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Note: This is a tale set in the world of Pokémon. While many of the characters in this story are of my own creation, I do not own the canon characters and do not intend to profit from this story in any way.

<--The Tale of Popolo: Part 1 ll The Tale of Popolo: Part 3 -->

 

The next morning, I awoke from my rickety, creaking bed, took Koosh in my arms, walked down the creaking stairs to the main room, and saw Mom at the table.

            She was drinking tea1, hunched over a number of objects in front of her.

            “What’s all that you have?” I said.

            “Gifts for you,” said Mom. “For your journey. Elm told me you were going away.”

             “You didn’t have to spend that much on me,” I said. “You’re always spending so much – ”

            “Hush!” She said, standing up. “I already know I’m a spendthrift, Popolo. But it’s my money to spend, and if I can spend it on someone who needs it more than I do, I think that’s a good thing. You’re my daughter. I have every right to give you everything I can. So you can go out and make your own fortune, and not have to live on my own meager resources.”

            “We’ve gotten by for this long.” I put Koosh down on the table. He sniffed at each item.

            “On what? Potatoes2 and charity? Even the neighbors are more prosperous than us. No, I want you to go out and find better prospects for yourself.”

            “But you’ve said for so long that I was supposed to stay here and keep house – ”

            “No, all I said was that you were needed here.” She looked at the open doorway. “You’re father’s run off, and your sisters are all married off. There’s nothing left to uphold here. I can take care of myself. I need you to get out of this place.”

            I looked around the room. It was cluttered with knick-knacks, wall hangings, fancy light fixtures, and assorted useless objects. And there were the table, the washbasin, the larder, and a few chairs.

            “This isn’t enough to survive on?”

            “Survive, maybe. What about living?” She gestured to the items on the table. “Think about who made those things. Prosperous people made those things. People who knew the value of a dollar. People unlike me.”

            Certainly I had never seen shoes quite so colorful before, or the device that looked like a black wristwatch. I picked up the shoes. “Where do these things come from? What are they made of?”

            Mom laughed. “I’m sure I have no idea! All I know is that they come from far away.  I had to pay the man at the store a hefty sum to order them for me. Here – ” She picked up the black wristwatch. “This one, it’s called a Pokégear3, tells the time, but it also has a map of the land, and a little radio. And here – ” She took the shoes from me. “This pair of shoes is better than anything I’ve ever seen. You’re going to be doing a lot of running from danger, from what I hear, and you’ll appreciate these.”

            “This is all very generous,” I said, placing the items in my canvas bag. “But you really want me to leave?”

            “Popolo,” said Mom, placing a hand on my shoulder. “You’ve been told all your life, by neighbors and friends, that women are supposed to stay home and rule the household, to take care of everyone. But you’ve never heard it from me. Haven’t I always told you to do what’s right?”4

            “You have.”

            “And what was right beforehand was helping everyone in this house survive. But now what’s right, in this case, is to go out into the world and find Ethan, and have your Pokémon grow strong. That’s what you want, isn’t it? To train Pokémon? You’re always training the Rattata. You could do the same thing anywhere you go. Didn’t you used to tell me you wanted to become a great Pokémon trainer?

            “Yes.”

 “Then I think it’s right for you, too. You can’t be stuck here forever.”

            “To be an adventurer, then, that’s what you think I ought to be? I wanted to see the world. But...I guess I wasn’t thinking about how it would mean leaving you.”

            “You have to leave some time. You really can’t stay here forever.”

            “This is all very sudden.” I looked down at my shoes.

            “ It doesn’t have to be. I’m not going to kick you out today, for heaven’s sake! You can leave any time you’re ready. And don’t worry. We’ll be able to keep in contact – your Pokégear has a telephone as well. I’ve added the number for the telephone in the market,5 and someone will probably be there to come get me.”

            “I’m going to miss you.”

            “And I will miss you, my youngest and bravest daughter. I love you.”

            “You too. I might visit, now and then. I won’t be gone forever.”



 

1: Many say tea has existed since time began. Some of the earliest known writings from this region are treatises on the brewing of tea. The tea in question is Oddish-leaf, fresh from the Pokémon. This shows how far away in time we are from such a document, for not only would the majority of people find it cruel to pluck an Oddish’s leaf, they would find it impossible. Oddishes vanish from the records shortly after the beginning of the Rojo dynasty, thereafter only appearing in children’s tales. Such documents also build a case for some of the more outlandish creatures in this tale; if we can be certain that a species of ambulatory plant existed, the presence of giant amphibians and spherical owls is less doubtful. That they could do all the things Popolo said they could do is still more a matter of legend than fact.

2: Potatoes were not introduced to this area until a few centuries ago

3: Pokégear-type devices have been found in tombs dating to no more than a thousand years ago (Gerard Yomi’s “Excavations at the base of the Indigo Plateau,” Proceedings of the  Kanto Archeological Conference. Kanto federation of Archeologists. October 8, 3394.) The presence of this device in Popolo’s story is probably one of the many embellishments of Kameha’s early modern translation; it is not found in the translations of The Learned Kaspar or Professor Willow, both of which predate Kameha’s work by a few centuries.

4: Popolo’s story has been hailed as a prime example of prototypical feminism, in that it features a girl who is able to go out and adventure instead of being forced to stay home. But then, if this is so, what happened to the cause of social equality between Popolo’s era and ours?

5: Another anachronism. 

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