Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Witch in the Cauldron

   Once upon a time there was a man named Asakichi living in Yasu Town. One day on a winter’s evening, as he made his way home with a bunch of freshly-picked radishes strapped to the back of his horse, he suddenly noticed that a witch with long, white shoulder-length hair was clinging to his horse’s hindquarters.

   The witch growled at Asakichi, “Give me a radish.”. Shivering with fear, Asakichi threw her a radish. The witch ate the radish instantly. Again, she growled at him “Leave me all the radishes.” He threw her all the radishes he had, but the witch ate them instantly. At last, she growled and said to Asakichi, “Give me your horse’s leg!”. Asakichi shivered with fear and ran down the mountain, leaving his horse behind.

   He ran down the mountain for who knows how long, and finally came across a house with a gleaming light. He was relieved: “Great! I’m safe now.” But to his consternation, the house was that of the witch’s. He became so scared he could no longer move. As he was pacing around her house, the witch came back home.

   As the witch entered her house, she mumbled to herself “If it doesn’t rain tonight I’ll sleep upstairs, but if it rains, I’ll sleep in the cauldron.” Asakichi heard this and came up with a good idea. He sneaked around to the back of the house and climbed up to the roof. He started peeing on the roof. The witch heard the splish-splash sound and thought it had started to rain, so she got into the cauldron, fell asleep and started to snore.

   Asakichi quickly came down from the roof, went into the house, put the lid on the cauldron, and weighed it down with a lot of stones. The cauldron was already in the fireplace, so he lit a fire with wood, and cooked the witch, who finally died.

Taken from vol.29 PDF

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