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THE HARE THAT RAN AWAY
AND it came to pass that the Buddha (to be) was born again as a Lion.
Just as he had helped his fellow-men, he now
began to help his fellow-animals,
and there was a great deal to be done. For
instance, there was a little nervous Hare
who was always afraid that something dreadful
was going to happen to her.
She was always saying: "Suppose the Earth were
to fall in, what would happen to me?"
And she said this so often that at last she
thought it really was about to happen.
One day, when she had been saying over and over
again, "Suppose the Earth were to fall in,
what would happen to me?" she heard a slight
noise: it really was only a heavy fruit
which had fallen upon a rustling leaf, but the
little Hare was so nervous
she was ready to believe anything, and she said
in a frightened tone:
"The Earth is falling in." She ran away as fast
as she could go,
and presently she met an old brother Hare, who
said: "Where are you running to, Mistress Hare?"
And the little Hare said: "I have no time to stop
and tell you anything.
The Earth is falling in, and I am running away."
"The Earth is falling in, is it?" said the old brother Hare,
in a tone of much astonishment; and he repeated
this to his brother hare,
and he to
his brother hare, and he to
his brother hare, until at last there
were a hundred thousand brother hares,
all shouting: "The Earth is falling in." Now
presently the bigger animals began
to take the cry up. First the deer, and then
the sheep, and then the wild boar,
and then the buffalo, and then the camel, and
then the tiger, and then the elephant.
Now the wise Lion heard all this noise and wondered
at it. "There are no signs," he said, "of the Earth
falling in. They must have heard something." And then
he stopped them all short and said: "What is this you
And the Elephant said: "I remarked that the Earth was
"How do you know this?" asked the Lion.
"Why, now I come to think of it, it was the Tiger
that remarked it to me."
And the Tiger said: "I had it from the Camel,"
and the Camel said:
"I had it from the Buffalo." And the buffalo
from the wild boar,
and the wild boar from the sheep, and the sheep from
the deer, and the deer from the hares,
and the Hares said: "Oh! we heard it from
that little Hare."
And the Lion said: "Little Hare, what made
you say that the Earth was falling in?"
And the little Hare said: "I saw it."
"You saw it?" said the Lion. "Where?"
"Yonder, by the tree."
"Well", said the Lion, "come with me and I will
show you how—"
"No, no," said the Hare, "I would not go near that
tree for anything, Iím so nervous."
"But," said the Lion, "I am going to take you on my
back." And he took her on his back, and begged
the animals to stay where they were until they
returned. Then he showed the little Hare how the
fruit had fallen upon the leaf, making the noise
that had frightened her, and she said: "Yes, I
see—the Earth is not falling in." And the Lion
said: "Shall we go back and tell the other animals?"
And they went back. The little Hare stood before the
animals and said: "The Earth is not falling in." And
all the animals began to repeat this to one another,
and they dispersed gradually, and you heard the words
more and more softly:
"The Earth is not falling in," etc., etc., etc.,
until the sound died away altogether.