- Face-up artist(s):
- Date of acquisition:
- September 16, 2015
- via Mint on Card
- Reason for choice:
- Those gently folded ears!
- Best Points:
- She's small, sweet, and soft.
- Worst Points:
- She barely poses, can't stand on her own, and it extremely difficult to make clothing for due to her small chest and large hips.❅ A Story ❅
It started with a white cat.
She didn't have a home, and at first she didn't have a name. The people of the town called her different things, gradually, bits and pieces of names that indicated little more than the possibility of food, and she never remembered them.
She didn't have a long life, but for a cat with no name - or with many names - it was a good one. She ate fish and slept in the sun, sometimes sleeping with her brothers and sisters, the other strays.
She was young and healthy, and though she tried to run, she was caught, and her throat slit. She was skinned, her hide soaked in water for seven days, the flesh and fat pounded from it. Salt lined the skin for months before her white fur, the source of many names, now grey and brown and matted, was scrapped away with a gentle blade. Then, the bared hide was kneaded with dung and innards. It was a nasty business, not least of all for the cat, who was quietly aware but felt no pain.
When all that was done, her hide was washed with cedar oil, as flexible in death as it was in life. But it would not last.
Hers was a good skin, and so she would be used for the best. Her tanned hide was stretched over a drum made of lusciously grained quince and a neck of red sandalwood. Three strings of silk were drawn across her, fixed in place by ivory pegs to a bridge of buffalo horn. When it was plucked with a plectrum of ivory and tortoiseshell, a melody filled the air and the cat's skin danced with the sound.
She had been made into the finest of shamisen, and she was bought from her crafters by a master shamisen player. He played elegantly and lovingly, and they filled the days with music. The master spoke to her as the villagers once had, and though she had no ears to hear, she listened and replied in song. He kept her safe inside, away from the rain and cold that would distort her drum, and replaced her silk strings when they broke.
Then one day in winter, the master, who was an old man, died and his shamisen was passed to his disciple. The new master played her once, twice, then finally substituted her with his own beloved instrument. The shamisen was placed in a beautiful box for storage, then put away.
The shamisen, not understanding, sat idle, hoping someone would return to play her once more. She thought of her beloved master, her first owner, and her heart broke knowing he would never return. She wept, first as a shamisen does with discordant strings, then as a cat does.
Summoned by the noise, the apprentices of the house rushed to the storeroom. When they opened it, they could not believe their eyes when they saw a snow white creature, halfway between cat and human, where they had expected to find a century-old shamisen. In their terror, they chased her away.
She wandered with her shamisen, much smaller now that she was separate from it, playing sorrowful songs and thinking of old times.
"If I am to live," she said, "And surely that is what I am doing now, then I must have a name."
She thought, and remembered a time before she was a shamisen, when she had been given many names. And of them, she chose the name Fuyu, for the season in which her master had died.
So now she travels, wandering with her songs and her shamisen, and sings of the fate that befell her, of the master she loved and the disciples who abandoned her and chased her away. She may even be there still.
- Island Doll
- Head Sculpt:
- An An
- Snow White
- Island Doll
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