As you know, Monday mornings can be a bit of a drag where nothing particularly interesting happens and exhausted weekenders return, settling themselves quietly into their weekly routine. This fact being so, I was thus expecting the distant shuffling of letters and parcels in the main sorting office to be my dawn chorus as I rose from my camp bed in Millie’s office and poured a fresh brewed coffee from the percolator.
Not so …… conversely, I was jolted out of my slumber by Millie accidentally catching her toe on the frame of my bed as she ran past and Gertrude, in an equal haste, covering me with a mountain of invoices as she threw her files skyward in an attempt to catch up with Millie.
Fearing the building was on fire, I snatched a coffee and my backpack and flew through the office doors. But rather than the expected blazing inferno I encountered, instead, a throng of mice jostling for a prime position around the mailbags all eagerly watching as Millie and Gertrude pulled on a pair of pink feet at the end of a pair of black fluffy legs.
What eventually appeared, attached to those mysterious legs, was a fellow by the name of Mitsu Mausu. It would seem, that by some strange twist of fate, Mitsu, a travelling Kimono salesmouse from Japan, had somehow managed to get himself swept down the time tunnels and end up in our sorting office. Over tea and biscuits, Winston, who was in the depot for annual maintenance on the time machine, wondered if this strange event may have occurred due to the November supermoon producing an extra bit of gravitational pull whilst on it’s unusually close elliptical orbit around the earth. I didn’t understand what the hell Winston was banging on about, but the biscuits were rather good and I had heard that the moon was going to be extra big and bright that evening, so carried on listening with feigned interest.
Mitsu taught me the traditional mouse greeting bow. It’s repectful to hold one’s whiskers with one’s paws to avoid poking your friend in the eye.
Over more tea Mitsu began to tell us all about the Tsukimi or ‘moon viewing’ celebrations which take place in his village on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Japanese calendar, and Millie, knowing mice to be ardent fans of new cultural experiences, enquired as to whether Mitsu would help the depot organise it’s own Tsukimi celebration. Mitsu said that he would be delighted but added that we must invite all the rabbits in the surrounding area. Again, I was somewhat confused, but this request sounded a bit more interesting than Winston’s elliptical whatnots.
That afternoon Mitsu chose a suitable viewing area on a small hill by the pond whilst Winston and myself went in search of autumn plants to decorate the venue. Millie thought us terribly rude to return with Chinese lanterns, until Mitsu informed us that the Physalis Alkekengii plant did actually grow in Japan. In the canteen Maureen and a small team of staff prepared mochi sticky rice dumplings according to Mitsu’s special recipe. Many paws made light work and it wasn’t long before the canteen mice had rolled a plentiful supply of these small white balls to reflect and celebrate the beauty of the moon.
At dusk we began our procession down to the pond, and as the moon reflected brightly in the water, Gertrude set a small offering of dumplings, roasted sweet potatoes, chestnuts and pumpkin on a special tree stump. Cuthbert, from office supplies, read out a poem thanking the moon for our Autumn harvest and for lighting our way home on dark winter nights, and Mitsu told us a story explaining why it had been so important to invite the local rabbits.
Many years ago, Mitsu began, the old man in the moon looked down at three friends playing in the forest. Wondering which of these creatures was the kindest he came down to the forest and pretended to be homeless and hungry. On asking the fox, monkey and rabbit for help they all went away in search of food. The monkey collected fruit from the trees, the fox caught a fish from the river, but the rabbit returned with nothing. The rabbit asked his friend to help him build a fire and as it began to blaze the rabbit told the old man “I couldn’t find any food for you but I will jump in the fire and when I am roasted you can eat me.” At this point in the story there was a horrified gasp from all our rabbit friends, and an engrossed Bunty Flossops fainted, nearly rolling down the hill into the pond. After we revived Bunty, Mitsu continued ……. The man in the moon jumped up to stop the rabbit “Do not harm yourself to help me, you are the kindest animal in the forest and for this reason I will take you back with me to the moon and look after you.” And so, when at it’s fullest, Mitsu concluded, the kind rabbit can be seen in the shadows on the surface of the moon, pounding the mochi dough with a huge mortar and mallet.
All in all we had a jolly good evening and the rabbits were really pleased with their elevated status of being the kindest animals in the forest. Mitsu stayed with us a few more days until Winston had finished maintenance on the time machine. Mitsu and I have promised to write regularly and maybe I’ll pop over for a visit in the future, which the depot mice are keen for me to do as they bought up all of Mitsu’s kimonos and said they wouldn’t mind a few more for their friends and relatives.
Hope you got to see the supermoon too!
As a parting gift, Mitsu gave Millie a Maneki Neko Japanese beckoning cat to keep in the office. Maneki Neko will help to bring good fortune to all who work at the depot.
In keeping with the feline theme Millie and I decided to gift Mitsu our lucky black cat that we’d found in the sand at St. Aubin’s Bay last year.
Morris apologises for taking a while to deliver this blog, but as you can see it was rather a long letter. Morris would love to hear about your super moon experiences, so please feel free to hit the comments box.
Morris will get back to you mouse style.
© All images and story content copyright of lynncf