Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The old man and the hare


The old man and the hare
(Favourite stories from japan)
Narrative Folklore
Once there lived an old woodcutter who went every day to the forest to cut trees. One day, after he had cut a lot of wood, he felt hungry. “Oh, I’m tired and hungry,” he said as he sat down on a tree stump and opened his lunch box.
Narrative Folklore
 As he was taking his first bite, he saw a hare sitting on the grass in front of him. The hare just sat and stared at him. “Oh, do you also want something to eat?” asked the old man. He threw the bread which he held in his hand to the hare.
Narrative Folklore
At once, the hare rolled the bread into a hole and quickly jumped after it. After a while the old man heard a lovely voice singing in the hole, “A piece of bread, kororin, suttonton.”
Narrative Folklore
When the song ended. The woodcutter threw another piece of bread into the hole. Then he heard the singing again. He liked it do much that he threw more bread into the hole until all of his lunch had gone.
Narrative Folklore
The next day, when the old man unpacked his lunch box, he wondered what would happen when he threw some bread into the hole. Again he heard the same song. He was so pleased that he kept throwing small pieces of food into the hole until his lunch was all gone.
Narrative Folklore
On the third day he thought, “I wonder what will happen today?” he threw a piece of his lunch into the hole and he heard the same song. He went on throwing small pieces of food into the hole until nothing was left. All he had was empty box so he threw that in too.
Narrative Folklore
“A box, kororon, suttonton.” Sang the voice from the hole. The old man was now so curious that he went to the hole and peeped into it. But he slipped and fell into the hole! This time the voice sang. “Old man, kororin, suttonton.”
Narrative Folklore
The woodcutter opened his eyes and looked around him. He was in a large hall. There were a lot of hares standing around a mortar making rice cakes. As they worked they all sang.
Narrative Folklore
When they saw the old  man. They stopped and stood in front of him. The biggest hare came out to greet him.
Narrative Folklore
“Grandfather, we thank you for the many delicious pieces of bread which you have given us. Today we are making rice cakes for New Year. Please stay and keep us company.”
Narrative Folklore
“A piece of bread, kororn, Suttonton!” they all sang and went on making the rice cakes.
Then they gave the old man a large plateful of rice cakes to eat. They also gave him a bag filled with-delicious cakes to take home.
Narrative Folklore
This is a very old tale. But when you walk in a forest at New Year, you may see such holes. Inside, the hares are making rice cakes and you may hear the sound of “kororin. Suttonton”.
So keep your eyes and ears open.

Source: Favourite stories from Japan  by Lise Pordes

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