Clever Mr Sato
by Zoya Nojin
‘Come on, Kim!’ Ben called, tossing the cricket ball at her. ‘You’re bowling!’
Kim tucked an untidy strand of hair behind her ear and ran up to the pitch. She threw a fast ball at Tom. He missed of course and she heard a crash as the ball landed in Mr Sato’s yard.
‘Oh no,’ she groaned. While she loved playing cricket, soccer and tennis with her friends in her street, there really wasn’t enough room for a proper game.
She ran into Mr Sato’s front garden to see him pulling up a small table that had been knocked over. She looked with dismay at the hundreds of paper butterflies scattered about, some crushed, others splattered with mud.
She’d seen Mr Sato sitting outside folding paper before. He’d made flowers and swans and cats that sat in his front window. Origami, she thought it was called. It looked kind of boring really.
‘I’m so sorry!’ Kim said as she helped the old man to pick up the pink and blue butterflies. ‘Some of these are ruined.’ She found the cricket ball and threw it back to Ben who was peeking over the fence.
Mr Sato peered at her through his glasses. ‘You will help me make more then?’
‘Er, sure.’ Kim sat down at the table and sighed as Ben and Tom ran off to play. ‘Why are you making so many butterflies, Mr Sato?’
‘My grand-daughter is getting married tomorrow,’ he said. ‘The tables will be decorated with paper butterflies. Come I will show you.’
Kim studied how he folded the small square paper this way and that until a blue butterfly emerged. It looked so easy. Then she had a turn, but there were lots of folds to remember. Her butterfly turned out wonky, so she tucked away her hair and tried again. Soon she was folding paper like an expert and the whole table was piled high with colourful butterflies.
Mr Sato smiled with approval and lifted his hand. ‘This is a special one for you.’
Kim gasped. The butterfly’s wings moved! It shimmered in the sun. Mr Sato showed her how he did it by holding one part and pulling another.
‘Thankyou,’ she said, thinking how nice it would look in her bedroom window.
Mr Sato found some green paper and made her a toothy dragon. Then he folded yellow paper until a teeny scooter popped out. Brown and white paper made a cute dog in a dog house. What would be next?
Mr Sato took out some large newspaper and made them both crisp newspaper slippers. Kim laughed as she looked at their feet. She never knew her neighbour was so clever.
They were both wearing their newspaper hats and slippers, when Tom and Ben came to see what all the laughing was about.
Mr Sato blew into his hands and held up a red paper cricket ball to show them. ‘You will please use this ball next time you play cricket, okay?’