Momiji's story, Episode 11
|the most foolish traveler in the world
Oh hey - you know what? There’s this kid in my class who reads a lot? Yea, so, he got this new book and he brought it with him yesterday. It was called A Guide to the World’s Greatest Fools. He’s always bringing funny books like that. This one time, he brought one called The Universe of Stew! So anyway, a bunch of us sat down and read this book together. There was this one story in it - I remember - it was called The Most Foolish Traveler in the World.
You see, once upon a time there was this foolish traveler who had gone on a journey.
Why was he foolish?
Well, because he was fooled by everyone he met.
Everywhere he went people made up all kinds of sad stories to tell him, and the traveler fell for every one of them. Pretty soon…his money, his clothes, even his shoes had been cheated away from him.
But the foolish traveler was always glad to help. And he always told people the same thing. He said, ‘I wish you happiness’. But by this point though, the traveler was completely naked. And with nothing left to cover himself, he decided to leave the main road and travel through the dense forest, where no one could see him. But soon he was discovered by the goblins that lived in the woods.
The goblins wanted to eat the traveler’s body! So they begged and they pleaded and they used kind words to try and trick him. Of course…the traveler was fooled. First, he let the goblins eat one of his legs, then an arm, then more and more; before it was over, all the traveler had left was his head!
He’d even given his eyes away to the last of the goblins. And as that last goblin was eating the traveler’s eyes, he turned to the traveler and said, ‘Thank you traveler. In return, I leave you this present’. What the goblin left was a slip of paper with the word fool written on it. But the traveler couldn’t see it. He didn’t even know what it was. Even so, tears began to flow down his face. ‘Thank you,’ he said. ‘This is the first present anyone has ever given me! I’m so happy! I’m so happy, thank you!’ And even without his eyes, he cried and cried great tears of joy.
Then, the traveler died, the smile still on his face.
And that’s the end of the story.
Right after we heard that yesterday, all of the other kids in the class started making fun of the traveler.
But while they did that, I closed my eyes and thought about him a little bit longer. I thought of how he gave everything away, until all he had left was his head, and how at the end, he still cried for joy as he said thank you.
And then I realized…I feel so sorry for him. See? Flaws, hardship…things like that? You can’t ever focus on them. The traveler didn’t.
He never thought about his own troubles at all. I imagine that it probably does sound foolish to some people, but not to me. I don’t think he’s foolish at all. Even though other people probably think he was being tricked, I don’t think he was.
I think he did exactly what he wanted to do. I think, more than anything, he just wanted to make other people happy.
…Is that foolish? When you close your eyes and think about it, is that what it was?
~Momiji Sohma in Fruits Basket