By Kazehana Hiromi
There were various servants living at the witch’s mansion.
The one who first went to meet the young man was a giant with the head of a bull. While his face was very scary, he managed this and that part of the mansion all by himself, and he could pull out whatever you needed like magic.
The cleaning of the vast mansion was divided among the small ogres. They had the ears and tails of donkeys, and their feet were hooved, making a joyful clattering sound as they ran about.
One of those small ogres was kneading clay in a corner of the garden.
The young man who thought up stories as he walked spotted the small ogre working with all his might and found his feet come to a stop.
“What are you doing, little ogre?”
He surprised the small ogre, causing to drop what he had in his hands.
Looking at the splattered lump of clay on the floor, the young man tilted his head.
“Are you making some sort of container?”
The small ogre looked down awkwardly his tail swishing back and forth.
“Just like the one milady has, I want a magic gourd. But I can’t get the shape together.”
“I see. Then do you want me to help you?”
The young man rolled up his sleeves, and took up the splattered clay. But of course, as the young man was no good at anything but stories, it would only become something strange and squishy.
“Yeaah, this really is hard.”
“So it’s no good.”
The young man and the ogre sighed together before going off to watch their muddied hands.
As they headed for the water well in the kitchen, they bumped into the head chef. Like an octopus, the head chef with lots of limbs looked at the two of them and grew red as if he was boiling.
“Whoah, stop right there! If you wander around with such dirty hands, you’ll drop dirt everywhere. Hurry up and wash your hands!”
We were just going to wash them now, they wanted to say back, but if you angered the head chef, your snacks would become meager. Without saying anything, the two of them hurriedly drew some water.
The young man washed his hands as he absentmindedly stared at the kitchen. There were plenty of shelves with jars of various sizes lined up. They were filled with pleasant-scented leaves, fruits and nuts, and beans among other things.
That’s it, the young man thought.
“Hey, do you have any spare jars A small one is fine.”
“A jar? Something like this?”
Making a strange face, the head chef took one of them from the pantry. The young man accepted it and handed it over to the small ogre.
It was just the right size to fit in both the ogre’s hands. But that was no magic gourd. As the small ogre blinked his eyes, he looked up at the young man.
“All of my stories belong to milady, so even if you make a magic gourd, I can’t put my stories in it for you. So you should put your treasures in here. And from time to time, I’d like it if you could show them to me.”
“Yeah. Like pretty stones, or wonderful bird plumes, or a snake’s shed skin.”
Once he said that much, the young man crouched down to the small ogre’s donkey ears, and whispered.
“If you show them to me, I’ll sneak them into my stories.”
The small ogre’s face glimmered. The young man grinned and nodded, roughly patting the small ogre’s head.
“Listen to my stories alongside milady. If you do, your treasures will become something like fragments of my stories. They won’t be the stories themselves, but when you look at them, you’ll surely remember various things. Isn’t it wonderful?”
“Yeah! Okay, I’m going to go search for treasure!”
The small ogre shouted delightedly as he ran off with the jar in his hands. The young man saw him off and gave a bit of an awkward laugh.
The reason being it was something the young man had done long ago when he was still a child. Searching for treasure, gathering them, and making stories of them before he realized it.
“Perhaps that jar won’t even need my stories.”
The young man muttered, grinning as he headed for milady.