Saturday, 7 May 2011

Folk tales from Japan - The Rabbit in the Moon

The Rabbit in the Moon
Once the Old-Man-of-the-Moon looked down into a big forest on the earth. He saw a rabbit and a monkey and a fox all living there together in the forest as very good friends.
"Now, I wonder which of them is the kindest," he said to himself. "I think I'll go down and see."
So the old man changed himself into a beggar and came down from the moon to the forest where the three animals were.
"Please help me," he said to them. "I'm very hungry."
"Oh! What a poor old beggar!" they said, and then they went hurrying off to find some food for the beggar.
The monkey brought a lot of fruit. And the fox caught a big fish. But the rabbit couldn't find anything at all to bring.
"Oh my! oh my! what shall I do?" the rabbit cried. But just then he got an idea.
"Please, Mr. Monkey," the rabbit said, "you gather some firewood for me. And you, Mr. Fox, please make a big fire with the wood."
They did as the rabbit asked, and when the fire was burning very brightly, the rabbit said to the beggar: "I don't have anything to give you. So I'll put myself in this fire, and then when I'm cooked you can eat me."

The rabbit was about to jump into the fire and cook himself. But just then the beggar suddenly changed himself back into the Old-Man-of-the-Moon.
"You are very kind, Mr. Rabbit," the Old Man said. "But you should never do anything to harm yourself. Since you are the kindest, of all, I'll take you home to live with me."
Then the Old-Man-of-the-Moon took the rabbit in his arms and carried him up to the moon. Just look and see! If you look carefully at the moon when it is shining brightly, you can still see the rabbit thee where the Old Man put him so very long ago.

Feed my fish!

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