The Lotus Monster Book - Sample

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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Lotus</strong> <strong>Monster</strong><br />

By<br />

Judy Burns<br />

Illustrated<br />

By<br />

Margien Burns<br />

Original Idea<br />

By<br />

Shannon Duane<br />

Copyright July 2, 2017<br />

All Rights Reserved

Forward<br />

Readers:<br />

Did you know Japanese ghosts have no feet… or that<br />

ghostly snow goddesses can either freeze a man who gets<br />

lost in the icy mountains or marry him and have a family?<br />

How about ghosts who love the way a blind young man<br />

plays the Biwa (a kind of guitar), so they bring him out every<br />

night to play for an entire royal court of ghosts?<br />

Japan is full of wonderful stories about princes, princesses,<br />

knights, gods and dragons. We have met some of<br />

these terrific stories in movies like “Spirited Away” or 2016’s<br />

“Your Name”.<br />

Our story follows one little American girl who learns<br />

that monsters come in all shapes and sizes. <strong>Monster</strong>s are<br />

not all as big as Godzilla, but even little monsters can be<br />

exciting and fun. We hope you enjoy our “<strong>Lotus</strong> <strong>Monster</strong>”.

This book is dedicated to:<br />

Toshiro, Akira, Hiroshi, Yoko and her Obachama...<br />

and especially to Momma, who always believed<br />

in her children and their imaginations.<br />

And we can’t forget Quinlan, without whom this<br />

book would not exist.

<strong>The</strong>re was once a very little girl (shojo) who lived in Japan.<br />

Although she was not Japanese, Quinlan was like children<br />

everywhere. She had a huge imagination and spent<br />

most of her days using it.

In the morning, she pretended she rode a rocket car to<br />

school instead of her bicycle. On the way out of the Marine<br />

base where she lived, she imagined her daddy (otosan) flying<br />

the old jet that was perched forever on a pillar inside the<br />

main gate.

She had left the base and was biking past a lotus farm,<br />

daydreaming wonderful things, when a terrible thing happened.<br />

<strong>The</strong> lotus plants in the field suddenly began swaying<br />

back and forth, and something horrible parted the lotus<br />

leaves and stared out at her. Quinlan squeaked.

’“What’s wrong?” Momma (okasan) asked.’<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s a monster in the lotus! See!” Quinlan pointed.<br />

Momma looked at the giant lotus leaves and flowers, but<br />

she saw no monster.<br />

Finally she asked, “Quinlan, are you sure you didn’t<br />

imagine a monster?” Quinlan sighed. That’s what grownups<br />

always thought.<br />

As she bicycled away from the lotus field, she spotted two<br />

tiger-fish (shachi) sitting on a blue tiled farmhouse roof and<br />

thought, “Those fish things are monsters. <strong>The</strong>y swim on<br />

tiles that look like water, and nobody says they aren’t real!”

At school (shogakko), Quinlan hurried to her friend,<br />

Toshi, and said, “I saw a monster in the lotus today.” Toshi’s<br />

eyes grew huge.<br />

“I live next to a lotus field,” he said. “I hope the monster<br />

doesn’t find me.”<br />

During art class, most of the children’s (kodomo no) pictures<br />

were of houses (uchi), cats (neko) and flowers (hana).<br />

Quinlan’s and Toshi’s pictures showed a sea of green (midori),<br />

but in the middle there were monstrous eyes.<br />

“Oh, my,” said Teacher (Sensei). “Something has very<br />

big eyes.”<br />

“<strong>The</strong> monster in the lotus,” Toshi blurted out.<br />

“Ah so,” Sensei exclaimed, “A real monster?”<br />

Sensei Sees <strong>The</strong> <strong>Lotus</strong> <strong>Monster</strong> Art

“Real.” Was all Quinlan<br />

would say. She was<br />

tired of grownups thinking<br />

she had made up the<br />

monster, but she pointed<br />

to a calendar poster of a<br />

tiger-fish on the wall. Its<br />

scales glowed like fire. It<br />

had puffy eyes and long<br />

sharp teeth. “I think it<br />

looks just like that.”<br />

“Hmm,” said Sensei, “I know a story about a fish like that.<br />

Would you like to hear it?<br />

“Hai, Hai,” everyone said. “Yes. Yes.” And so this is the<br />

story that Sensei told them.

<strong>The</strong> Good Little Fish<br />

Once, there was a tiny fish (sakana) who wanted to make<br />

the world better for everyone. His fish friends laughed at<br />

him, saying Man (otoko) would surely catch and eat him one<br />

day. And indeed, one day the little fish was caught.<br />

<strong>The</strong> fisherman who caught him was so hungry that he<br />

was going to pop the little fish into his mouth that very moment,<br />

but the fish cried out, “Please, before you eat me,<br />

could you tell me what I could have done to make the world<br />

better?”<br />

<strong>The</strong> fisherman had never heard such a question before,<br />

so he thought about it, and then said, “I have heard that if<br />

a fish were to swim up the great river that feeds this sea,<br />

magic might help the world. But that’s just a story, and I am<br />

hungry now.”<br />

“I would swim the river (kawa) if I had the chance,” said<br />

the little fish.<br />

At that, the fisherman lowered the fish gently back into<br />

the water (mizu). “If you are that brave, go and seek goodness…<br />

for all our sakes.”

<strong>The</strong> Good Little Fish Is Caught

And so the little fish began to swim!

It’s very hard to swim upstream. <strong>The</strong> water tried to push<br />

him back to the sea. <strong>The</strong> torrent became fast and powerful.<br />

It smashed him against river rocks and hurt him horribly,<br />

but still he fought on. <strong>The</strong>n he came to a waterfall,<br />

and it seemed the little fish would die trying to swim up the<br />

mountain of water, but finally the brave little fish managed<br />

to reach the top.<br />

He was so tired that he thought, “I can swim no further.<br />

I am sorry I could not finish and help everyone, and he<br />

flopped up onto the land to die. Still, as the fish panted for<br />

breath, he did not realize he had made it all the way to the<br />

beginning of the river.<br />

Suddenly he felt his body growing bigger and bigger,<br />

and his nose and tail growing longer and longer, and his<br />

teeth growing great and sharp.<br />

<strong>The</strong> fish looked at himself in the water and saw that he<br />

was no longer tiny and weak. He was a great dragonl (ryu).

<strong>The</strong>n to his amazement, Amaterasu, the sun goddess, spoke<br />

to him, saying, “Because of your good heart, all living things<br />

will thrive, and the world will be better.”<br />

Amaratsu and the Dragon

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