commentary: 舌切り崔のおばあさん (the old woman who cut the sparrow’s tongue)

Hiroi Michiaki: This here, of course this is the old story of the sparrow with the cut tongue… This obake is… Ah. He’s hidden in here.

Mrs. Hiroi: Yeah.

Hiroi: I think there are three. Umm, the sparrow with the cut tongue is…

Mrs. Hiroi: There’s the old lady.

Hiroi: An old lady, um. She took some starch… In the past, you took things like cloth and put starch on it and stretched it out so that it didn’t get wrinkled. Because in the past there weren’t irons, you know. And because the sparrow ate all the starch on the stretched out wrinkled parts, this old woman cut out his tongue [as punishment], the sparrow’s tongue. Despite this, the sparrows invited the old woman to their home. And the woman who cut the sparrow’s tongue, umm, she neglected it, [but] it was in her debt, so when she went home, the [sparrows] said they’d give her a gift, and asked, “Which do you want, a large wicker basket or a small wicker basket?” and she was greedy, so she took the big one. And when she put the basket on her back and went [home], on the road obake (spirits/monsters) came out of it. The old woman was scared out of her wits and very disoriented. If you spin this, it rattles like this, and the obake spin around like this. And the old lady is terrified and looks like this. This is the tale of the sparrow with the cut tongue.


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