He-y, Come On Ou-t!

by Shinichi Hoshi

Start Free Trial

What does the workman hear at the end of story "He-y, Come On Ou-t"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the end of the story, a construction worker is taking a break when he hears a voice shouting, "He-y, come on ou-t!"

When the story begins, a large and seemingly endless hole is revealed in the earth after a typhoon displaces a shrine which had been covering it. The people think it must go completely to the center of the earth, so a young man walks over to it and shouts into the hole, trying to measure the depth by the echo the hole should produce:

"He-y, come on ou-t!" shouted a young man into the hole. There was no echo from the bottom. Next he picked up a pebble and was about to throw it in.

"You might bring down a curse on us. Lay off," warned an old man, but the younger one energetically threw the pebble in. As before, however, there was no answering response from the bottom.

After various attempts to determine the depth of the hole, it remains a mystery. Soon the people willingly fill it with all of their earthly problems. Nuclear waste, the bodies of animals tested with contagious diseases, the city's trash, and old diaries are dumped into the hole with no thought about how such actions might impact the townspeople in the future. Caring not for the future, the people live only for the moment and think they have found an easy and convenient way to rid themselves of Earthly inconveniences and troubles.

It is ironic, then, that it is a construction worker, employed to build even more fantastical structures reaching in steel to the sky who first hears the voice which was yelled down into the hole when it was first discovered. This is followed by the return of the pebble that was thrown into the hole, but the worker is so captivated by the unnatural skyline of buildings that he misses this warning of the consequences of poor decisions. The reader is then left to envision all of the things which the people have tossed into the hole returning as a storm of destruction raining down from the sky.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team