Sun Fox Bathed in Moonlight(日狐狸在月光洗澡)

One night in the forest a red fox found a new tree. All among the tree’s branches were peaches.  All below the tree was people. The fox crept closer and closer to the tree. Soon he saw lanterns and drinks. Then he saw women and men. The fox realized he was seeing a party. A party he wasn’t invited too! Angry, he snuck up the tree to were the largest bundle of peaches were. One by one he snapped them off the tree, so they’d fall on the people below. They jumped in all directions, shouting. All the while, the fox snickered up in the tree. The party goers jumped and shouted all through the night; until clouds covered the moon and they all fell prey to exhaustion. The fox watching every man and woman fall asleep, before he too finally closed his eyes.

A nasty smell filled the fox’s nostrils. His eyes slowly opened.The fox was in a small room. A young girl sat besides him. She was preparing tea. When she noticed the fox was awake she pushed the tea forward. Next handing him a pair of folded clothes and waiting. The fox took in the girl. She was beautiful. Pale like the moon and delicate like flowers. Why was a girl like her in a place of such an awful smell? The fox turned away from the girl and looked around the room. He saw a mirror; in the mirror was a man. He had long, unkempt red hair , very defined features with long rounded eyes, a thin nose and a small smirking mouth. His skin was even paler then the girls. The fox was instantly mesmerized by the image. By the red hair so similar to his fur, the eyes as yellow as the reflection he saw in water and by the dirt, leaves ad red peach juice all over the man The fox lifted his paw to point and saw the man do the same. He looked to the girl and she frowned. “Please take a shower, Kitsune. Lady Kaguya awaits you.” The fox stood up, and in that moment he realized he was the man in the mirror. Only a man could see the world so high up.

The fox followed the girl, quite clumsily. He dragged the bed sheets down the halls, causing clamor and thumps with each swish of fabric and fall. Abandoned in front of a hanging cloth, he peeped his head through . Little baskets awaited him. He left the clothes in an empty basket and walked through the next door. He saw a pond, outlined by rocks and bushes. The fox rushed quickly into the water dragging the bed blanket along with him. The water quickly turned brown.  Making each scrub of an arm, leg, face, armpit or groin futile. By the end of the scrub even the cloth was dyed brown. The red-haired fox dragging a wet blanket and a look of cleanliness along with him back into the basket room. He threw on the clothes, like he saw people in the forest do and grabbed the nearest peach smelling spray. The pink-orange bottle let loose an array of scents. All smelled pleasant to the fox. Now, he was able to confidently leave the room and smile at the girl who was waiting for him outside.

The girl looked at him a little nicer. She was able to take the time to wait for him to get used to walking now. Even being nice enough to inform him that he was to leave the wet blanket at the cloth doorway. The young girl opened a door to a large open room and instructed him to sit and wait on a soft square. Soon the screen before him opened and the most beautiful girl appeared before the fox. If the young girl he had met before had been a flower she could only be known as an unkempt mountain flower now. Before him sat the most refined of flowers. A girl so small, thin and delicate the tiniest forest wind could blow her down. Her skin was so pale the moon looked dark in comparison. Her lips so small and red a cherry blossom petal would be jealous. Eyes that were both largely round and filled with innate wonder. The fox himself wondered if he possessed enough curiosity. When the girl spoke, the fox hear nothing but music. He was barely able to tell her his name. When she giggled and called out his name, Sun, the fox had to bow to the ground to stop himself from fainting. When she told him he had a job, that he could stay here. His heart felt like it left his chest. When she waved goodbye and the screen closed, the fox finally felt like he could sit up and feel his heart once again. Happily, clamoring his way to the kitchen he was prepared to set himself to work.

Hours went by as the fox slowly learned his new job. Get the cow from outside and clean it for the girls in the kitchen. Then they could take the cow and make dinner for the beautiful girl behind the screen. When the day turned to night he was told to go take a break, but that he’d have to shower once again. He happily bathed a second time and returned to his room. Pleased that the water was still a dark brown. In the once empty room of bed and mirror, the fox now saw candles, drinks and a wood block with liddl wood shapes on top. By the drinks sat a beautiful lady, now in a simpler pink robe. The fox took in again her skin, face, lips and eyes. When she patted the floor besides her and offered to teach him the wood block game, his heart left his chest again. Hours going by, the lady leaving room once the candles had burnt down. Her generosity so apparent in the gift of shiny gold coins.

The beautiful lady was kind enough to tell him he could trade the gold coins for gifts and so he left the room to find something just for her. One of the kitchen girls told him of the nearest town. The now human looking fox was confident he’d be able to stroll around town now. He was so confident he hadn’t had the prudence to get directions to the shop itself! The fox was lost, late at night, in a crowded part of town. Everywhere he looked he saw pretty mountain flowers in the street. Men trying to pick them. One little shop caught his eye. In the front was a basket of small little things; behind it was a room filled with a party in full bloom. The fox looked down at his new hands and feet. Now, surely he would be allowed to be in the party.So he walked in and sat down at one of the tables.

Almost immediately girls swarmed his table, offering him drinks. He nodded and let them sit with him. They talked and talked for hours. The fox yawning real wide. The fox was set to leave when he saw her from across the room. She was the second most beautiful girl he had ever seen.  Only losing to the beauty of his mistress. She sat cheering two men on. Who were trading gold coins as their game went on. He strolled over to her and asked to play with her. The girl looked him up and down and smiled.Taking his hand and helping him to a small, private room. After talking a little bit, they played games for hours. The fox left as the sunrise began to peak, with only two gold coins left and a small gift for his mistress.

When he returned the fox once again was told to shower and then go work. Spending his day with the cows again. When he was done he gladly hopped back into the brown water pond, sprayed his peach perfume and entered his room to see his mistress. For the second night in a row they drank and played games till the candles burned out. The mistress leaving only after she gifted him more gold coins and some good advice. He should save his money. A girl like her expects bigger and better gifts.

The fox left the house for the party store determined to return with more money. Which he did. This time he left with half a bag full of gold coins. All intention to return home for more then an hour or two of sleep. On his way home he bumped into a man, being carried by four larger men. The man looked down at him and smiled. He wanted to know his name. The fox eagerly introduced himself and his mistress. Hearing the girl’s name the man smiled and offered him a chance. He told the fox he knew a way to marry the beautiful mistress. All the fox had to do was come work as a scribe for him. The fox thought about it a moment and happily agreed to go home with the man. Walking along side the four men who carried him way up high. Following him into private and separate baths and to bed.

The next day was filled with him learning how to write down what the man and his friends said. He had to learn how to read it back the right way and ignore all the frowns from the men around him. The nice man still smiled at him. Still offered him advice. Still offered him a way to marry his mistress. All he had to do was work hard, move up and gain a new name. Then his new master would talk to his mistresses parents. He said he’d convince them to let them marry.

Every day became filled with writing and conversing. Every night became writing letters to his mistress, going to the party shop and returning to his master’s bed. Of course in between all of these things Sun remembered to shower.

Shot By Sunguk Kim

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