The Boy Who Drew Cats (Folklore From Japan)

A long time ago, there was a boy named Joji. His father was a farmer. Joji had lots of brothers and sisters. Unlike his brothers and sisters, Joji seldom helped his father. He always spent his time drawing. He only drew one thing. He juts drew cats! Joji loved to draw any kinds of cats: big cats, small cats, thin cats, fat cats, etc.
     His father often advised him to stop his habit.
   "Joji, how can you be a good farmer if you always draw cats?" asked his father.
     Joji then promised not to draw cats anymore. He started to help his father. However when he saw a cat, he could not help his desire to draw cats. He began to draw again!
     His father could not stand it anymore. He thought if Joji could not become a farmer, he could be a priest. He said, "Joji, I will send you to a temple. You will learn how to be a priest there!"
     Joji arrived at one temple. At first he could learn well. He did not draw any cats. However, slowly he missed his habit. He began to draw cats again. It made the teacher angry.
     "Joji, you are here to learn and not to draw cats. You have to stop it!" said the teacher.
     Joji nodded. Again he promised not to draw cats anymore. Sadly, he broke his promise. Joji started to draw cats again.
     The Teacher was angry. He said, "Joji, I've told you not to draw cats again. Sorry, I can't let you study here. You must go home!"
     Joji was so sad. He knew his father would be angry if he went home before he finished his study and became a priest.
     "I will find another temple. I hope they will let me study there," thought Joji.
     Joji began his journey. Later he found a temple. He knocked the door. No one answered. He looked around. The place was so quiet. He did not see anyone there.
     He finally met a man. Joji asked, "Excuse me, Sir. Why is this place so quiet? Where is everyone?"
    "They are hiding. Let's hide now," said the man.
    "Hiding? Hide from what?"
     The man whispered, "There is a monster rat here. The rat is as big as a cow. Come on! Let's hide now! The monster rat can smell us easily."
     Joji found a big room. He felt so terrible for being trapped there. It was almost dark and Joji could not sleep well. He was thinking about the monster rat.
     "What if the monster rat comes here and eats me?" thought Joji.
To calm him down, Joji began to
draw cats again. This time he just drew one cat. He drew a very big cat. The cat was as big as an elephant!
      He spent the entire night drawing a giant cat. After he finished, he felt so tired. He started to sleep.
     He woke up from his sleep. He heard terrible sound! Joji was so scared. He did not dare to see what that sound was. He just stayed in his bed and continued his sleep.
     In the morning, he found the monster rat in his room. It was dead! "What happened? Who killed this monster rat?" thought Joji.
     Joji then looked at his drawing of the giant cat. There was something strange with the drawing. "I'm sure I drew the cat with the head to the left and the tail to the right. But why did the cat face the other way?" thought Joji.
     "Maybe... the cat killed this monster rat! "Thank you, honorable cat. You have saved me. For as long as I live, no one will stop me from drawing cats." Then he pressed his palms together and bowed to the drawing.
     The villagers were happy when they knew the monster rat was dead. Joji became a hero! Later, the priest of the temple let him stay there. Did Joji become a priest? No. Well, he did not become a farmer, either. Joji became a great artist. He was an artist who drew just one thing. Cats!
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