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Sparrow

Sparrow

Sparrow

Old Japanese Folk tale ~ "The Tongue Cut Sparrow"

 

 

 

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'Tis said that once upon a time a cross old woman laid some starch in a basin intending to put it in the clothes in her washtub; but a sparrow that a woman, her neighbor, kept as a pet ate it up. Seeing this, the cross old woman seized the sparrow and, saying, "You hateful thing!" cut its tongue and let it go.

Evil old woman whom cut the sparrow's tongue Sparrow flying away scared and with a cut tongue

above illustration from - Japanese Fairy Tale Series - no.2, by Artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898

When the neighbor woman heard that her pet sparrow had got its tongue cut for its offense, she was greatly grieved, and set out with her husband over mountains and plains to find where it had gone, crying, "Where does the tongue-cut sparrow stay? Where does the tongue-cut sparrow stay?"

 

worried old couple looking for their sparrow friend

above illustration from - Japanese Fairy Tale Series - no.2, by Artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898

At last they found its home. When the sparrow saw that its old master and mistress had come to see it, it rejoiced and brought them into its house and thanked them for their kindness in old times and spread a table for them, and loaded it with saké and fish till there was no more room, and made its wife and children and grandchildren all serve the table.

 

old couple having a wonderful time the tongue cut sparrow dancing a jig! family of the tongue cut sparrow family of the tongue cut sparrowfamily of the tongue cut sparrow

above illustration from - Japanese Fairy Tale Series - no.2, by Artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898

At last, throwing away its drinking cup, it danced a jig called the "sparrow's dance." Thus they spent the day.

When it began to grow dark, and they began to talk of going home, the sparrow brought out two wicker baskets and said, "Will you take the heavy one, or shall I give you the light one?"

The old people replied, "We are old, so give us the light one. It will be easier to carry it." The sparrow then gave them the light basket and they returned with it to their home.

 

old couple walking home with a light weight basket, a gift from their sparrow friend!

above illustration from - Japanese Fairy Tale Series - no.2, by Artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898

"Let us open and see what is in it," they said. And when they had opened it and looked they found gold and silver and jewels and rolls of silk. They never expected anything like this. The more they took out the more they found inside. The supply was inexhaustible. So that house at once became rich and prosperous.

cross old woman filled with envy! old couple delighted as they sort through the gold, silver, jewels and silk rolls!

above illustration from - Japanese Fairy Tale Series - no.2, by Artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898

When the cross old woman who had cut the sparrow's tongue out saw this, she was filled with envy, and went and asked her neighbor where the sparrow lived, and all about the way.

"I will go too," she said, and at once set out on her search.

Again the sparrow brought out two wicker baskets and asked as before, "Will you take the heavy one, or shall I give you the light one?"

Thinking the treasure would be great in proportion to the weight of the basket, the old woman replied, "Let me have the heavy one."

 

evil, envious old woman carrying home a heavy basket!

above illustration from - Japanese Fairy Tale Series - no.2, by Artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898

Receiving this, she started home with it on her back; the sparrows laughing at her as she went. It was as heavy as a stone and hard to carry; but at last she got back with it to her house.

 

evil old woman being torn to pieces by devils!the troop of frightful devils!

above illustration from - Japanese Fairy Tale Series - no.2, by Artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898

Then when she took off the lid and looked in, a whole troop of frightful devils came bouncing out from the inside and at once tore the old woman to pieces.

(Japanese Fairy Tales , by Lafcadio Hearn; artist T. Hasegawa; C.1898)

 

 

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