Usually to parents, their babies are the most beautiful creatures on earth no matter what others might think. Perhaps, the parental love is so strong that it prevents couples to make an objective judgement on their new-born baby’s actual beauty. And thank God for that. Heaven forbid when the parents find their own child ugly because that goes beyond the understanding of our most natural motherly or fatherly love.
Well, this is what happened to Mr. and Mrs. Oda. They found their new-born baby girl so unattractive that they were embarrassed to show her to friends and relatives. They would keep the baby locked inside the house, cursing that stork which brought the ugly kid into their household. Days and months went by, the infant grew up like any normal child would, but still the ugliness that fate so cruelly bestowed remained with it.
On her fourth birthday, the Oda family decided to take the baby for a dingy boat ride at a nearby lake. It was one of those rare occasions that the baby would get to see the outside world, so with obvious delight, she was reaching over the side and stirring the water with her little fingers. What could happen to her? Mommy and Daddy were just inches away, with their usual glum faces, looking over her. She looked at them and smiled, feeling safe, continued playing with water leaning over the side of the dinghy.
Miura-san was enjoying his third Kirin Beer and marvelling the sound of the new motor on his little boat. He was glad that there was no one else at the lake except for that couple with a little kid in a dinghy boat far away. He took another swig of the bitter beer and thinking it’s about time to head for the shore. Suddenly he heard a scream and cries for help. The couple on the far side of the lake were flailing their arms and shouting “Daskete” (help). The kid was not on the dinghy. Miura-san rushed over to their location and found out that the child had fallen overboard. The mother was crying and looking into the water from the dinghy while the father was in the water diving in and out. Miura-san also jumped in to help but their effort was of no avail. They could not find the girl in the lake. The rescue team was summoned and after couple of hours of exhaustive searches the body was found. The ugly Oda girl had drowned to her death.
Few years passed and Mrs. Oda gave birth to another child. And this time the fate was kind to them, for the baby – again a girl – was overwhelmingly beautiful. There was a big celebration and Odas invited all their friends and relatives to come see the new baby. Indeed, she was their little bundle of joy. Whenever they had a chance, the Odas would take her out in the stroller and all the passers-by would exclaim how beautiful their baby was. Days and months passed, as the little girl grew up as any normal child would and also became more and more beautiful. Mr. and Mrs. Oda were very happy but the distant memory of the dead child remained in their mind.
Perhaps to appease that painful memory, they decided to take a dinghy ride again, for the first time since that incident, at the same lake on their new child’s fourth birthday. At first the child was afraid to be on the dinghy, but soon began to enjoy the ride. She reached over the side and began playfully stirring the water with her little fingers. After all what could happen to her? Both Daddy and Mommy were just inches away from her. She looked up at their cheerful faces and gave them a big smile. They smiled in return and told her to be careful. The child went back to her amusement, leaning on the side of the dinghy to play with the water. Then suddenly she turned around and almost nonchalantly said, “Mom, Dad, please do not push me into the lake, again.”