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In a short story I'm reading I found this sentence:

人間が死ぬときには多いに泣き騒ぐのに、生まれてきたときには、屁{へ}の一つをひるのも惜しがるような様子だった

This is the given translation:

The humans cry and generally make a tremendous fuss when one of them dies, but it seemed as if they didn't give a fart when the babies were born

I don't really understand the part in bold: 屁をひる means "to fart" and 惜しがる means "To appear to regret something"; so the best translation I can come up with is something like "They looked like [literally, I think "They had an appeareance"] they seemed to regret to fart once", which doesn't sound right, and in this I'm ignoring のも since I'm not sure what it means ( I'm guessing nominalize the previous sentence, but I don't know what is supposed to mean).

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  • 多いに Are you sure it's not 大いに?
    – jukbot
    Nov 22, 2019 at 0:22
  • Yup, I checked again, is 多いに.
    – Mauro
    Nov 22, 2019 at 8:57

1 Answer 1

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屁{へ}の一つをひるのも惜{お}しがるような様子{ようす}だった

I will just start with the 「のも」. The 「の」 nominalizes the preceding verb phrase 「屁の一つをひる」. The 「も」 here means 「さえも」 ("even").

「惜しがる」 in this context means "not willing to spare the time to", according to me. Your (or is it another person's?) TL "to appear to regret something" would not fit the context. Yours would only work when regretting something that has happened in the past.

Thus, a super-literal TL would look like this:

"it appeared that they were unwilling to spare the time to even fart once"

Since it only takes a half-second to fart once, what this phrase really means is that they just don't give a damn.

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