My name is Leah and right now, I wish I was buried within the earth or out in space, but wishes tend not to come true, especially when you want to avoid a village holiday. If you guys can’t already tell, I am not a fan of the Holidays, especially the ones in my village. In my village, we don’t celebrate the common Holidays like Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day (worst holiday in the dictionary), etc. The holidays in the village are all village only (no one outside the village celebrates our holidays).
Anyway, the Holiday I wanted to avoid was the Fox’s Harvest. The Fox’s Harvest is basically a Harvest festival with a storyline. According to village records, there was once a village man who was a dedicated farmer, but because of a drought, his crops began to wither as did the crops of other farms in the village. Desperate, he entered the forest to search for a magical creature to bring life to the crops and to bring back the rains. In the forest, he discovered an injured fox and treated its injuries, but when the fox was healed, the fox turned into a beautiful maiden with fox ears and granted the man three wishes. He wished for the rain to return to let the crops and the village flourish once again. He also wished for good health for the villagers to protect them from any diseases. The final wish always made me roll my eyes: he wished for the maiden to become his wife. There wasn’t any development for them to fall in love, but I guess if a guy sees a beautiful woman there is automatically love (love at first sight doesn’t exist). With the three wishes granted the village continued to flourish and to thank the man and the fox maiden, they created the Fox’s Harvest, which would be celebrated every year on the day it was said that the man met the fox maiden.
It was a pretty short story, but I heard some people say that the man was actually from another world and it was the reason why he was so good at farming and was able to gain the affections of the fox maiden. I don’t believe in another world and if there was one, why would anyone want to come to this dump of a village.
I bet you guys are wondering why I hate this village considering how much I am badmouthing it, well that’s because I know there is more outside of the village walls and past the forest. I want to travel, but I am prevented from following this dream to travel. As I mentioned, wishes tend not to come true.
During the Fox’s Harvest, we feast and play games, but the highlight of the Harvest Festival is sending someone down the same path the village man was said to walk when searching for the fox and then return when morning arrives wearing a cloak made of fur that was placed at the end of the path to symbolize the return of the fox maiden and the village man. It is simple, but the walk is long and you aren’t even given any food or bedding when going for the walk. You are also required to walk the path barefoot. I find it to be a form of torture, especially in a cold night like this.
If you guys haven’t guessed, I was chosen as the walker of the path this year and so I will be beyond exhausted when morning arrives and not only that, I still need to work on the fields when morning arrives too. No time for rest.
Anyway, it is time for me to take a walk down this path. The villagers are wishing me luck, but I honestly can’t be happy about this.
I walk down the path with only a lantern as my guide. It is freezing out here! I wouldn’t be surprised if I caught a cold walking barefoot out here. I wish I could curse the one who came up with that fictional story and this crazy walk of the festival, but wishes tend not to come true.
Let’s just focus on walking…walking…walking…ah, there’s the fur coat waiting for me on the rock. I picked up the coat, but it was surprisingly heavy. Why is it heavy?
“Put me down!”
Whoa, a child’s voice leaked out from the fur coat! I dropped the coat and heard a small grunt. I lifted up the edge of the coat and saw a small boy maybe ten or younger, but for some reason, he was dressed up as a fox or maybe it was a wolf.
The small boy glared at me, but his glare slowly disappeared as he began to whimper. Why is he starting to cry?
“Are you going to eat me?”
I shook my head. I may be hungry, but I won’t turn to cannibalism in one night.
“Really…but I thought humans would eat my kind, especially since my mom was killed.”
Is that true? People killed this little guy’s mom. That’s way too cruel.
I noticed that he was still shivering, so I held my hand toward him trying to offer him a helping hand, but he inched back with a small whimper. How can I make him understand that I want to help? I pointed down the path trying to show that I was going to lead him to my village to get him warm, but it seems he misunderstood.
“Do you know the way to the festival?”
I nodded, but I was still intent in getting him warm. He nodded and took my hand (he trusted me pretty fast). It was surprisingly warm and with him standing, I can say that the animal costume he wore was adorable.
With the boy finally calm we walked down the path. It should be fine to return early, since I found a lost child.
As we walked, the path seemed to grow longer…WHY? The next thing I knew, I saw brightly colored lights and festival stands filled with treats I have never seen and games. All the people here were also dressed up as animals just like the boy. What is going on here? This is definitely not my village.
The boy smiled and urged me to follow him as he dragged me to a stand selling what looked like colored clouds. The boy grabbed two bunches of the clouds and held one to me. I didn’t see the boy pay, but the stand owner, a man dressed up as a bear, didn’t seem to mind, so I guess it was OK. The boy was eating the cloud, so I did the same…SO SWEET! I have never had something this sweet before and it melts into my mouth. How was this even made? The boy also handed me something he called a hot dog (it wasn’t made from dog thankfully) and something called a soda. It was really cold and the bubbles in it made me flinch. I think I’ll stick with juice.
I have to say that the food in this place was good, but where exactly am I?
I didn’t really have long to think when the boy dragged me to a shooting game. I know this game, but I don’t see any bow and arrows. I only see some kind of bent iron. The boy placed the bent iron in my hand and told me that it was called a pistol and I just needed to pull the trigger to shot the targets. I guess the trigger is this loose lever here. I pulled the trigger and was pretty shocked at the loud sound. I did hit the target though and was handed a stuffed white fox. It was pretty cute.
I played other games like catching goldfish with a paper net (succeeded only once) and something called balloon popping (popped two and got a floating balloon). The games were almost endless, but they were fun.
The boy then led me to a dragon…A DRAGON? Why was there a dragon here? The boy urged me to get on, but I was seriously scared. Where was this place? Dragons shouldn’t exist. The boy held my hand smiling at me and that was enough to calm me down, so I climbed onto the back of the dragon according to the instruction of the boy and the next thing I knew, the dragon took off into the night sky. I admit I nearly fainted at the first take off, but after a short while, I was smiling as the stars twinkled around me. It was so beautiful and the night air that was cold was now warm.
I looked at the boy with a smile and he smiled back placing a hand on my shoulder before reaching up and plucking a star from the sky. How was that possible? He held the star in the palm of his hand and then held it to me saying, “Make a wish.”
…Wishes tend not to come true, but may be this time, I will be lucky. I wish to show my thanks…with my voice. I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I have never spoken to the boy. I only made gestures and the reason is because I am mute. I have been mute since birth, but because of this handicap, the villagers never let me leave the village. Just because I don’t have a voice doesn’t mean I can’t move forward.
The star gave off a glimmer and then vanished. I guess my wish didn’t come true.
The dragon soon landed and I got off with the boy. The boy held my hand as he led me through the festival. As I looked at the people dressed as animals and the stands with games and treats, I began to wish for this memory not to vanish.
I don’t know how long I walked, but the colored lights soon vanished and I found myself back in the forest with the boy still holding my hand. That festival of colored lights feels like it was all a dream, but it can’t be since the boy is still here.
The boy grinned at me as he released my hand and stated, “Thank you for bringing me to the festival and brother would also like to say thanks.”
Brother…what does he mean?
Suddenly, there was a silver haired man standing next to the boy. The silver haired man patted the boy’s head as he looked at me saying his thanks. I could only nod.
The silver haired man was stunning. I could literally feel my heart racing. Racing heart…Don’t be stupid heart, I just met him.
The silver haired man suddenly said, “As thanks for watching my brother, I will grant you three wishes.”
Wishes…I have wishes that will never come true, but I can’t even say them to this handsome man.
The silver haired man reached out to me and I felt the tip of his finger touch my throat. It stung, but it oddly felt comfortable.
“Now speak, young maiden.”
Speak…can I really speak? I opened my mouth, but closed it feeling uneasy. Would I really be able to speak?
“Don’t be afraid.”
The silver haired man’s voice made me feel warm as I lifted up my chin and opened my mouth.
I automatically covered my mouth. I said my first word. It was amazing. I felt tears escape my eyes as I looked at the boy and the man before me. They really gave me back my voice.
My words aren’t quite clear yet.
“Your ‘thanks’ is appreciated; now please tell me the three wishes you wish to be granted.”
“I wish for no one in the village to be born with a handicap that would block their future dreams.”
“I wish for the memory of the festival of colored lights I attended with your younger brother to never fade from my memories.”
“Done and now your final wish.”
“My final wish is to travel around the world to discover new things, so I can share it with others.”
The silver haired man nodded saying, “Done,” but then he smiled saying, “I can grant you another wish.”
“Huh…three is enough.”
“I believe one more should be good.”
“Then I wish to know the recipes that were in the festival, so I can tell my village for the next festival.”
“…Wish granted, now another wish.”
“Another? Then I wish for the harvest of the village and other villages to flourish in the future.”
“…Granted, now another wish.”
He keeps granting me more wishes and the boy next to him is chuckling to himself. The boy smiled at me saying, “Brother wants you to make a specific wish.”
The silver haired man was turning red as he cleared his throat. Why was he red? I looked at the boy and I saw him smirking forming a heart with his hands. Could it be?
“Love at first sight?”
The silver haired man instantly turned even redder to the point I was worried he would faint. Could he have really fallen in love with me at first sight? But love at first sight doesn’t…my heart is racing again and my face is heating up…so it does exist?
Let’s just say that the extra wish was mostly for the silver haired man. My wishes were granted and the villagers were pretty shocked when they discovered that I now had two extra companions when I returned in the morning (they didn’t fail to notice that I was no longer mute). I did leave the village to travel, but not alone. I had the silver haired man and his younger brother as traveling companions.
Even though I travel around the world, I still return to the village to celebrate in the festival of colored lights where I first learned that wishes do come true and that love at first sight is possible.
I bet you guys are wondering why I never said the names of the young boy and the silver haired man. That’s because their names are my secret, but you might hear their surname if you speak out my name: Leah Kitsune.