I am delighted to be able to publish this work on my blog. I met Clara Koerner a few months ago and within minutes of meeting, we were on a road trip to South Australia. We had the most amazing, lively, deep and funny conversations about life, hobbies and being who we are. During the conversations, I was impressed with this young teenager’s creativity, thoughts and dedication to her passions. Clara who wants to be an author and in her own words write “random and crazy books”. She is mad about horses and rides regularly. She is a huge Rhianna fan. Clara is stylish and loyal to her friends. Did I mention that she also plays the flute; practises regularly and aces all the examinations she takes. Clara is concurrently writing 4 novels. I am already a fan and being privy to the characters behind one of them, I can’t wait for the final version.
Here is one of her short stories which she has also published in her school’s paper. Enjoy!
Chīsana Sakura and The 3 Sacred Tokens
Moral: You can transform yourself through your deeds. If you show that you are brave and believe in yourself, other people will believe in you as well.
Once upon a time, quite a long time ago, there lay an ancient village in Japan. This village had been cursed with droughts for more than 200 years. On one side of the village, rain poured down just like normal. The villagers had water to drink and healthy growing crops to sell and eat. But on the other side of the village, no rain came whatsoever and the crops dried up as the sun beat down on the old carcasses of the cattle who had died of thirst. For years, the village people had been fighting over land. But recently, the two sides of the village had decided to stop fighting and come together to decide on what should be done.
It was the old fashioned days, when men ruled the village and women looked after the children,the cooking and the sweeping. But one girl, daughter of the village blacksmith, wanted to prove to the village that the roles of women were just as important as men.
Her name was Chīsana Sakura and she wanted to be the one to solve the problem for the village. But the only problem was, she didn’t know how to summon a spell so strong as to break the infinite droughts on the village. So, one supper time she asked her father for help. “You!” He exclaimed. “A girl! My own meek daughter, what are you thinking? Everyone knows women are incapable of doing such an amazing thing, solving such a hard problem! Only men have the brains and guts to do so!” Her father dismissed her impatiently. Chīsana was upset that her own father would say such a terrible thing. She pretended to agree to him, but secretly went about trying to solve the problem herself.
Now, what the village didn’t know is that a famous Samurai was coming back to the village to regain his family roots. When the village people saw his strength they thought that he was someone who could solve their problem. He was very strong, but in truth not that smart. Chīsana had seen him, and asked him for assistance in saving the village.
The Samurai looked at her and laughed and threw her 3 tokens. He knew they were magical but hadn’t worked out how to use them yet. The first token was a marble, the next a package of rice crackers and the other being a delicate paper crane. “If you’re so such a smart girl, try and work out how these will help you! These aren’t just tokens, they are magic tokens. Only the bravest will survive!” The Samurai cackled with doubt for Chīsana and walked away, leaving her holding the magic tokens.
That night, a stranger knocked on Chīsana’s door. He had heard about her plans to save the village but didn’t want her to succeed. He was happy with the village the way it was, where the rain just poured on his side and he grew the crops to sell for lots of money. “Hello, little girl. I hear that you are in need of money as you and your father are very poor. I will grant you a deal, if you give me the 3 tokens that the Samurai gave you. I will give you a whole bag of coins and you and your father will have all the money you need!” He smiled wickedly, holding out the bag. Chīsana was tempted, but turned down the offer in her love for the village.
Chīsana stayed up all night trying to work out what the tokens meant, but with no luck. After a month of sitting down and pondering no ideas arrived.
So out of frustration, she went into the withered garden of her cottage and got out the shiny glass marble and threw it into the near dried up pond. “What use do these things do me!” She cried, and fell to her knees at the edge of the pond. The marble hit the surface of the water and all of a sudden, huge ripples started to form and a voice emerged from the depths of the pond.
“Chīsana Sakura.” It called. To Chīsana’s surprise, she looked up and found her own reflection staring back at her. “You have just activated the power of the first token. Now, do you see that mountain before you? Climb it and when you get to the near top, you will see a vicious winged beast guarding something that will help you solve the problem. Take out the rice crackers and sprinkle them all over the ground to distract the beast while you figure out what to do with the paper crane. All will be revealed once utop the mountain. But hurry, and trust yourself!” Her reflection said. and once the ripples of the pond calmed down, it disappeared to reveal the reflection of the tall, fierce looking mountain that loomed above.
Chīsana wasted no time. She dashed into the house and grabbed a woven bag and placed the remaining tokens carefully inside as she bid her father goodbye.
The mountain was gruelling to climb as Chīsana hoisted herself up onto the rocky outcrops. As she climbed higher and higher, it became colder and more slippery. Halfway to the top, she stopped to check if the tokens weren’t damaged from the rough journey. As she was reaching into her bag, her foot slipped and she began to slide downwards! She quickly caught herself on a plant and she found her footing again.
She eventually got to the near top of the mountain, and just as the reflection had warned her, a huge beast was patrolling its territory. Chīsana let herself have a quick peek to see what it was guarding. On a low hanging branch of a tree that stretched out over the side of the mountain, was a nest. ‘The beast must have been guarding its nest!’ she realised. Then, gathering up all her courage, she began to sprinkle the rice crackers. The beast looked up and all at once, jumped forward and started to eat, happily distracted. Then Chīsana remembered the third token and seeing her chance, crept to the nest which was nestled perilously in the overhanging tree.
Hanging from a single branch, she carefully placed the paper crane into the nest. To her delight, the crane came alive and turned into a beautiful bird that took off into the sky and disappeared. And with that, a drop of rain fell onto Chīsana’s cheek, followed by the rumbling of thunder as storm clouds spread across the sky. Then huge raindrops fell from the clouds onto the land below.
Upon Chīsana’s return, the village people all agreed that Chīsana should become the Leader of the Village. But most importantly, Chīsana had learnt an important lesson ; Having the courage to believe in yourself can help you solve any problem. She also proved that women are just as capable as men, and that all it takes is a questioning mind and brave heart to think around the problems.
And as for The Samurai, he solemnly apologised to Chīsana for doubting her, And from that day forward the he and everyone else in the village had great respect for Chīsana and her deeds while experiencing plentiful rainfall and prosperous crops forevermore!