By Coco Wong, age 9, Pok Fu Lam
Once upon a time, there was a woman called Chie who lived in Imado, Eastern Tokyo. She had a cat whom she loved very much. However, she lived in extreme poverty because she was too lazy to work hard. She knew she would soon need to sell her cat.
“I love you, Chieko, but I will need to part with you. If not, then both of us will die of starvation,” Chie murmured.
Chieko curled up into a ball and purred.
The next day Chie sold her cat. That night she missed Chieko so much that she could not sleep. She was so sad and kept on crying. All she could do was think about her cat.
One week later, Chie had a dream in which her cat came back to her.
The cat cried, “I miss you very much, owner. I want to help you. To get money and honor, you must work hard and make a statue that represents me. People will start buying it. Then everything will be good!”
The next morning instead of being lazy and staying at home, Chie followed her cat’s instructions and went to the riverbank and got some clay. When she came back, she made a cat statue. Soon, a man saw it and asked to buy it. Chie agreed.
The next day while Chie was making more statues, the man came back with a friend who said, “The sculpture you sold my friend gave him A LOT of luck! He found five Ұ10,000 notes and got hired to a well-paying job. Is it okay if I buy one?”
Chie exclaimed, “Wow, that is amazing! Sure! It will be 15 yen.”
The friend bought the statue.
The following day when Chie woke up, she saw 250 people lining up in front of her door.
As she opened her door, people started shouting, “WE WANT GOOD LUCK! GIVE US SOME CATS!”
She happily ran to set up a sign on her window that said, “Open.”
The very next day she finished making 700 more cat sculptures, and on the same day, she saw 500 people lining up to get the cats! She opened her shop and started selling.
As Chie was working, the emperor came by and said, “Hello. I am Emperor Qin Shi Huang. May I have a good luck cat? I have heard from lots of my people that you are a very hard-working lady. Good luck!”
Chie replied, “Yes, you may have one. It’s my honor to see you, my emperor. Thank you so much for the support!”
The next day, Chie was very surprised to see what was at her doorstep. It was a letter from Qin Shi Huang that said,
“Thank you for giving me two lucky cats. I would like to make a deal—ten cats for Ұ150 and an extra Ұ50.
“Sincerely, Qin Shi Huang.”
Chie exclaimed, “Wow! This is amazing! My life is going too well! Good for me!”
That night, when Chie was sleeping, she dreamed Chieko was talking to her.
Her cat said, “Hello, owner! I’ve been wondering if you have been successful by working hard to sell sculptures. If you have, it would be time to use your money wisely by buying me back!!”
Chie replied, “Yes, I have been very successful, and tomorrow I will buy you back.”
The next day Chie brought Chieko home and soon became very prosperous. At the end, she had a very happy life with her cat. Chie had learned a lesson: If you work hard, you will earn more money and be wealthy.
Woman name: Chie, meaning “wisdom”
Cat name: Chieko, meaning “wise child”
I got the idea of this story from a Japanese legend about the famous Japanese Maneki – neko clay cats.