What is it exactly? Well, it’s a type of mollusk that lives in the ocean and was referred to as a “sea-hare” back in the day because it was derived from the Latin lepus marinus, they called it that because the two things sticking up in front kind of look like bunny ears. This story involves a sea-hare.
Once upon a time there was a princess who had a castle, but she also had an apartment in her castle with twelve windows that looked out every possible direction. She could already see better than your average person, but each window made her vision even better. Through the first window she could see alright, but by the twelfth window she saw everything above the Earth and under the Earth. Nothing could be hidden from her.
She liked her freedom. She declared that she would only marry a man who could hide himself from her in such a way that she couldn’t find him. If she did find him, he got his head cut off and stuck on a post. There were currently ninety-seven posts with heads on them.
Three brothers got the idea that they could hide themselves from her. The first one hid in a lime-pit, but she found him and had his head cut off. The second brother hid in a cellar in the palace, but she found him and had his head cut off. The third brother made a deal with the princess. He suggested that they wait a day before he hid, but that she would also give him one out of three. She could find him twice, but if she didn’t find him the third time, she had to marry him. She agreed.
The youngest brother went out to hunt. He was about to shoot a raven, but the raven told him not to shoot. He would reward him for his kindness. The man did not shoot.
He then saw a large fish swim to the surface of a pond. The fish cried out that he not shoot. The fish promised a reward. The man let the fish swim away.
Then the man saw a fox. He was going to shoot it, but the fox called to him and told him to come and pull a thorn out of his foot. The man did so and was going to skin the fox anyway, but the fox told the man to let him live and he would be rewarded. The man let the fox go.
The next day was the day for the man to hide. He thought about where he could hide that she wouldn’t see, but he couldn’t think of anywhere. Finally, he called to the raven. He asked the raven where he should hide that the princess would not see. The raven broke an egg in two and hid the man inside of it. The princess started her search. She could not find the man and became worried, but she got up to the eleventh window and she finally saw him. She ordered the raven shot.
The man was to hide again. This time he called to the fish he spared. The fish hid the man inside of his stomach. The princess started her search. She looked and looked, but did not find the man until the twelfth window.
The princess told the man she was looking forward to seeing his head on the hundredth post.
Then it was time for him to hide again. The man called to the fox. The fox led him to a spring. The fox jumped in and became a merchant. The man jumped in and became a sea-hare. The merchant took the sea-hare to the market where many people wondered over it. The princess happened to be at the market as well. She liked the sea-hare so much that she bought it. The merchant offered this advice to the man, he should crawl up behind the princess’s braid when she was performing her search.
The princess went home and began her search. She looked. She looked and looked. The sea-hare had crawled up behind her braid and hid there. The princess became so upset that she slammed the twelfth window down that all the windows in the castles busted to pieces.
The princess felt the sea-hare below her braid and grabbed it and threw it. The sea-hare went back to the fox and they both went back to the spring to regain their proper forms. The man went back to the castle where the princess married him and subjugated herself to a man. The man never told her that he had help hiding from her. She thought he did it on his own and was impressed.
Does anyone else think this is weird? I mean, that thing is a mollusk. I’m all about picking up snails and stuff, but…gross. I really want to hope that this story means some other kind of animal other than the one pictured up above, but from the research I did, that’s what these people meant when they said “sea-hare.”
This story is like a really demented game of hide and go seek. I can envision the movie now:
I can imagine it now. There is a woman called The Seeker who is black in the heart. She rules from her castle with twelve windows that look out on all directions. She entices men to gain control of her kingdom. They must simply survive a game of hide and seek with her. Little do they know that she has special vision and can see almost anything. Posts with heads line the road going up to the castle. Suitor number one, suitor number three, all the way up until ninety-seven. Three brothers are offered the task of subduing The Seeker by their father. It’s his final dying wish, that his three sons subdue the evil woman in the next kingdom over who says she needs no man. They go in together with all their brotherly love, but she finds firs the oldest brother and then the middle brother without even trying. It’s up to the youngest, probably named Hans, to survive and the subdue the princess. He has three spirit animals which appear to him along the way and help him to hide himself from the princess. The first two spirit animals fail, but the third helps the man transform into something he’s not. The man hides right under her nose and she doesn’t think to look there, so she loses. She has to cede her power and herself to the rule of a man.
I’m half-joking about “being subdued by a man” in this post, but I’m not joking on the other half. This princess knew that if she married she would be ruled over by a man. That’s how things went in that day and age. She knew she wouldn’t be able to make choices of her own. She had quite enjoyed ruling herself and wanted to continue. She became a bit violent in doing so. She was protecting herself and fighting with everything she had. She did not want to be subjugated by a man. She eventually lost as it was bound to happen because of the time period. She was a woman living in a world that was very much a man’s world.
She actually reminds me very much of Queen Elizabeth, not the current one, the red-headed one famed for being “The Virgin Queen.” Elizabeth chose to stay unmarried. She knew that a marriage on her part would leave her not ruling her country and could possibly put England in some very difficult places. She chose to keep her power by staying single. The virgin part was probably a load of crap. She was the queen she probably had a “pool boy” or a “stable boy,” who just happened to have a six-pack and arms of steel just hanging around, waiting, for when Elizabeth needed to see him in her private chambers… for… you know… business.
She thought she knew everything. She thought she was untouchable, but she didn’t look right under her own nose. Her downfall came from inside. No one had ever thought to hide on the other side of her windows. Sure, she had good vision, but the windows were the tools she used to secure her victories. Without the windows, she was merely a woman who had sharp eyes.
We’ve mentioned this before, you’re not infallible. You may think you can do no wrong, but there will come a time when someone bests you. There will be someone can beat you at your own game. You may be on the top for a while, but the longer you stay, the more likely you are to topple.
This princess had her period of ruling just the way she wanted, but she became too sure of herself and it led to her downfall. What is the saying? “Pride goeth before the downfall,” I think it’s something like that anyway. She was scared of what might happen, but she was also sure of herself because of all the times she had won. There is nothing wrong with being confident in your abilities, but there will come a time when your confidence just isn’t enough. We don’t like to think about those times, but they do happen.
It’s kind of sad how this story was about the end of an era for a person. She wasn’t very nice: I’m not trying to make you get behind this princess as your role model, but it’s still sad that she fell. She had power. She had money. She had notoriety. She had her freedom. She had her gifts. She had kept all of these things through ninety-nine men, but then one comes along to change her life forever. It would be a love story anywhere else. Sometimes as women we give up a lot for “love” or what we think is “love.” Sometimes we’re right and it is love and sometimes we’re severely wrong, but we already gave up so much. We gave up what we were. We gave up our person. This is what happened to this princess. She didn’t necessarily give her person up for love, she gave it up because she got married. I seriously doubt this guy loved her. He knew of her terrible doings and most likely only married her for her wealth and status. They probably reached some kind of tolerance after a few years, but I doubt they were happily married at any point in their lives.
Who combines a story about a strange ocean mollusk with a blood-thirsty princess? Killer Snails!