Best Folk tales about the “The Hare” – a cunning and deceitful character

The hare in various traditions

Easter bunny

The Easter Bunny has a long and deeply rooted in pagan European traditions. The Germanic goddess Eostre was the goddess of spring and fertility. The goddess animal symbol was the rabbit, which in itself is a symbol of fertility due to it’s rapid reproduction rate. Eggs, just like the rabbit, have long been considered an ancient symbol of fertility, rebirth and new life, all associated with the springtime celebration of Easter! 

National rabbit day

Held on the fourth Saturday or Sunday each September is the “National Rabbit Day”. It centers on the welfare of our long-eared friends and should serve us as a reminder of their animal rights.

What better day to enjoy a few stories about rabbits. Therefore, without further ado, here are my favorite stories about “The hare”. Biologists, please forgive me, I will use the words hare and rabbit interchangably. 

The rabbit in astrotheology

Astrotheology is a field ofI field of (mostly historical) research that connects the heavenly boddies such as sun, moon and stars with the worship dieties. We know that the names for our planets are often drived from the Greek or Roman pantheon. The rabbit or hare is also a well known character and ofte symbolizes the moon. Knowing this helps us interpreting the meaning behind some of our stories in a more concise way.

The rabbit in folk and fairy tales

In folk and fairy tales around the world the hare is portrayed as a cunning and clever character. He often turns the tables on stronger animals and predators due to his wits and – last but not least – swiftness. Therefore we have collected various stories that focus on the character of the hare in folk- and fairytales from around the world.

The hare in folk- and fairytales

The White Hare and the Crocodiles

The White Hare and the Crocodiles is a folk tale from old Japan. Other than in most other stories the hare is unlucky with his deceit. While he first successfully deceives the crocodiles, his schadenfreude and arrogance leads to his capture. He then encounters a fairy and this acquaintance changes his life.

Read The White Hare and the Crocodiles 

How the Hare deceived the Tiger

This is a story of Shan folk lore. The Shan people live in the area of modern day Myanmar as well as Thailand or Laos.

In the “How the Hare deceived the tiger”, the hare proves that though small she (yes – the hare is translated as a woman here) was full of wisdom, and although the tiger was bigger, stronger, and fiercer than she, yet she, through her wisdom, was able to deceive him and lure him into a trap.

Read How the Hare deceived the Tiger

The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy

In this beautiful story our friend Long-ears is not the main character, but only a retainer of Kintaro, the Golden Boy. If you ever wondered how a wrestling match between a hare and a monkey would look like, it’s best to read “The Adventures of Kintaro”.

Read The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy

The Hare and the Tortoise

An all time classic by the famous Aesop. In this story the Hare, for a change, doesn’t get his way, but is too overconfident in being able to beat the tortoise in a run. In some versions of the story instead of the tortoise the hare is running up against a hedgehog, which takes us back to the symbolism in astrotheology that I mentioned at the beginning. While the hare symbolises the moon, the hedgehog with his spines symbolises the sun with its rays. 

Read The Hare and the Tortoise

If you want to learn more about the “The Life of Aesop” check out what George Fyler Townsend wrote about him.

The Story of Hare

The “Story of Hare” is a crazy African story with quite some unnecessary bloodshed featuring an “Inkalimeva”, a type of fabulous animal.

Read The Story of the Hare

The Origin of Death

Did you you ever wonder why we have to die? It might just have been a mistake and gotten lost in translation. In “The Origin of Death” we hear the explaination of why men have to die. We also find the connection to astrotheology with the connection of the hare to the moon that perishes and rises again.

It is well known that Pagan myths played a big role in the Christian symbology. Knowing that, you only need a little bit of imagination to make the connection to Easter. On Easter Christians all around the world celebrate the Death and Rebirth of Lord Jesus. Jesus was burried in a cave behind a big round stone. He died and rose again like the sun dies and rises when the round moon goes away.   

Bonus tales on malamusi.com

Initially I posted a Top 5 List of “Stories about the Hare” that has now turned in an ever increasing collection of stories about the hare. Back then I was inspired by my friend Dyna and her translations of authentic African folk stories on malamusi.com. Therefore I also want to share a few bonus tales or memorable mentions that you can read on her website with you. I happy to share with you:

As far as I know, especially in African stories, the hare’s wittiness is mixed with a vicious deceitfulness often leading to the death or misery of his victims. Therefore I especially want to suggest that you read The greedy Hare. You might discover your compassion for the hare. If not, at least for once he got what he desserved.

 

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4 Responses

  1. February 12, 2019

    […] When it comes to African folk tales I don’t even know where to start. Well, actually I do: The Jackal’s bride is a good starting point. If you like it, also check out malamusi.com since Dyna has put together plenty of stories with hunger as a main theme, such as The hare and the quail or Hyena and Hare as friends. Talking about the Hare, I have also got a Top 5 List of Stories about the Hare. […]

  2. May 17, 2019

    […] I love the tale since it also reveals an interessting detail about one of the most famous characters in folk tales, who I devoted the Top 5 tales about the hare. […]

  3. April 16, 2020

    […] As a frequent reader, you might also remember that the rabbit or hare is a prominent character in folk- and fairy tales, often a cunning and deceitful character. For more see read our collection about the Top stories about “The Hare”. […]

  4. December 25, 2021

    […] To get a glimpse into the deep symbology of this story, I also suggest you to check out Best Folk tales about the Hare […]

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