The boy who dreamt beyond the harbour village

Arche Sechsbaum/Hitomi Nonaka
Yuka Umeki
  • 512

    Peter, actually Pete, a boy who had started working under the stubborn hat shop owner a year ago, mended withered hats from early in the morning until late at night.
  • He dreamed of selling his own set of hats but the owner would still not teach him his skills and continued to use him like a slave.
  • If not for the gentle comfort of Wendy, the only daughter of the hat shop owner, and Tink the parrot,
  • Pete would have quit without regret ages ago.
  • “What’s taking you so long, Peter. Just hook it! Just hook it!”mimicked Tink the parrot.
  • “Quit it Tink. Besides, it’s Pete, not Peter!”shouted back Pete.
  • 512

    Day after day Pete relunctantly continued to do what the owner ordered,
  • dreaming of the day he’d see his hats lining up next to those of the owners. But some days it got so tiring, boring and upsetting.
  • A deep sleep he’d soon he’d find himself in a dream where he’d fly up to the moon and off on an adventure ...
  • where he was the hero who’d save Wendy, his secret love, from the hands of the evil captain Hook.
  • He would call down towards the pitiful pirates, “Hey, Captain Hook! Don’t you ever dare set a finger on my sweet Wendy!”
  • 512

    RRRRR, RRRRRRR. To the sound of his alarm, Pete forced himself awake, …
  • regretting having to leave his pleasant dream to start another harsh day under the arrogant hat shop owner.
  • “How long will it go on like this?” wondered Pete.
  • As he thought this, he looked up at the ceiling of his small room to find his best cloak and hat, which had been a present from his father.
  • Staring at them, his mind drifted back a year, back to the night he had first met the hat shop owner.
  • 512

    It was on a cold Christmas day, …
  • and Pete who had no job and was wasting his time fooling around with a gang, sneaked into the small hat shop to steal some money.
  • However, just as he approached the till, Tink the parrot started chanting, “Robber, Robber!!”
  • 512

    Pete jumped up in fright to the sudden sound and dashed towards the door where the stern looking hat shop owner stood, blocking his way.
  • Pete thought of pushing him out of the way, but somehow, looking into the eyes of the owner that resembled those of his long dead father, ...
  • Pete found himself mumbling the word, “Sorry.”
  • The owner walked over to the solemn looking boy and said, “A gentleman would never apologise with his hat on”.
  • Then he suddenly offered Pete a job at his shop which Pete gratefully took since he was starting to get tired of his aimless life.
  • 512

    From that very night, Pete vowed to himself that he would work for the owner, who had given the sad boy mercy, …
  • until he could set up as a hat maker himself.
  • So although working under the owner just to be treated as his slave was tough, he remained patient and did his best.
  • And eventually one day, the owner called Pete over to his workshop “From tomorrow, I’ll start teaching you my skills.”
  • Delighted, Pete went straight over to Wendy and told her the news.
  • Wendy congratulated him and watched him with gentle eyes as tears of joy rolled down Pete’s cheeks.
  • 512

    However, the next day Pete woke up to the sound of the loud bellow of the owner.
  • Wendy came running to his room to explain that the vault in which the owner had kept all his sales had been emptied.
  • She added hesitantly that since Pete was the last one to come out of the workshop where the vault was kept, …
  • the owner was suspecting that he had stolen the money.
  • 512

    Pete was devastated by this and ran out of the shop, with Tink the parrot following him.
  • 512

    After running for a while, Pete came across a small pub called “Neverland.”
  • It was the pub that he and his gang had spent many nights at drinking together before he started working at the hat shop.
  • Pete drank pint after pint of beer until he could no longer think straight, and there, perched on drunk Pete’s left shoulder was Tink the Parrot.
  • Pete mumbled wearily,
    “It’s not you who I wanted next to me.”
  • Just then his ears caught a familiar voice from behind, the voice of his old gangster friends.
  • One of them burst out laughing,“Well well, you all should have expected on me from the first place.
  • I knew I could do better than that wimpy Pete.”
  • Hearing this, Pete at once understood that it was the gang who had stolen the money from the hat shop last night.
  • As Pete shivered with fury, Tink cried out, “Go for it Pete! Go for it!!”
  • 512

    The next moment, Pete was leaping himself towards the gang to get a strike at them, roaring, “Give back the money!!”
  • Although shocked by the sudden attack, the gangsters, three of them in total, soon started striking back at their old member.
  • None of the other customers having a drink at the pub tried to stop the fight but instead sat by, amused at the scuffle going on.
  • Pete was soon on his back as the three mercilessly beat him up.
  • 512

    Having had enough of it, the three gangsters left the pub laughing while Pete remained on the floor, having been knocked out during the fight.
  • He had neither been able to retrieve the stolen money nor been able to teach the gangsters a lesson.
  • Tink peered into Pete’s swollen face worriedly, but found, to her surprise, a wide smile.
  • Well of course, it was because Pete was in the middle of that pleasant dream of Neverland, …
  • soaring across the dark blue night sky full of stars hand in hand with Wendy.
  • And far bellow were the three defeated gangsters in pirate costumes.
  • 512

    The next day, Pete stood with a swollen face in front of the doorway to the little hat shop.
  • Not knowing what to say to the owner or how he might react, Pete was not able to gather up enough courage to enter the shop.
  • Just then, Wendy came out and seeing Pete’s wounded face, cried out, ...
  • However, even with Wendy’s invitation and Tink's encouragement, Pete hesitated, until a voice was heard from inside. “Don’t just stand there.”
  • 512

    As Pete entered the shop, he abruptly fell to his knees and bowed his head low, ...
  • while the owner continued working on a hat, without even a glance at the boy.
  • Pete, between sobs, explained how he had found out that the money had been stolen by his former gangster friends and ...
  • that he had not been able to retrieve the money.
  • The owner remained silent. Feeling sorry for Pete, Wendy nagged at her stubborn father “Why don’t you at least say something?!”
  • After a while, what seemed like a few minutes of silence, the owner mumbled “You won’t get anywork finished if you stay on the floor.”
  • Pete looked up from his bow as a tear trickled down his swollen face.
  • 512

    He was overwhelmed to find that the owner had believed his words and had given him a second chance.
  • “Come on Pete, fetch a seat and sit next to me. Your hat making lessons start from today.”
  • That was the very first time the owner had properly called him by his name. Not Peter, but Pete.
  • Pete and Wendy looked at each other in both surprise and joy. Pete felt that finally he had been acknowledged as the owners proper worker.
  • He was overwhelmed to find that the owner had believed his words and had given him a second chance.
  • A few years later, …
  • in that hat shop in a harbour village, the only one in the village, next to the splendid hats made by the stubborn owner, ...
  • there lay lined up another set of fine hats, not so different from that of the owners, except that they all had a small “P” sown inside.