The Hare and the
A Story from
A good while ago there lived near the Clack-clack Mountains an old man
and his wife, who, having no child, made a great deal of a pet hare.
Every day the old man cut up food and set it out on a plate for his pet.
One day a badger came out of the forest, and in a trice drove away the
hare, and eating up his dinner, licked the plate clean. Then, standing
on his hind-legs, the badger blew out his belly until it was as round as
a bladder and tight as a drum, and beating on it with his paws to show
his victory, scampered off to the woods. But the old man, who was very
angry, caught the badger, and tying him by the legs, hung him up head
downward under the edges of the thatch in the shed where his old woman
pounded millet. He then strapped a wooden frame to hold fagots on his
back, and went out to the mountains to cut wood.
The badger, finding his legs pain him, began to cry, and begged the old
woman to untie him, promising to help her pound the millet. The tired
old dame, believing the sly beast, like a good-hearted soul laid down
her pestle and loosened the cords round the beast's legs. The badger was
so cramped at first that he could not stand; but when well able to move,
he seized a knife to kill the old woman. The hare, seeing this, ran away
to find the old man, if possible, and tell him. The badger, after
stabbing the old woman, crushed her to death by upsetting the bureau
upon her, and then threw her body into the mortar, and pounded her into
a jelly. Setting the pot on to boil, he made the woman's flesh into a
mess of soup, and ate all he could of it. Then the badger, by turning
three double somersaults, turned himself into an old woman, looking
exactly like the one he had just eaten. All being ready, he waited till
the husband came home tired and hungry.
Soon the old man came back, thinking of nothing more than the hot supper
he was soon to enjoy. Throwing down his fagots, he came into the house,
and while he warmed his hands at the hearth, his wife (as he supposed)
set the mess of soup and millet, with a slice of radish, before him on a
tray. He fell to, and ate heartily, his wife (as he supposed) waiting
dutifully near by till her lord was served. When the meal was finished
he pulled out a sheet of soft mulberry paper from his bosom and wiped
his old chops, smacking them well, as he thought what a good supper he
had so much enjoyed. Just then the badger took on his real shape, and
yelled out: "Old fool, you've eaten your own wife. Look in the drain,
and you'll find her bones." And he puffed out his body, beat it like a
drum, whisked his tail scornfully, and ran off.
Almost dead with grief and horror, the old man gathered up the bones of
his wife, and decently buried them. Then he made a vow to take revenge
on the badger. Just then the hare came back from the mountains, and
after condoling with the old man, said he would also take revenge on the
So the hare buckled on his belt, in which he kept his flint and steel,
and made ready a plaster of red peppers.
Going into the forest, he saw Mr. Badger walking home with a load of
fagots and brush on his back. Creeping up softly behind him, the hare
set the bundle on fire. The badger kept on, until he heard the crackling
of the burning twigs. Then he jumped wildly, and cried out, "Oh, I
wonder what that noise is!"
"Oh, this is the Clack-clack Mountain; it always is crackling here,"
said the hare, looking down from the top of the hill.
The fire grew more lively, and the badger became scared. He fell down,
and threw out his fore-paws wildly.
"Katchi-katchi" (clack-clack), went the dry fagots, as the red-hot coals
"What can it be?" said Mr. Badger.
"This mountain is called Katchi-katchi (Clack-clack); don't you know
that?" said the hare, coolly standing on the bridge, and leaning on his
"Oh! oh! oh! help me!" howled the badger, as the blazing twigs began to
burn the hair off his back. And running through the woods to a stream
near by, he plunged in, and the fire was put out. But his running had
only increased the fire and burning, and his back was all raw. When the
hare found the badger at home in his house, he was howling in misery,
and expecting to die from his burn.
"Let me take a look at your burn, Mr. Badger," said the hare; "I have
some famous salve to cure it"—as he pretended to be very pitiful, and
held up a bowl of what seemed to be fine salve in one paw, while in the
other was a soft brush of fine hair. Then the hare clapped on the
red-pepper plaster, and ran away, while the badger rolled in pain.
By-and-by, when the badger got well, he went to see the hare, to have it
out with him. He found the hare building a boat. "Where are you going in
that boat?" said the badger.
"I'm going to the moon," said the hare. "Come along with me. There's
So the badger, thinking to catch some fish by going on the water, got
into the boat, and both launched away.
Now the boat in which Mr. Badger rowed was made of clay, which soon
began to melt away in the water. Seeing this, the hare lifted his
paddle, and with one blow sunk the boat, and the badger was drowned.
The hare went back and told the old man, who was glad that his wife had
been revenged, and more than ever petted the hare to the end of his