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The Tongue-cut Sparrow or as I call the story, 'Sparrow's Gift' is a Japanese folktale that tells much about the Shinto beliefs, which are ancient, ancient, and unwritten

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The Tongue-cut Sparrow or as I call the story, 'Sparrow's Gift' is a Japanese folktale that tells much about the Shinto beliefs, which are ancient, ancient, and unwritten. The oldest records are from pieces of pottery showing birds, who were the Tarii, spirits. The vital force is Komi, which is in all nature, everything is alive even rocks. To walk through the gate one must be washed then can call the spirits. The ancients from 2,000 AD and early called this the Honey Way. Shinto is the medicine way.


Once a long, long time ago lived two sisters, Old Grandmothers. Older sister adopted a little sparrow that she cared for very lovingly.

One day, while older sister went forest to gather firewood to boil the pot of starch, younger sister was in the yard doing the getting the starch ready for the gown. They washed and starched the gowns for the richer people in the village. A sparrow played above younger sister while she washed.

"You good-for-nothing bird I'll show you. You get food and water you don't deserve!" cursed the younger sister.

Grabbing up her scissors, younger sister thrashed them at the sparrow, and spilled the starch everywhere. She yelled at the innocent sparrow, "Never return here, I will cut you up."

When old sister returned, no sparrow flew of the trees to great her. "Sister!" called old sister, "Where is my sparrow?"

The younger sister replied, "Sparrow? That worthless bird drank up all the starch for the washing, so I snipped its tongue. It flew away crying, 'Chun, Chun.'"

"What a mean-hearted thing to do!" cried old sister. "I must go at once to apology to sparrow." So the older sister wrapped her cloth around her for warmth and with her cane for balance left for the mountain. "Chun, Chun?" she called as she walked up the mountain path.

Soon she came to man cleaning an oxen. Old sister called out, "Oxen washer, do you know the home of the 'tougue-cut' sparrow?"

"Oh, the sparrows, Help me wash this oxen and I will tell you."

Old sister took her time scrubbing the oxen with gentleness and kindness, being especially careful around oxen's eyes and ears, and cleaning oxen's feet. Oxen washer was delighted. "Go up this path, you will come to a bamboo grove. There you will find the sparrow weave in her garden."

Old sister climbed the path into the mountains, calling, "Chun, Chun?" The path was clean, well tended, swept, flowers blooming, butterflies fluttering and bird singing. Old woman came into a great bamboo grove. In the middle of the grove was the beautiful fine house. Many sparrows flew about singing. A sparrow was weaving on a great loom and wearing an apron." "Sparrow, oh sparrow!" called old sister.

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