HARE THE HERO (1)
Once upon a time, there was a little hare who was fraid of everything.
He spent most of his time trembling.
The sound of wind, even a leaf falling, could make him jump.
And being a hare, of course, when he jumped, he jumped.
He was laughed at by all the other hares in the forest.
They were afraid of the wolf, and the fox, and the bear, as any sensible animal would be.
as any sensible animal would be：
But they weren't afaid of the snow falling, or a bird suddenly taking off from the branch of a tree, as he was.
They called him, Trember.
And then one day, the little hare said to himelf,
" Now look here, you're not a little hare any longer ! In fact, you'e a big hare ! In fact, you're one of the biggest hares in the forest. In facy, it's time you stopped trembling !"
Another hare who happened to be going by asked, " Why are you talking to yourself, Trembler ? "
" Don't you call me Trembler ! " said the little hare who'd become a big hare.
" I'm tired of being frightened ! I'm not going to be frightened any more, by anything ! I've done with trembling !"
And he went through the forest telling all the hares the same story.
He had simply decided to be a brave, that was it !
Indeed meant to be very brave !
" But what about bear ? " They asked.
" The bear ! I wouldn't give a couple of acorns for the bear ! "
" But what about the fox ? "
" The fox ! I wouldn't give one of last year's beechnuts for the fox ! "
" But what about the wolf ? "
" The wolf had better look out, that's all I can say ! "
And the hare beat the grand with his feet as if it had been a drum.
Now by chance, a wolf was prowling very near at hand.
To tell the truth, he was hoping to catch a hare or two.
He could hardly believe his luck when he heard the sounds of a hare or three talkingーa hare or fourーperharps a hare or five.
They'd gathered to hear Trembler beating his feet on the grand and boasting about what he'd do if he caught sight of a wolf.
" And you can stop calling me Trembler ! "he was yelling.
" In future I would like to be called...Hare the Hero !
When I've eaten up the first wolf to get in my way, I want everyone to call me HARE THE HERO ! "
" Ho, ho ! " thoght the wolf.
" So he is going to eat me up, is he ? I wonder how he's going to do that ? well, if he manages it, they can call me Wolf the Weakling ! "
And he crept closer and got ready to spring.
At which moment Hare the Hero caught sight of him and was terrified.
He wasn't just frightened ; he was horribly scared !
He didn't just tremble: he shook from head to foot.
And without thinking, he leaped high into the air and came down on the wolf's back.
He rolled down it, gave another tremendous leap, and took off as fast as he couldーactually, even faster than that.
He imagined he could feel the wolf's hot breath on his tail.
And surely that was the sound of the wolf's teeth snapping together, no more than an inch behind the him !
He ran until he could run no more.
He ran until all the green trees in the forest became one huge, hot, green blur.
Then he fell exhausted under the biggest and thickest bush he could see.
But where the wolf ?
HARE THE HERO (4)
Well, the wolf was running twice fast in the other direction.
When the hare gave his great leap and fell onto the wolf's back, he thought it was a gun being fired.
A hunter !
It must be a hunter !
And while the hare was fleeing one way through the forest, believing the wolf's teeth were snapping together an inch behind his tail, the wolf was fleeing through the forest the other way, believing he could hear only an inch behind his tail the bang, bang, bang of shots from the hunter's gun.
It was long time before the wolf slowed up, and a very long time before he thought it safe to stop running.
As for all the other hares, who'd dived into the nearest bushes, they took longer still to show their nose.
And when they did, they talked about nothing but Trembler's bravery.
HARE THE HERO (完)
Well, noーit certainly wasn't right to call him Trembler, any more.
Hare the Hero, that was his name !
" Did you see how he scared the life out of the wolf ! " they asked one another.
"He went for him without thinking twice about it !"
And some said they'd seen Hare the Hero's teeth closing on the wolf's tail.
But where was Hare the Hero ?
Had he pursued the wolf ?
Might he even now be making a meal of him ?
They went searching through the forest.
And at last they found him, lying panting under the biggest
and thickest bush of all.
" Hare the Hero ! " they cried.
" Oh, there you are, Hare the Hero !
And we thought you were boasting !
Oh, Hare the Hero, how brave you are ! "
" Brave ? " said the hare.
He stopped trembling and came out from under the bush.
"Brave ? Oh, why, yes, of course.
You are right ! I am brave ! "
And he beat with his feet on the ground as if it had been a drum.
" And you're all. . .tremblers ! " he cried.
And from that time on, even he believed that he was the bravest hare alive.
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