Shinji Nagashima's - Furuyanomori
Tadao Tsuge's - Vincent Van Gogh on the Hill
(#3 in the Folktale Series.) A rather clumsy ninja rushes to a farm where he's been hired to protect the family's horse from a wolf. Said wolf then approaches and enters the house and crouches next to the horse, ready to attack. The family consists of an old woman, her husband and a young boy. The boy asks his grandmother what the world's scariest thing is, and she answers "a ninja", which gets the ninja very excited. The grandfather agrees that ninjas are scary, but what about wolves? The ninja goes into a panic at the idea of a wolf being near by, and the wolf becomes very happy. The grandmother agrees that wolves are also scary, but what about "Furuyanomori"? (furuya is an old house or cabin, and "mori" is a forest, so the impression is something that lives in a old cabin in the woods). At this everyone in the house gets shivers and agrees that furuyanomori are scary. Just then, some water leaks through the roof onto everyone's necks and they all go yelling "furuyanomori, furuyanomori". The ninja falls from his perch and lands on the wolf, who goes screaming out of the house thinking that the furuyanomori has caught him. The wolf tears into the woods, knocking the ninja off into a hollow tree. Deeper in the woods, the wolf encounters a baboon and some other animals and warns them of the approaching threat. The baboon promises to protect them all and they go to the tree where the "furuyanomori" was last seen. The baboon lowers its long tail into the hollow of the tree, just as the ninja recovers from his concussion. He grabs the tail and tries to climb out. The baboon panics and tries to bolt, ripping his tail off. The narrator then explains that this is why, to this day, Japanese baboons have short tails, and that their faces and buttocks have turned bright red out of shame. Finally, back at the house, the boy starts asking "grandma, what's the world's..."
丘の上でヴィンセント。ヴァン。ゴッホは (Vincent Van Gogh on the Hill)
A part-time factory worker/university student spends his days at work, and his nights learning to paint just like Van Gogh. He talks to the reader about Van Gogh's life, and wonders what had happened to make him paint so many self-portraits. A co-worker drops by with some grilled chicken and sake and they revel through the night, leaving the worker exhausted the next day. This is the time of the U.S. war in Vietnam, student unrest in Japan, and union strikes. The factory is trying to keep the workers happy, but it's not working. The artist buys some grilled chicken to share with his friend, but then discovers his friend in the company of two university students that are planning on trying to rescue another student demonstrator that had been arrested earlier. The friend decides to go with the other two, and the artist returns back home to his paintings.