Sacred-Texts Asia
Index Previous Next

p. 192

3. (Hare Story.1)

 There was a Hare. He lived with his wife. They had no children. The Hare said to his wife, "O wife! I am going now to the Man-Slayer to see what he is doing." He attached his reindeer to the sledge and went away. After a while he saw a large reindeer-herd. It was that of the Man-Slayer. Man-Slayer was working near his house, making a sledge. The Hare came, and said, "How are you, Man-Slayer?" — Man-Slayer said, "I am well. Come into my house, and tell my wife that she is to kill you and to cook your meat, and I will come in to eat it." The Hare said, "I cannot find the entrance." Man-Slayer grew angry, and aimed a blow at him with his hatchet. The Hare was frightened, and ran into the house.

 He looked around, and saw that the entrance was no longer there, only the vent-hole overhead. He jumped up; but could not reach the vent-hole, and fell back to the ground. The wife of Man-Slayer called to her children, "Here is a Hare! Bring me my knife!" The Hare was frightened, and said, "Well, now, grandmother, do not kill me so soon! Better tie me to a long line! I am so fat, I will try and jump about. Then my meat will be more to your taste." The old woman did so, — tied him to a long line. Meanwhile she prepared her kettle. The Hare gathered his forces, and again jumped up toward the vent-hole, but again he could not reach the vent-hole. Then he said, "O grandmother! how many dishes have you in your house?" She said, "I have three dishes." — "Oh," said the Hare, "my meat will be too much for these three dishes." He jumped again, but could not reach the vent-hole. Then he said again, "O grandmother! how many dishes have you in your house?" She said, "Four dishes." — "Oh, my meat will be too much for these four dishes." Then he jumped again directly through the vent-hole, bit off the line, and ran away. The old woman saw it, and called, "O old man! catch the Hare!" The old man went in pursuit of the Hare. He caught the Hare, and was going to kill him. The Hare said, "Oh, well, grandfather, do not kill me so soon! I want first to say good-by to the Sun. Then I shall ask something of you; and at the same time you may sharpen your hatchet!"

 Man-Slayer began to sharpen his hatchet. The Hare said to him, "What month is coming now?" Man-Slayer said, "I do not know. If you know, tell me about it." The Hare said, "It is the month of wild geese, when the wild geese are coming here again." — "Is that so?" — "Yes, it is! And look there! Some wild geese are passing there on high." — "Where are they?" — "Here, directly overhead!" Man-Slayer raised his head, and the Hare snatched his hatchet away, and struck him on the neck. Man-Slayer p. 193 fell down. The Hare cut his body into pieces and filled a large bag. Then he mounted to the roof of the house and threw the bag down the vent-hole. "Here, old woman! cook this Hare!" The wife rejoiced, and fell to dressing the meat. The children were skipping about. One said, "Give me the liver!" The other said, "Give me the kidney!" She distributed the pieces; but as soon as one smelled of his piece, he threw it away.

 The mother grew angry, and asked, "Why do you throw the pieces away?" They said, "Well, this meat has a smell of our father." She smelled of the meat herself, and cried aloud. Then she rushed out, but the Hare was gone. She gave pursuit. The Hare saw her, and looked for a hiding-hole. There was none. Then he saw an eagle-nest on the top of a larch-tree. The Eagle-Woman put on a woman's combination-suit, descended to the ground from her nest, and was going to work at a wooden dish. The Hare came to her, and implored, "O Eagle! hide me in your wide breeches!" The Eagle took off her combination-suit, hid the Hare in it, and put it on the ground. She put the dish over it, and sat down on the dish. The Man-Slaying-Woman came, and asked, "O Eagle! have you not seen a Hare of mine, which I wanted to catch?" — "I saw him," said the Eagle. He passed by, and ran up to the sky." — "Oh, alas! how can I find him now?" The Eagle said, "Take a seat on my back! I will carry you up to the sky. Then you may catch the Hare." — "Oh, quick! take me there!" The Eagle put out her back, and the Man-Slaying-Woman sat upon it. The Eagle flew upwards, and then said to the Man-Slaying-Woman, "Well, now, look down, and say whether the earth is far enough away!" The Man-Slaying-Woman said, "The earth is vanishing from view." — "Oh," said the Eagle, "now hold on tight! I am going to turn a little." She turned her back downwards. The Man-Slaying-Woman lost her grip, and fell down, head foremost, to the earth, (landing) near the nest of the Eagle. Her head and her whole body penetrated into the ground. Only the legs as far as the knees remained out of the ground. The Hare dashed out from his hiding-place, seized a stone hammer, and hammered with it on the old woman's heels. Then he said to the Eagle, "Well, my friend, now these will be good stakes for attaching our reindeer to. The end.

Written down by the cossack Innocent Bereskin, from the words of Mary Chahin, a Russianized Yukaghir woman, in the village of Pokhotsk, on the Lower Kolyma, 1895.



p. 192

1 This tale is almost identical with the one found on p. 155, which was collected among the Anadyr Anadyr Chukchee.