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FRUITS BASKET STORY: A BANQUET

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Once a long time ago, there was a man. For as long as he could remember he had always always been by himself. If he climbed down the mountain, he knew that he would meet people, but chose to be by himself. Having the strength of a thousands men. Having the lives of a thousands men. That man having thousands memories. He knew that he was different from other people.

This man was afraid of other people. He was afraid of getting hurt. While he had so many powers, he was afraid of this self that he knew was so different from the world. And so to him.

A Cat come one day. This was a sudden encounter with another visiting him. The Cat bowed his head and said,

“I have been following you for some time. You have a most unusual aura, I can’t help but be drawn to you. I realize I am but a stray cat, but won’t you please let me stay by your side?”

“Please, ‘God.'”

Since then, as he said, The Cat never left the man’s side. He never left for a moment and that made ‘God’ so very happy that a thought came to him.

Perhaps, I can get along with them if it was a being other than human. If it is with beings who have similar experiences, then we can have a fun banquet…

And so, ‘God’ wrote out many invitations.

In return, twelve animals arrived to see ‘God’. Following that, the thirteen animals and ‘God’ had a banquet each night in the moonlight. Singing and dancing, and laughing with each other. At the banquet for the first time, ‘God’ laughed out loud. Even the moon watched quietly, over the beings who did not look human.

However, after some time, The Cat collapsed. His life has come to its end, and there was nothing they could do. Everyone of them cied. Everyone of them realized. Eventually, everyone would die. No matter how fun it was, the banquet would end. Eventually. No matter how much you love them.

Then ‘God’ cast one spell. He drew a circle in the water with his finger. He had The Cat take a sip of water. Then he turned to everyone else and said,

Let us make our friendship last for eternity. Even when we die, let us be bound by our friendship for eternity. No matter how many times we die, no matter how many times we are reborn, again, in the same way, no matter how many times, let us have another banquet. Everyone getting along for all time. Let us be in eternal bliss…

Everyone nodded in agreement and The Rat took the first sip. Then was The Ox, The Tiger, then The Rabbit. In their turn, the water was divided equally. At the end, when the last drop was gone, The Cat began to gasp.

‘God’, ‘God’, why did you make me drink that? ‘God’, I do not want eternity. I do not want eternal bliss…

Those were unthinkable words to say. To ‘God’ and all the other animals, it was rejecting words. Everyone was sad to hear them, and they all turned against The Cat.

Even so, The Cat said,

‘God’, ‘God’, even though you are frightened, let us accept that all things end. Even though it is sad, let us accept that life ends.

‘God’, even though it was just for a short time, I was happy being by your side.
If I were to die, to reborn, and meet you again, the next time, rather in the moonlight, I want to see you smile in the sunlight.
The next time I meet you, I want to see you laughing surrounded with people…

And for the last time, The Cat raised his tail and died peacefully.

But none of the animals cared about The Cat anymore. Because everyone felt they had been betrayed by The Cat.

After that, one by one, they all died. In the end, The Dragon died last, and so ‘God’ was alone once more.

And eventually, even the day came that ‘God’ died too. However, he was not afraid because his promise to everyone supported him.

Again.

We will have a banquet again. Once again. Many times, always unchanging.
No matter how alone I am right now.

On the other side of that promise everyone is waiting for me…

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Now this is a story from a time long ago.
It is the first memory everyone has forgotten.
The first promise.
The first promise, since when did it become a ‘curse’?
Since when did it become a ‘burden’?

When everyone was happy, and struggled to part.

Love, should have been there.
Time has gone by, people have changed.
And it became something that has made people suffer.

I’m sorry, I am very sorry.

But, there is something I want to say to you for trying to keep the promise.
Although it is not the promise that was originally made,
To all those who kept it,
What I most, most want to say to you is
Thank you.
Thank you.

The far far story,
The very first memory that everyone forgot.
The story of when the cat’s words came true,
was much,
much,
much,
later.

— Fruit Basket vol.22
Natsuki Takaya