What does an onion have to do with a painter? The only connection I could come up with was that a painter might use an onion to draw a still life — in case he ever ran out of apples. But in the children's story The Stray Onion by Murayama Kazuko (村山籌子), now available in Reajer book 54 on the easy level, things are a little more creative than that.
This is how the story begins:
Onion-san was a painter.
As you can see, the onion and the painter are the same guy. Yes — the protagonist of this story is a talking, moving onion. And he's not the only unconventional character; in fact, the only human here is a young policewoman.
Now look at how the suffix さん is used in this sentence — not once but twice. In this story, as well as in other children's stories, さん has a few interesting functions:
Here the first instance of the suffix (玉ねぎさん) is an example of the first two functions, while the second instance (えかきさん) exemplifies the last function. There are other examples later in the text.
By the way, えかき is 絵描き — a painter, an artist. It's actually easier to understand this word when it's written in kanji than when you see it in hiragana-only spelling.
Here are a few of the other useful things you'll learn in book 54:
For a plot description and links, and for other easy ebooks, go to the easy level page.
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