The priest did not know what to say. Suddenly the words came out of his mouth, straight from his heart, without passing through his mind: 'Stay away from large places. Sleep only in small spaces.'
Akiro was puzzled. It was strange sort of advice for a priest to give his student when he was sending him away into the world. But a teacher's advice has to be taken with gratitude, even when it sounds odd and meaningless. So Akiro bowed low and left.What a good attitude Akiro has!
Our library has a few different versions of this folktale so I also checked out The Boy who Drew Cats adapted by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Aki Sogabe. These illustrations are also well-done, though I prefer those in the first. I hesitate to write anything against Margaret Hodges's story-telling skills, but the priest's advice in this tale is "Avoid large places at night; keep to small," which seems less lyrical to me though it obviously means the same thing.
Very young children might be a little disturbed by the drawings of cats spotted with red (blood from the goblin). The illustration of the goblin rat in the second book includes only the tail, but the text was a little more frightening than the book above. Not that Second Daughter or Second Son (ages seven and five) found either bothersome. Dead goblin rats and bloody cat drawings are apparently run-of-the-mill around here.