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If you thought the story couldn’t get any weirder after yesterday’s scene, you might be surprised by today’s page. It’s a Halloween miracle! It looks like the story will have a happy ending after all!
In Kyōden’s illustration you can see Urashima Tarō, now with a stately mustache (since this takes place some 17 years or so after we last saw him) and Orino, wearing a regular kimono instead of an oiran’s kimono. It seems that they stayed together all this time (I wonder what Otohime thinks about that). They are riding a cloud, which implies that they didn’t walk to Heiji’s place, they just magically teleported in and then teleported away. It’s lucky for Heiji and the mermaid that she has such magical parents!
Heiji’s mermaid wife, as if in response to her young husband’s wish for her to have hands and feet¹, shed her skin just like someone takes off their pants, and underneath were human arms and legs! This is almost too miraculous of a story!
Heiji and his formerly-mermaid wife lived happily and prosperously together. They built a house in Sakaichō, which came to be known as Mermaid Town, but has now come to be mistakenly called Ningyōchō².
Ah yes, and since mermaid skins–unlike cicada shells–are rare, they sold her skin to an apothecary and became even richer! When things are good, good things happen one after another!
- This has a double meaning. To “put hands on” someone is slang to have sex with them. Now that Heiji is young and handsome again, he wishes that he had a wife he could sleep with; and subsequently she literally puts on not only hands, but feet as well!
- A pun based on ningyo and the town of Ningyōchō, a neighborhood in Tokyo. Kyōden swaps ningyo (mermaid) for ningyo (doll). This pun is reminiscent of the book’s title, Hakoiri musume menya ningyo, as Menya was an actual famous doll shop in Ningyōchō.