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Gift bearer
Also titled "The Gift Bearer". Chapter six from the tenth volume of the Horror World of Junji Ito collection, House of the Marionettes .


PlotEdit

An unnamed man is hired to hypnotize Sou Okura, an extremely selfish and grasping businessman who is even willing to kill people to get what he wants. The hypnotist breaks into Okura's house and is horrified to see Okura's young son tied up on the floor, where he was left after his father beat him. The hypnotist places Okura in a trance and tells him to "dedicate yourself to others" and make people happy.

Some years later, a young man has begun distributing gifts to everyone in the town. The neighborhood people are suspicious of him and avoid him. He comes across the hypnotist, who is returning to the town for the first time in 15 years after having been there on business. The man explains that giving out presents is his "job" which he has been doing for 14 years, but takes nothing in return because he wants to make people happy. After the man leaves, the hypnotist finds him familiar and realizes too late that it is Sou Okura's son, now grown up. The hypnotist opens his own gift, which contains a wooden doll in the image of Okura. 

The hypnotist follows Okura's son and watches as he is tormented by neighborhood kids, who believe the dolls are voodoo dolls and that they can move. The hypnotist thinks he saw his own doll move. Okura's son comes across Risa, a young girl who is the only person in town that will accept his presents. She has received many copies of the same wooden doll from him. They go back to his house, which is full of thousands of copies of the doll. Okura's son explains that one day his father woke up, stopped being violent and instead got to work carving dolls that looked just like him. He and his son began distributing the dolls around town in an effort to make people happy, with the son continuing alone after Okura was killed in an accident.

The hypnotist eavesdrops outside a window and realizes that Okura's subconscious mind took the instruction to "dedicate yourself to others" literally. Okura could not divide his physical body so he carved the dolls instead. His son was sleeping in the same room and so was hypnotized at the same time. The hypnotist is stunned by the depth of his own power but fears that trying to free Okura's son from the spell could be dangerous.

Okura's son tells Risa that all the dolls contain his father's soul. They have fun dressing up the dolls together, and she suggests that he dress as Santa Claus and give out the dolls for Christmas. He does, but this time, he has added clothes and hair to all the dolls. He is turned away from Risa's house by her father, and abused by the neighborhood kids, who throw snow at him. Finally, he collapses in the snow, freezing. He opens the present that Risa had left out for him, which contains a candle. He remembers the fairytale "The Little Match Girl" and thinks that if he lights the candle, his father will appear in the flame and take him to heaven. Okura's son goes into a trance-like state from staring at the flame. The hypnotist decides that now is the best time to free him from the spell and return him to his original personality.

Suddenly, all the wooden dolls burst out from inside the presents. Now that the spell is broken, Okura's soul is conscious again inside the dolls. They surround the hypnotist and march on the town, screaming "Bring me back! Bring me back!"

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