The Crab's Child
Usu (a Mortar)
Hasami (a pair of Scissors)
This is a children's comedy based on the well known fairy tale “Saru-Gani Gassen” (known by other names as well) - The Battle of the Monkey and Crab.” The Chestnut, Mortar, Scissors and Crab are distinguished by their coats and head gear. Here you can find one version of the story.
The Father Crab and his child cannot climb
a persimmon tree to get the fruit they would
like to eat. So, they ask a monkey to climb
the tree and retrieve persimmons for them.
The monkey climbs the tree and eats all of
the ripe persimmons, then, starts throwing
the unripe ones at the Crabs below. One hits
and kills the Father Crab. The monkey runs
The young Crab, when he is grown, plans to avenge his fathers death. He starts by bringing kibi dango, a type of millet and rice cake with him. Scissors appears before Crab and follows him after being given that sweet. Chestnut and the Mortar, also join the group. They take their posts in the monkey's house when he is not home. The Mortar hangs from the ceiling, the Chestnut positions himself in the fireplace (hibachi - brazier) and the Scissors stand by the entrance. When the monkey returns Crab and his retinue attack. The monkey is nipped by the Scissors, popped by the flying Chestnut and smashed by Mortar. Crab and his retinue win. They celebrate by drinking sake. The monkey rushes back in; then Crab leaps onto his back and rides him out like a horse.