and narrated by Tom Vincent
Says Thank You
by Yumeno Kyusaku
Little Chieko was six years old that year.
One day, while she was playing quietly in the back garden, she heard a funny buzzing kind of song. “Buzz Buzz Buzz.”
She looked around to see what it was, and saw an empty lemonade bottle leaning against the white wall, and a horsefly had fallen in and was buzzing around inside trying to get out.
“Help me, please! Help me, please!” it was saying.
Chieko rushed to the bottle, picked it up and peered inside.
“What’s the matter, Mr. Horsefly?” she said.
The horsefly buzzed around inside the bottle, bumping into the glass.
“I seem to have fallen in here and I can’t get out. Help me, please. Help me, please,” it buzzed, crying.
“Silly Mr. Horsefly. There’s a hole in the top. You can hear my voice, can’t you? Come towards it and you can get out. You mustn’t go to the side, that’s glass,” she said, but the horsefly buzzed more and more.
“Where? Where’s the hole?” it said, flying around in circles.
Chieko began to feel sorry for the horsefly. She decide to help it, and picked up a stick and pushed it into the bottle to try and get the horsefly out. But as hard as she tried it wouldn’t come to the top of the bottle. She worried she might squash it by mistake.
Chieko didn’t know what to do. She thought and thought how to help it.
She tried blowing in the top, and turning the bottle upside down and shaking it, but the horsefly just wouldn’t come to the opening. It flew against the sides of the bottle again and again, hitting itself over and over and hurting itself.
Chieko thought again.
She thought and thought how she might help it, and then she had an idea and ran into the kitchen with the bottle.
In the kitchen she asked mother for a straw and the glass she used when she had lemonade.
She filled the glass with water, sucked up some water with the straw, and little by little, when the horsefly was quiet, she filled the bottle with water. The horsefly was frightened of the water, and gradually it came towards the top.
Chieko was delighted and blew a bit more water into the bottle, but then the horsefly got in a panic again and it buzzed so much it fell right into the water.
Quickly, Chieko turned the bottle upside down and the horsefly came rushing out with the water, and started to drag its dripping wings across the floor. And then, when it got to a dry patch, it buzzed its wings and said,
“Thank you very much, Chieko. I promise to pay you back one day.”
And off it buzzed.
“Mother, mother, I rescued a horsefly. It fell into a lemonade bottle and I filled it with water and saved it.”
Chieko told her mother, excited.
“Did you? Clever girl, Chieko. But horseflies will bite you, so don’t touch one again,” said her mother.
“No, Mother. The horsefly said thank you and flew away. So it won’t bite me,” said Chieko, with a serious face.
Her mother laughed, and from then on went along with Chieko's story that she had talked to the horsefly.
A few days later, mother went out to the shops while Chieko was having her nap.
It happened while she was out.
A burglar broke in through the kitchen, saw Chieko asleep in the living room and walked right over to her and shook her awake.
Chieko was startled and opened her eyes and saw a big, scary man standing right in front of her, grinning horribly.
“Who are you?” she said, rubbing her eyes.
“You’re a cute little thing, now, aren’t you,” he said, still grinning. “Be a good girl and tell me where the money is?”
Chieko blinked and thought she was going to cry, and said, “I don’t know. Where did you come from?”
The burglar made a frightening face, and pulled a gleaming knife out of his belt.
“It’s no use crying. Come on, where does your mummy keep her money? If you don’t tell me, I’ll kill you,” he said.
Chieko cried “Mummy!” and ran away.
“Think you’re going to run away, do you?” The burglar rushed after to catch her.
Just then a horsefly flew into the house with an angry buzz, and started to buzz and fly around right in front of the burglar’s eyes.
“Get off, get off!” shouted the burglar and tried to brush it away, but it wouldn’t budge.
Chieko saw her chance and pulled open the paper screens and ran onto the veranda, shouting “Mummy! Mummy!”
“You’re not getting away!” The burglar was furious now, and he took a final swipe at the horsefly and managed to knock it to the floor, and then ran towards the garden.
The horsefly looked like it might be dead, but after a moment it flew up again straight at the burglar’s legs and took a huge bite.
“Ouch!” The burglar spun around, his foot slipped off the veranda, and he fell and hit his head on a rock and knocked himself out.
Chieko ran out to the road and found a passing policeman, and the burglar was soon tied up.
When mother got home and heard what had happened she cried and cried and gave Chieko a big hug.
And when Chieko looked out on the veranda, there was the horsefly, lying dead on the ground.
“Look, Mother,” she said. “The horsefly bit the burglar. He came to say thank you because I rescued him.”
Her mother nodded. And when father came home that evening, mother told him what had happened, and father patted Chieko on the head laughing, and said;
“In all the whole wide world, Chieko must be the only little girl who’s talked to a horsefly.”
And Chieko made a grave for the horsefly in the garden.
This translation, illustration and narration is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0