied. ‘I have been waiting for this moment my whole life. I have always felt out of place here. I love you more than anything in this world, but I do not belong here any longer’.

Taketori cried deeply as Kaguya bent down to the bamboo stalk and placed the key inside, she glanced back at her family lovingly and turned the key. The bamboo shoot lit up the sky with a radiant beam of light. The four waited patiently for something to happen. After a few minutes, a magnificent glowing cloud floated down from the night sky. On the cloud, stood the most radiant, regal beings. They held out their hand to invite Kaguye onto the cloud with them. She reflected a glance back at her adoring parents, both of whom were heartbroken to see her go. She smiled adoringly and took the being’s hand.

As quickly as it came, the cloud gently floated back up into the night sky. The beam of light slowly dimmed, and all that was now visible was a tiny speck, gliding up towards the moon. Taketori dropped to his knees and wailed. He had known she was not of this world but he never expected her to leave him. Kaguya had been so loved and adored in her time in Renicaria. It was truly a devastating moment.

After around an hour of contemplative mourning, Taketori took Minfe, and his wife back to the cabin to rest for the night. In the morning, Minfe was awoken to the most delectable breakfast spread to send her on her way. She promised to visit Taketori on her way back to Shai Min. They hugged longingly before Minfe picked up her hamper, with Chuji firmly inside, and headed on her way on the last leg of her journey.

Henry Black

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