Shoji Sakota was a pharmacist in a city of Northern Japan. He lived alone and sometimes worked in his pharmacy late at night. One story winter night, when he was preparing his annual business report someone knocked at the door. It was going to be midnight. At first, he ignored it thinking that the wind was making some sound. But when he heard the same sound several times, he went to the door and saw young women standing outside the door. Mr. Sakota thought that it might be her plan to rob him. However, when she requested to him to give something for her baby. Sakota thought that her baby might be seriously ill. When he opened the door, he found that the women was thin with unusually pale skin, untidy hair and mysterious eyes. After while she asked for an ame on a stick (a type of chocolate) and Sakota was greatly surprised. The women came to the pharmacy several nights at the same time and asked for the same thing. He thought that something was wrong with her. So he called his photographer friend who took her photographs. When they developed the film, they found to their great surprise that the women was not seen. Then, they followed her to find out who she really was and reached her small apartment. There, they saw the women lying asleep beside a baby who was licking the aim. When Mr. Sakota touched her body, he found that it was cold and lifeless. She had been dead for several days.
In short, the spirit of a loving mother visits Mr. Sakota’s pharmacy. Though the mother has been dead for many days, her spirit loves and sustains the baby. Since nobody knows about her death and no one is there to care her baby, the spirit of the loving mother visits the pharmacy every night.
Important Questions and Answers:
a. Describe the women who visited the pharmacy at night.
Ans: The woman was young. Her skin seemed abnormally light. Her long black hair was hung in a untidy way. Her kimono (clothes) seemed like it had been worn to bed. Her eyes looked as if they belonged to a person from another planet.
b. What are the things in the story which indicates that the woman was a spirit?
Ans: There are many things which suggest that the woman was ghost. The women came to Shoji’s drug store at midnight. Her skin seemed very light. Her hair was very untidy and her eyes were very frightening. One night, when Sakota’s friend photographed her and the woman was not captured in his photographic film. Even they found the same woman when they reached her room.
c. Why did the women request surprise the pharmacist?
Ans: On a stormy winter night, the women asked for a ame stick for her baby as if it was very emergency. This weird request surprised the pharmacist.
d. Show the points of similarities and differences between the two supernatural stories “The house call” and “The loving mother”.
- Both are ghost stories.
- One appears after the death to help the loved one.
- Both of the spirit took the people to the living people.
- The person who helped the spirit was a pharmacist in “The house call” and doctor in “The loving mother”.
- The Pharmacist was performing accounting task while the doctor was taking rest.
- The story in the “The house call” took place in rainy evening and that of “The loving mother” in stormy mid night.
- The daughter came in the form spirit in “The house call” and the mother was a spirit in “The loving mother”.