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Gauche the Cellist
by Kenji Miyazawa


Gauche was the cellist at the cinema theater of a town,
but his reputation was never good.
Frankly, he was the poorest player of his folks
and the concert master was always hard to him.

The sixth symphony was on the program
for the next concert of the town.
They practiced it very hard.

"You are late to fill in, Gauche. Repeat here, repeat!!"
"Oh, cello!! Gauche!!
Your bow does not match to the others. It sounds too bad..."

Blushing fiery red, streaming with sweat,
Gauche tried to catch up with the others.

"No way!! Here is the heart of this piece!!"
Suddenly, the concert master cried so beating on the floor.

"Gauche. I would feel sorry to the other members
if our glorious orchestra, the Venus Orchestra had a bad reputation
due to your play."

Poor Gauche--honestly, his cello was not very good one either.
Large tears rolled down on his cheaks.
But he collected himself,
and started playing again quietly from the first,
after everyone went out.

Very late in the night, Gauche came back to the water mill
on the outskirt of the town carrying a huge black package.
He lived there alone.
Gauche turned the light on,
and opened up the package which held his cello.

Draining a glass of water,
sitting down blatantly,
Gauche started playing the piece which he played in the daytime
as if he had had the vigor of a tiger.

 

 

Carefully, seriously,
he repeated playing and just kept on.

Midnight already passed.
Finally he looked as if he had not known even that he was playing,
and as if he would fall down.

At the very moment, someone knocked the door behind him.

It was a big tortoiseshell cat
who opened the door and came in.

"I got very tired... Well, this is a gift for you. Please eat it."

Having been in a very very bad mood since the daytime,
Gauche shouted at the cat in anger.

"What? Who the hell asked you to have me a tomato!!"
"First and foremost, that tomato was from my farm.
Go away, cat!!"

 "Master, it is not a good idea to be upset so much.
You may be sick."
The cat said grinning.
"Try to play Troimerei. I would listen to you."

"What a saucy cat!!"

Not "Troimerei," but Gauche started playing
"the Tigerhunt in India" with furious speed.
The cat was flurried having sparks out of himself.
The cat bumped against the wall
and turned round Gauche like a pinwheel.

"Okay. I will forgive you now."
Gauche stopped playing when he felt his head whirling.

 "How are you? Show me your tongue."

Suddenly, Gauche stroke a match on the tongue of the cat.
How much frightened it was. The cat ran away like a wind.

 

On the next night as well,
someone knocked the roof
when Gauche practiced the cello very hard.

"Hey, cat! You learned nothing?"

When Gauche screamed,
a grey cuckoo came down from the hole of the ceiling.


"I would like to have a music lesson from you."


As the cuckoo's request,
Gauche played "cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo" with his cello.
The cuckoo was so delighted to exclaim
"cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo" with his cello.


While keeping on playing, Gauche felt
as if the cuckoo's song had been better than his cello.
Also feeing as if he himself had become a bird,
Gauche finally lost his temper.

"Who can continue such a stupid matter!
Go away. It is nearly dawn!!"
Gauche stamped the floor.

The cuckoo was so surprised
that it hitted its head on the window glass again and again
failing to rush out from the room.

"You, stupid..."

As Gauche broke the glass quickly,
the cuckoo went away from the small opening of the window.

 

On the following night too, someone knocked the door.

"I am in charge of the timpany.
I was ordered to accompany with the cello."
A small racoon dog gave Gauche a score sheet and pulled a stick from his back
saying "please play 'The Merry Master of a Coach Station.'"

 Gauche bursted into laughter.
"What a strange title. Okay, let's go."

When Gauche started,
a small racoon dog also started hitting
beneath the bridge of his cello with his stick.

"Mr. Gauche? You fill in late whenever you play the second string.
I happened to stumble."
Said the small racoon dog.

Gauche was surprised.
It was sure that he felt it sounded late
even though he tried to play speedily.

 "It may be true. This cello is not good."
Gauche said sadly.
The racoon dog replied feeling sorry for it.
"What is the problem? Would you play again?"

 "Sure, I will."
The small racoon dog leaned himself on the cello
so that he could hear directly from it.
Gradually, the sky of the East became light.

 "Oh, daybreak is coming. Thank you very much."
The small racoon dog quickly went out
after making a couple of bows.

 

Also on the following night, someone knocked the door quietly.

"Come on in."

There was a mother mouse who took her sick son.

"He is almost dying. Please, please heal him with your mercy."

"I cannot be a doctor."

"Please do not tell me a lie.
You already cured a rabbit, a racoon dog, even a nasty owl.
It must be shameful if you cannot heal this kid."

Gauche did not know that the sound of his cello had remedied the sick animals.

"All right. I will try."

Gauche put the sick small mouse into his cello,
and played a rhapsody enthusiastically.
The small mouse shivered all over,
when it was put out from the cello.
However, it soon started running around.

"Oh, he gets well. Thank you very much. Thank you."

Gauche sympathized these mice, and gave a piece of bread.
The mother mouse madly cried, smiled, laughed,
and finally bowed him and went out.

 

Six nights after,
the day of the concert of Venus Orchestra came.

 

 

The concert of the Venus Orchestra was
wonderful and successful.
The audience's thunderous applause seemed
as if it were never stopped.


The concert master walked around the dressing room
pretending he did not mind the applause.
However, he was full of joy.

"Would you please give us any encore piece?"

"Gauche, why don't you do so?"

"I..., will I do?"

"You, Gauche, you should do so."

  


When Gauche was forced out to the stage with his cello,
the audience gave him much much bigger hands.


"How far are you making a fool of me?
Okay, be surprised. I will play 'the Tigerhunt in India.'"

Gauche started playing as furiously speedy as he had the cat. 

However, the audience listened to him breathtakingly.
The part that the cat had had sparks went.
The part that the cat had bumped against the door went, too.

Finishing the piece and rushing into the dressing room,
Gauche noticed that everyone still sat down holding his breath.

"Good job, Gauche. Everyone was fascinated.
I am proud of your achievement for such a short time."

All other members ran up to Gauche and said,
"It was wonderful." 

 

Gauche came back home very late of the night.

And he drained a glass of water, again.

Opening the window, he looked at the sky where the cuckoo flew away.

Gauche said.
"Well, Cuckoo. I feel sorry for the time we met.
I was not upset."