Tuesday, April 03, 2007


The Musical Curing of Mice

There is an old tale by a famous Japanese author, Kenji Miyazawa, about a cellist named Goshu (translated literally as Gauche, but some translators use Gorsch to avoid some of the connotations associated with the word gauche - although it appears that the name Goshu was deliberately taken from the french word gauche, so...). Goshu is the worst cellist in the symphony, the "Venus Orchestra", and just before a concert his conductor bullies him mercilessly during rehearsal [sound familiar anyone?]. So Goshu practices late into the night after work to try to improve. Each night he is visited by a series of animals who ask him to play something for them or want to play music with him - a cat, a bird, a badger. The fourth night a mouse asks him to cure her baby's illness. The mouse tells him many sick animals have come to lay beneath the floor of his house to listen to him play and his music cures them. So Goshu picks up the sick baby mouse and puts it inside his cello and continues his practice. When he is done, the mouse is cured. The night of the concert the orchestra plays its best ever. The conductor acknowledges Goshu, asking him to play an encore solo - to resounding applause.

This story is so much a part of Japanese culture that today, "cello hiki" - one who plays the cello - is also called "goshu".

How cool!

[Thanks to Yoshioka for the links.]

EDIT: Here is a link to a detailed synopsis of this story, also a Wikipedia article.

Loved your cello-mouse story, especially concerning the healing powers of the cello!
I love this story!! Don't I wish I could pass a few mice along, though they seem to have dissipated somewhat.
A lovely story! I shared it with my sons.
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