Rabbits by Mori Kansai, 1881

David, Amber and I were on our way to a baseball game Tuesday and just chatting. We were talking about the moon landing and Amber mentioned that the Japanese see a rabbit on the moon too. Amber and I had talked about the Mexican tale when I talked about it. She always has to hear about the interesting stories and books I read, but I listen to hers too so it’s fair.

I found a Japanese folk tale that talks about how the rabbit ended up on the moon.

One day, Fox, Monkey, and Rabbit met an old beggar who asked them for food. Monkey climbed a tree and brought him some fruit. Fox went to a stream, caught a fish, and brought it back to him. But Rabbit had nothing to offer him but some grass, and he knew people don’t eat grass. So he asked the beggar to build a fire. After the beggar started the fire, Rabbit jumped into it and offered himself as a meal for the beggar to eat.

Quickly the beggar revealed himself as Taishaku-ten (one of the gods) and pulled Rabbit from the fire. He said “You are most kind, Rabbit, but don’t do anything to harm yourself. Since you were the kindest of all to me, humans will always remember you.”

Then the god lifted up the rabbit and placed him on the moon. There he lives today, making mochi (rice cakes), a much nicer meal than grass!

I really have to try to see the rabbit in the moon one of these days.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in.