Volume 2 No.5

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Overheard





The legend of the cunning hare
By: Moul Jetl. Illustration by : Sao Pagnarith ( May, 2002 Volume 2 No.5 )

Once there was a very cunning hare. He loved adventures and was always getting in and out of mischief, but he was so smart that the other animals respected him as the wisest of them all-to the point where he sometimes acted as a judge when the other creatures had disputes. But he did not always abide by the law, and enjoyed playing tricks, especially on people. Nearby his home near a forest track, an old woman lived. She scratched a meager living by going to market to buy bananas and selling them to her neighbors for just a little more than she had paid.The hare watched the old lady pass by him every day, a basket of bananas on her head. With each day that passed, he longed to eat those bananas more and more.He thought every day about ways he could trick her. "Maybe, if I make a loud, frightening noise, the old woman will think I am a ghost, drop the bananas and run for her life," he thought. "But no-I am not big enough to be loud enough...
Sure enough, the next day when the old woman found a fat hare lying beneath her path, she shouted with delight before bending down and studying her catch closely. The hare held his breath. "Is he dead or just stunned?" she asked herself. "No, he is surely dead. He isn't breathing, but still warm! Maybe dogs chased him. He will make a delicious stew anyway. "She popped the hare in the basket on top of her bananas, put it back on her head and went on her way. "I'll save half of this big hare for tomorrow and look for lemons for a stew," she told herself as she walked. But little did she know, the hare was sitting in the basket the whole time, eating bananas one by one very happily. When she reached home, she lowered the basket.
Quicker than she could think, the hare burst out and began running, disappearing before she could even cry out in consternation. But worse was to come. She looked into the basket and saw a litter of peels-and no bananas." That must have been Judge Hare in my basket!" she wailed. "Only he could have cheated me so cleverly. He may be a good, wise judge, but when he starts playing tricks, he's a very bad hare. Doesn't he know that just one wicked trick turns a good person into a bad one?" But Judge hare was much too far away to hear the old woman's cries. He had disappeared into the forest, stuffed with bananas, and was already planning his next adventure.