The Foolish Hare
One day a little hare sat under a fruit tree and was deeply immersed in thought. He was foolish and always took quick decisions without even giving second thoughts. One day he thought. “What will happen to me when the earth comes to an end?” At that very moment a fruit fell from the tree. Off ran the foolish hare as fast as his legs could carry him. He thought that the noise of the fruit falling to the ground was that of the earth breaking to pieces. And he ran and ran, not daring to look behind him.
“Brother, Brother,” called another little hare that saw him running, “please tell me what has happened!”
But the little hare ran on and did not even turn to answer. But the other hare ran after him calling louder and louder, “What has happened, little brother, what has happened?”
At last the little hare stopped a moment and said, “The earth is breaking to pieces!” At this the other hare started running still faster and a third hare joined them and a fourth and a fifth till a hundred thousand hares were racing through the fields. And they raced through the forest and valleys and the deer, the boars, the elks, the buffaloes, the oxen, the rhinos, the tigers, the lions and the elephants, hearing that the earth was coming to an end all ran wildly with them.
But among them lived a lion that was very wise. He knew everything that took place in the world. He came to know that so many hundreds and thousands of animals were running away because they believed that the earth was breaking to pieces. He thought, “This earth of ours is far from coming to an end. But these poor creatures will die if I do not save them. In their fright they will run into the sea.”
And he ran at such a pace that he reached a certain mountain which lay in their path. As they passed by the mountain he roared three times so loudly that they stopped. All stood still, close to each other, trembling.
The great lion descended from the mountain and approached them. “Why are you running at such a pace?” he asked.
“The earth is breaking to pieces”, they replied.
“Who saw it breaking to pieces?” he asked.
“The elephants”, they replied.
“Did you see it breaking?” he asked the elephants.
“No. we did not see it. The lions saw it,” they replied.
“Did you see it?” he asked the lions.
“No. the tigers saw it”, they replied.
Then the lion asked the tigers, “Did you see it?”
“The rhinos saw it”, they replied.
But the rhinos said, “The elks saw it.”
The elks said, “The bears saw it.”
The bears said, “The oxen saw it.”
The oxen said. “The deer saw it.”
The deer said. “The hares saw it.”
And the hares said, “That little one told us that the earth was breaking.”
“Did you see the earth breaking?” he asked the little hare.
“Yes. lord”, replied the hare. “I saw it breaking.” “Where were you when you saw it breaking?” he asked.
With a trembling voice the little hare replied, “I was sitting beneath a fruit tree and thought, “What will happen to me when the earth comes to an end?” And at the very moment I heard the noise of the earth breaking and I ran.”
The wise lion thought, “He was sitting under a fruit tree. Certainly the noise he heard was that of a fruit falling to the ground.” “Ride on my back, little one”, he said, “and show me where you saw the earth break.”
The little hare jumped on to his back and the great lion flew to the place. But as they approached the fruit tree, the little hare jumped off. So frightened was he to return to the spot. And he pointed out the tree to the lion, saying, “Lord, there is the tree.”
The great one went to the tree and saw the spot where the little hare had been sitting and the fruit which had fallen from the tree. “Come here little one”, he called.
“Now where do you see the earth broken?
Little hare looked around. He saw the fruit on the ground. Now he knew that there had been no reason for his fright. He jumped once again on the lion’s back and away they went to the hundreds of creatures who were awaiting their return.
The lion then told the great multitude that the noise the little hare had heard was of a fruit falling to the ground. And so all turned back, the elephants to the valleys, the lions to the caves, the deer to the river banks and the little hare to the fruit tree. The little hare was foolish and brought trouble to all animals.
MORAL : Being foolish is dangerous to oneself as well as to others.