Kid-quick in the servant's quarters

New word for today: kobayai. Ko (child) + [rendaku] + hayai (fast, early, hasty) = "Unusually fertile, quick to fall pregnant". Not to be confused with the surname Kobayashi, despite the vast number of folks bearing that surname today.

Obligato-unsavory senryū (online source):

わたくしは 子早い方と 下女おどし
Watakushi wa/ kobayai hō to/ gejo odoshi
'I'm the baby-prone sort,' warns the maid.

In Japan as in many other countries, maids as a group inspired desire, jealousy, and resentment. Senryū writers knew that zingers could be squeezed from this sort of foolishness like juice from a self-important orange, and so many a seventeen-syllable verse revolved around a young, crafty maid putting one over on her employers. One of my favorites, for the imagery rather than the wit:

Gejo e hai/ sakin ga aru no de/ haimodori
Creep into the maid's room-- someone's already there. Creep back.

(Yes, I did award it bonus points for giving an Eastern-nasalized sakin ga the same mora count as the modern/standard saki ga. Why do you ask?)

Popularity factor: 0

Comment season is closed.