The Hare in the Moon
Worapun Kittisrisopit, published in ‘Star Weavings’ – issue unknown

Worapun told her children this story, which originates in India, to prepare them for the Moon festival on September 21, and the children made Chinese cookies used to worship the moon goddess.

Once upon a time in the Himalayan Mountains – the highest mountains in India – there were three hares. They had found each other and come together to pray because they wished wholeheartedly to go to heaven. One of the hares had brown fur, the second had spotted fur and the third was white as snow. The three hares loved each other and what one hare did, so did all the others. They all wished so fervently to go to heaven that they went to the top of the crystal ice mountain. There they lived in three little caves where they could be closest to heaven and not troubled by other creatures.

Every morning they got up and prayed to God, taking only the briefest time away from their prayers to find food. Most of the time their thoughts were with God and his creations.

Many years passed and at last their prayers got to heaven. God decided to reward the hares for their piety, but first he wanted the hares to prove their holiness. So God said to the moon: “Tonight you must not shine before midnight. I want you to go to the Himalayan Mountains and to visit the three religious hares who live there. Ask them for something to eat and when you have eaten with them, come back and tell me how each hare welcomed you.”

So as the sun went down, Chandra the moon went to the brown hare. The moon knocked at the door just as the hare was preparing his evening meal. When the brown hare saw Chandra standing outside he asked, full of joy, to enter and share the meal with him. After Chandra finished the meal he thanked the brown hare and went on to visit the spotted hare in his cave. The spotted hare heard someone coming, opened the door and said, full of joy, “Be welcome!” Chandra said, “I am hungry and tired; can you give me something to each?” “With pleasure,
 said the hare, “but I was praying for so long today that I forgot my meal. Will you please wait a little while I search for something for us to eat?” After a while the meal was ready and Chandra thanked the spotted hare for the meal.

Then he went on to visit the third hare. It was a long journey and Chandra the moon felt cold and tired when finally he found the hare who was white as snow. He asked the white hare for something to eat. But the white hare had been praying all the time and had forgotten his meals entirely. He went to the kitchen and found nothing that he could prepare for his guest. So he said to Chandra, “Do you eat meat?” Chandra did not wish to trouble the hare so he said “Do not worry, I will eat anything.” So the white hare gathered some dry branches into a heap, took a big iron pot, lit a fire in the wood and, when the pot was hot, the white hare sprang into it. Chandra went immediately back to God to tell him what had happened. But when he go to heaven Chandra saw the white hare sitting in the lap of God. And God said “Chandra, take the hare with you; he shall sit in the moon. And from that day on you could see the pious hare with its long ears sitting in the full shining moon.

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