Many moons ago, in a small village in Japan lived two farmers: an old man and his wife. The old man was a kindhearted, hardworking fellow, but his wife was often angry and she liked to complain. The old man kept a young sparrow, which he tenderly took care of. But one day, the wife caught the sparrow pecking at some starch she was going to use for the laundry. She flew into a rage and cut the bird’s tongue out with a pair of scissors. The poor little bird, bleeding from its mouth, flew away into the hills.
In the 1950’s China was working to transform from an agricultural society to a communist industrial society. Their leader, Mao Ze Dong, wanted to completely reshape society, and his efforts didn’t stop with humans. One of the strangest reforms of this period was an order to exterminate sparrows and other pests.