Kataba no Ashi – The One-sided Reed

Translated from Edo no Kimyo no Hyakumonogatari

There was a villain named Tomedo whose heart was wicked.   He attempted to seduce a young widow named Oyoshi, who held an amulet in the shape of a shogi chess piece that he desired.  When she refused him, he became enraged and killed her, pruning off her left leg and arm as if she were a bonsai tree and throwing them into a ditch.

From that time, the ditch grew nothing but a weed called kataba no ashi, which means “one-sided reed” and has leaves that grow on only on the right side.

Even now, they say that this reed is the spirit of Oyoshi.

Translator’s Note:

This print, by Utagawa Kuniteru, is called Kataba no Ashi  (片葉の葦), and depicts one of the Honjyo Nana Fushigi (本所七不思議) meaning one of the Seven Wonders  of Honjo.

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