Buku The Cake Tree in the Ruins by Akiyuki Nosaka

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The Cake Tree in the Ruins by Akiyuki Nosaka

Author:Akiyuki Nosaka [Akiyuki Nosaka]

Language: eng

Format: epub

ISBN: 9781782274193

Publisher: Steerforth Press

Published: 2018-06-10T16:00:00+00:00

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The Cake Tree in the Ruins by Akiyuki Nosaka

THE ELEPHANT AND ITS KEEPER

The 15th of August 1945

IN A ROTTING OLD WATERMILL deep in the mountains, twenty kilometres from the edge of town, there were living an emaciated elephant that had none of its former majesty, and a man who was so shrivelled that it was impossible to know his age or even his gender.

 

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The Cake Tree in the Ruins by Akiyuki Nosaka

Author:Akiyuki Nosaka [Akiyuki Nosaka] , Date: June 11, 2019

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Author:Akiyuki Nosaka [Akiyuki Nosaka]

Language: eng

Format: epub

ISBN: 9781782274193

Publisher: Steerforth Press

Published: 2018-06-10T16:00:00+00:00
THE ELEPHANT AND ITS KEEPER

The 15th of August 1945

IN A ROTTING OLD WATERMILL deep in the mountains, twenty kilometres from the edge of town, there were living an emaciated elephant that had none of its former majesty, and a man who was so shrivelled that it was impossible to know his age or even his gender.

Too many undernourished people and animals appear in these stories, I know, but it was wartime, after all. There were probably some plump people with glossy skin even at that time, but you never saw them among the regular citizens.

Even now, the rationing system is still nominally in place,* but during the war it was strictly regulated. To begin with everyone was given 350g of rice per day, but in 1945 this was reduced to 320g and wasn’t always just rice but contained defatted soybeans, normally used as fertilizer, or the corn or wheat bran meant for chicken feed. So children and grown-ups all went hungry year round, and looked like death warmed up.

When there isn’t enough food for people, then there certainly isn’t enough to fatten up the cows and pigs and other livestock destined for human stomachs, much less for dogs and cats. From about 1941, such beloved pets began disappearing off the streets, and the zoos began asking families to let them have their vegetable peelings and used tea leaves for the animals. Photos appeared in the newspaper of a hippopotamus that would normally have eaten a whole cabbage sticking its muzzle into tea leaves, and lions that would normally fight over pieces of beef instead contemplating some lumps of frozen whale.

Even so, they could still get by. In April 1943, however, there was no longer any doubt that there would soon be air raids on the Japanese mainland, and nobody could say what might happen then. The animals were normally docile, but they might be so traumatized by the ear-splitting explosions and resulting fires and smoke that they would break out of their cages and run away. With bombs dropping from the sky and feral animals on the loose on the ground, it really would be like hell on earth. And so it was decided to dispose of all the animals that might pose a danger to people and livestock, such as the tigers, polar bears, leopards, lions, black bears, hyenas, brown bears, Indian elephants, crocodiles, lynxes and emus.

“Our lion is already old, his eyes are bad and he’s missing some teeth. He’ll be lucky to live another year.”

“Same with the crocodile. It was cold this winter, and he’s getting really weak. He’s right off his food, too. He’ll go soon enough without any help from anyone.”

All the keepers of the various animals tried hard to avoid having to kill the ones in their care. And the animals themselves, now that they were being fed only a third of what they needed, and not the type of food they were accustomed to, all lay listless in their cages. Even if there

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