The Foxes' School

The process of transition from reality to a fantastic world The protagonist, "I" in this story went to a field called "Baraumi" to collect some good specimens of volcanic bombs and to confirm a rumour that sweet briers grew there. This highly probable opening develops into an unreal world in which "I" visited a foxes' school and observed their class work.
One of the important characteristics of Kenji's stories is the way he adopts a variety of ideas and devices to describe the process of transition from reality to a fantastic world. He tries to depict the process as a natural event in the human mind.

A school bell ringing from a long distance in the field After walking around the field for half a day, "I" was able to find a piece of volcanic bomb, but no sweet briers. Feeling hungry, "I" took a paper bag of bread out of the knapsack "I" had brought along. But before eating lunch, "I" decided to look for a place to get some water. After finding no place to get any water, "I" gave up looking and was about to eat when "I" heard a bell ringing in the distance. It sounded like a school bell, but "I" couldn't believe there could be a school in the field. The next moment "I" thought "I" heard children chattering away at the tops of their voices. "Because of the gentle breeze, the chattering of the children could be heard clearly for a moment, but then it died away. But it had been the voices of naive, innocent children calling to and answering each other, freely shouting for joy, and laughing aloud. "I" was attracted by the voices and ran in their direction. Unexpectedly, "I" tripped over a bundle of grass tied together like a trap and fell down. Just then, "I" was surrounded by great peals of laughter from all around. "A lot of young foxes stood there, some wearing only a vest and some only shorts, but all of them were watching me and hooting at me."
Observation of the class at work in the foxes' school Before long, a teacher fox wearing a frock coat came out, and invited "I" to observe the class at work.

Fantasy, a vivid image really felt in the mind
Everyone has had the aural experience more than once of listening intently to a faint sound that seems to come from, or not come from, somewhere. By reading this vivid description of such an experience, the reader is easily led into a fantastic world, freed from reality. In the story, "I" explains the experience of seeing the foxes' school in a way that is neither a lie nor a bewitchment by a fox. "Though I said there was a foxes' school, I meant that it appeared in my mind. It was not a lie."
Presumably, Kenji as well as "I" want to say that the story is not an artificial fiction, but was rather something provoked by such a vivid image in the mind that it was really felt, as is related in the annoucement of publishing "The Restaurant of Many Orders."

Rhythm in Kenji's Stories
Fantasy as Reality of the Mind
Foxes, rats, horses---
The World of Kenji's Works
The World of Kenji Miyazawa