Childbirth at the flower viewing

By Sudo Yoshizou (1793-????)

It was the third month of the year, the time for flower viewings. Mount Asuka was bustling with life as the unveiling of the Prince Inari statue was also taking place, a number of visitors unseen in recent years.

The weather was exceedingly fine, and amongst the men and women dressed in their finest to view the flowers, there was an extremely beautiful woman. She was around 23 or 24 years of age, and while her clothing to her jewellery were bewitching, regrettably her stomach was swollen with the final stages of pregnancy.

Her companion was another woman of equal age and beauty, and with them two men close to thirty, no doubt their husbands. These two couples set out a mat on a nice spot on Mount Asuka, laid out their flasks and lunch, and enjoyed the flowers.

However, the woman with the swollen stomach suddenly went into labour. The pain was unbearable, and her bewildered companions rubbed her stomach, but the pain continued to grow worse. They panicked and suggested that they should move to a nearby tea house for the time being, but the woman couldn’t take a single step.

A curious crowd there for the flowers quickly gathered. The two men grew flustered. Luckily, they had passed a doctor with a medicine box further down the path, so they rushed at once to call upon him.

“She’s about to give birth! Please, can you do something…”

The doctor, however, appeared to be extremely annoyed.

“Actually, I’m here secretly to view the flowers. Although I left the house under the guise of work, in reality the box is empty…”

He opened the box and the men saw it was full of sashimi, snacks, and other foods.

“Oh my,” they said. “We would love to raise a drink with you, but we’ve already finished everything we brought. What should we do?”

While this was taking place, the pregnant woman screamed and finally gave birth. What sat between her thighs was three caskets of sake. From the crowd of onlookers jumped forth a man with a shamisen, and he played in harmony with the pregnant woman’s friend. The doctor began to sing, and the pregnant woman got up to dance.

The crowd of onlookers were astounded. They had been deceived, but they decided that this year’s flower viewing was undoubtedly the best yet.

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