Chapter 5. Ito Maki (いとまき)
You follow the Red Birds to a clearing in the hillside, and what a sight! There you find a grand gathering of animals of all shapes and sizes, getting ready to sew some outfits. They are delighted to see you, because they need your help...
As you and The Fox climb out of the basket, the animals of The Gathering are all buzzing and chatting with sewing needles in their paws. Nearby sits a huge pile of different sizes and colors of fabrics. There seems to be some confusion in the air. As you and The Fox approach, a Big Brown Bear with wide eyes an a puzzled expression looks up at you and smiles. ‘Why, hello friends!’ says the Bear. The Bear notices your astonishment as the words come out and lets out a hearty laugh. ‘Don’t look so surprised!’ says the Bear. ‘Don’t you know it’s springtime? At the beginning of spring, we like to come together to share in a bit of silliness, this year by making our most colorful outfits for the coming Springtime celebrations. We all need a bit of silliness now and then, don’t we?’ At this, the animals in the circle all let out a cheer.
‘But what seems to be the problem?’ asks the Fox, also noticing some confusion. ‘Well,’ the Big Brown Bear continues, ‘we’re having a little trouble getting our measurements right…! You see, sewing is very new to us.’ The puzzled Bear scratches an ear. ‘We’ve tried to make a t-shirt for the Bumblebee, but it came out way too big! Meanwhile, we want to make forty pairs of pants for the Elephants, but the fabric is way too small. Whatever shall we do?’
‘Hm,’ you say. [well, i would say this is quite strange, but…] ‘Well... I suppose I can help a bit. After all, I wear clothes all the time! And I’ve seen people sew before, so I suppose I know a little something.’ The animals gather around you with anticipation. You pick up a t-shirt that is lying on the ground, a full three sizes too big for a puzzled-looking Bumblebee hovering nearby. ‘Well,’ you say. ‘We could cut part of this t-shirt and sew the side again to make it smaller. Or we could fold it over a few times to make a sweater!’ At this, the animals murmur and nod. ‘Wonderful!’ buzzes the Bumblebee. Next, you look at the Elephant, and then look at the small pieces of fabric scattered around the circle. ‘And... how would you like forty pairs of... patchwork pants? Pants of many colors!’
The Elephant looks very pleased. ‘Colorful patchwork pants sound perfect for our Springtime celebrations. To the Story of the Springtime!’ Your ears perk up at these words. But before you can ask what the Story of the Springtime is, the animals all cheer and start rushing around, gathering fabrics and finding their seats to begin sewing. ‘Whew, thank you for your help,’ says the Big Brown Bear, looking a bit less puzzled. ‘We were a bit stuck. You’ve really made our Gathering less confusing! Would you like to join us, and do some sewing? We’re all sharing our silliest stories… and we can even teach you a song we like to sing when we sew!’ With that, the Bear invites you and The Fox to pull up chairs, hands you some fabrics, and without missing a beat, jumps into one of the silliest stories you have ever heard.
Download and color in the Ito Maki animals on your own!
ALSO: Do you have ideas for other animal-clothes combinations? Send them to us!