English XI (Old Course)

The Loving Mother – Summary | The Magic of the Words

Pharmacist Shoji Sakota lived alone in Sapporo of Hokkaido, in Japan. He was a widower. His pharmacy was at the front part and the living apartment was at the rear of the same building. He sometimes would work in the pharmacy late after it had been closed.
                A stormy night in 1994, he was working on his annual business report. At about midnight, he heard a knock at the door. He did not response it for two times. After the third knock, he thought it might be an emergency case and thus went near the door. He saw through the glass a woman standing nervously. At first, he thought it to be a trick to rob him off. So, he asked her to come in the morning. But the woman pleaded him to help for her baby. Feeling confident that it was indeed an emergency case. Shoji opened the door. The woman looked lanky; her skin abnormally light; disheveled hair hanging loosely over her shoulders. Her kimono was completely worn out. Shoji got startled at her piercing gaze. When she asked for some ame on a stick, again he got baffled. Yet he gave her some worth a few cents. No sooner had she got the appetizer than she disappeared in the night.

                Though he tried to sleep, yet he could not because the woman’s image kept on haunting him. He could not forget her extraordinary eyes. For the next night the woman visited the pharmacy at the usual time for ame. He was so much overwhelmed by her appearance and manner that he simply forgot to ask her why she came there at midnight, not in the morning.

                After her third visit, Shoji asked his photographer friend to take her pictures secretly so that he could study her appearance. Shoji gave her ame while his friend snapped several shots of the woman. Later they got the film developed; to their surprise the pictures showed all of the objects in the shop, but no image of the woman at all. Both of them got surprised at it.

                However, they did not lose hope. They planned to follow the woman when she came for the fourth time. When they walked after her, she knew it easily but did not mind it, rather she was happy with them. A few streets away, she led them to the stairs of building, and disappeared through a door. They entered the room and switched on the light; they saw a baby licking the same ame on a stick. The woman looked asleep beside the baby. They thought she was pretending to be asleep, and Shoji touched her to know the reality about her. To his surprise, the body was cold and lifeless. When examined more closely, they found she had been dead for several days.

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