Oite Kebori – The “Leave it Behind” Straggler

Translated from Edo no Kimyo no Hyakumonogatari

There are days when the clouds are too thin to carry rain, but pour down anyways.   On such a day fish can be pulled from the water with abundance.    A fisherman need only cast his rod about without care, lazily chatting with his friends without any other care, and the fish will come.   When a day like this pulls to a close, those stragglers remaining behind may be witness to a mysterious phenomenon when they finally make for the road home.

From the moat in which they have been fishing, a voice comes telling them to “leave it behind…” This may cause them to only shudder in their hearts, but as they try to leave their feet become heavy and drag on the road. Their big sacks which had been filled with fish become suddenly empty.

It doesn’t matter if they listen to the voice and empty their sacks, or if they ignore it and  struggle to make their way home.  It doesn’t matter if they put only a little back in the moat, and still try to make off with a mere remnant of their catch.

Either way, they will find themselves with nothing to show for their day’s labor.

Translator’s Note:

This print, by Utagawa Kuniteru, is called Oite Kebori (置行堀), and depicts one of the Honjo Nana Fushigi (本所七不思議) meaning one of the Seven Wonders  of Honjo.

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