The Sea-Hare

The Sea-HareThe Sea-Hare

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.

The End

The Sea-HareObservations

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.

The Sea-HareThemes

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.

Overall

Who combines a story about a strange ocean mollusk with a blood-thirsty princess? Killer Snails!


 

The Fox and the Horse

The Fox and the HorseThe Fox and the Horse

So what do you do with the horse once it gets too old to work? Well, these days, you let it live out its life, but back in the day, you sent that horse to the glue factory, which isn’t very nice.

Once upon a time there was a farmer who had an old horse. The horse had worked very hard, but was getting old and up in years. The farmer was tired of feeding it. He told the horse that if it could bring a lion back to him, he would keep the horse for the rest of his days. The horse was worried and went out to sulk.

A fox came up the horse and asked him what was wrong. The horse was like, “Well, I’m going to be turned into glue because I’m not of use anymore. The master says he’ll keep me only if I can bring a lion back to him.” The fox pondered on this for a moment and was like, “Wait a minute, I know how we can fix this. Lie down and pretend to be dead.” The horse isn’t exactly sure how this is going to accomplish anything, but goes along with it.

The fox goes into the forest and finds as lion. He tells the lion, “Hey, I know where there is a buffet calling your name. There is a freshly dead horse over there, all you have to do is go and get it.”

The lion goes to the horse and sure enough it does look appetizing, but he doesn’t really want to eat it out in the open. The fox says he knows how this can be fixed. He tells the lion to lie down so he can tie the horse to the lion. That way the lion can drag the horse home to his den. The lion thinks this idea is ok.

The lion lies down, but instead of tying the horse to the lion, the fox ties the lion to the horse. The lion’s legs are tied together and he can’t move. The fox tells the horse to get up and pull the lion back to his master. The horse takes off dragging the lion behind him.

Needless to say, the farmer is quite surprised and is good to his word. The horse gets to live out the rest of his days on the farm.

The End

Observations

Lions don’t live in the jungle. Lions don’t live in Europe, well not the kind of lion I’m thinking of. There may be a few mountain lion types of lions, pumas and such. This story is geographically flawed.

The lion is dumb. I don’t know a ton about lions but I would assume that they’re a bit smarter than this one. Wouldn’t a lion of regular intelligence suspect that lying down on the ground because a fox said so is a bad idea? I don’t know, maybe a zookeeper would be a better person to ask.

Themes

We keep animals for pets, but that has not always been the case. Animals used to have to work for their keep. It didn’t matter if it was simply a cat, that cat has to work for its food. That cat had to catch the mice that might eat up the grain or spread the plague. A horse would have been a very important work animal for a farm during this time period. They weren’t cheap. Horses were expensive. Buying a horse back then was like a farmer buying a nice tractor today. There are some lower end tractors, but they’re still kind of expensive. When that horse reached the end of its productive days you had to buy a new horse, what good was the old horse going to do you? That horse was like a piece of equipment. It needed to work for you and not just take money out of your pocket. If you had to feed a horse until it died and it didn’t do any work for you, that was a pretty big sacrifice. I explain all of this so you understand what a big deal it was for this farmer to keep this horse.

This represents a very large sentiment on the part of the farmer. No, the horse didn’t catch this lion on his own, but the farmer was moved enough to keep the horse. During this time period, we were gradually moving to a more sentimental age in many aspects. This story is just one story that illustrates our softening as a society to animals and the cruelties of nature.

Overall

Honestly, if I had a horse and it showed up with a lion one day, I’d be pretty impressed. At the very least it would be a good story to tell other people.



 

The Fox and the Cat

The Fox and the CatSummary

The Fox and the Cat is a story in which the fox gets what is coming to him, that jerk. For the past several stories we’ve been reading about how awful this stupid fox is, well, now, he gets it. He bites the dust. Well, I guess that was kind of a spoiler, but the story is so short there isn’t really any way not to spoil it.

Once upon a time there was a cat who met a fox in the forest. The cat thought that the fox was rather wise and had much experience, so she spoke to the fox as a friend would. The cat basically bid the fox good day and asked how life was going.

The fox, who was arrogant, just looked at the cat for a good, long time. Finally, the fox said, “Oh, you wretched beard-cleaner, you piebald fool, you hungry mouse-hunter, what can you be thinking of? Have you the cheek to ask how I am getting on? What have you learnt? How many arts do you understand?”

The cat answers the fox’s rude reply with this, “I understand but one. When the hounds are following me, I can spring into a tree and save myself.” The fox arrogantly asks if that is it, to which the cat replies, “Yup.”

The fox goes on.

“I am master of a hundred arts, and have into the bargain a sackful of cunning. You make me sorry for you; come with me, I will teach you how people get away from the hounds.”

A hunter appears with some dogs. The cat jumps up into a tree and hides herself behind some foliage. The cat takes this chance to gloat to the fox.

“Open your sack, Mr. Fox, open your sack.”

It was too late though, the dogs had already grabbed Mr. Fox.

“Ah, Mr. Fox…you with your hundred arts are left in the lurch! Had you been able to climb like me, you would not have lost your life.”

The End

Observations

Ooh, the fox gets it. The fox gets it good. Stupid fox. Here we have foxes going around being all cute, but also being jerks. This fox was definitely a jerk. Maybe it’s the same fox in all these stories. This same fox is going around being a jerk to everybody.

“Piebald” means having many colors or patches. You know, kind of like the Pied Piper? So, we’re probably talking about a calico cat. Sorry, I don’t have a calico cat to take pictures of for this post. You’ll just have to live with Sage the tabby cat.

I like how the cat taunts the fox. That’s great. The fox totally deserved it.

By the way, cats totally know how to do more things that jump up in a tree.

Themes

Arrogance and pride can be your downfall. This fox thinks he’s so smart, well, guess what…he’s not. He can’t climb a tree. Too bad, so sad. The cat gets away pretty quickly and then just sits up in the tree and laughs. I will admit, this is kind of mean of the cat, but the fox did deserve it. The cat wanted to praise this fox, but the fox totally dismissed the cat.

If someone wants to praise you or compliment you, you’re not supposed to be mean to them. You’re supposed to accept that compliment. You’re supposed to say, “Thank you.” It’s a terrible thing when a person gets so self-absorbed that they cannot say thank you to an admirer. If someone wants to admire you, just go ahead and say thank you. It’s not all the time that we get to walk around with people admiring us. You better be grateful for it while it lasts.

Overall

Essentially, this is a short tale explaining why we should not be jerks.


Gossip Wolf and the Fox

Gossip Wolf and the FoxSummary

Gossip Wolf and the Fox is about a fox who is a jerk. We know the fox is labeled as cunning in many stories, and this story isn’t an exception to that rule.

Once upon a time there was a mother wolf  named Gossip who had a cub. She decided to make the fox godfather since he was related closely enough. Mrs. Gossip actually thinks the fox has a good understanding and could teach her cub a thing or two. She’s thought about this.

The fox is more than happy to accept the honor and eats well at the following feast. After the feast he suggest to Mrs. Gossip that they should go out and get good food for the cub to grow on. He says he knows of a sheepfold where they might fetch a nice morsel. Mrs. Gossip goes with the fox to the sheepfold.

The sly fox points out the sheepfold from afar and tells Mrs. Gossip that she will be able to sneak in without being seen. He says that he will sneak around the other side and grab a chicken. Mrs. Gossip makes her plan to sneak around to grab a sheep, but the fox just lays at the edge of the forest to watch what happens. The sheepfold is not unguarded. There is a guard dog there who makes a big racket when Mrs. Gossip gets near the sheepfold.

The peasants who owned the dog and the sheep came running out at the dog’s barking. They poured a hot mixture used to do laundry on Mrs. Gossip. This would be lye. She did manage to escape, all the while being burned by the lye. She goes back to the fox and tells him that the peasants have beaten her severely. The fox pretends to be hurt and tells Mrs. Gossip that if she does not carry him, he will die. Mrs. Gossip does carry the fox all the way back home.

The fox says to Mrs. Gossip, “Farewell, dear Mrs. Gossip, may the roasting you have had do you good,” he then laughed at her and left.

The End

Observations

This fox is a big jerk. I wouldn’t want him for a god-parent to my kid. There is no telling what he would teach a young and impressionable child. He would probably also abuse this child to no end, perhaps physically and mentally.

It is kind of cruel how the peasants pour lye on the wolf. That’s the mixture we’re talking about. Lye used to be something you used to wash your clothes. Laundry used to be quite the ordeal. You can make lye soap on your own, but don’t leave it on your skin too long, it might burn you. Having lye poured on you, would really mess you up. I actually watched this foreign film where a little girl’s mother died because a vat of laundry lye was spilled on her. It was quite the gruesome scene. This is an awful thing to do to a person or an animal and, no doubt, Mrs. Gossip was in an extreme amount of pain and probably wouldn’t survive.

I have no idea why these stories keep referring to various wolves as “gossip.” Did that word used to mean something else? Ah, I have figured it out. I did a little research. “Gossip” is a word not only used to describe the act of spreading illicit information or a person who does so, but also a close friend. Basically, a gossip, could be a friend that was so close, you gossiped with them. People said “gossip so-and-so” in the same manner we would go around calling people “buddy” or “pal.”

Themes

I can’t really think of any good themes for this story. Perhaps the theme is that you should not make a terrible person into a god-parent. Maybe the theme is that you cannot trust a fox. The fox is awfully two-faced in this tale. One minute he’s talking how it’s such an honor to be a god-parent, and the next, he’s leading the mother of that child to, what could be, her death. What a jerk.

Overall

I’m beginning not to like this fox.


The Wolf and the Fox

The Wolf and the FoxSummary

The Wolf and the Fox is yet another story involving both a wolf and a fox. Why are these two always hanging out? They get themselves into some interesting adventures. The wolf always seems to be the more stupid of the two and I wonder why. The fox is always the cunning creature.

Once upon a time there was a fox who was obliged to do everything his companion, the wolf, told him to do, because the wolf was stronger. One day the wolf was hungry and told the fox to get him something to eat. The wolf said he knew of a farm where there were two lambs. The fox quietly got one lamb, which the fox gobbled down rather quickly. He was still hungry.

The wolf decided to go back to the farm and get the other lamb. He wasn’t very good at being sneaky and made such a fuss that the mother of the two lambs was bleating and farmers came running. They beat the wolf pretty badly. The wolf blamed the fox for misleading him. The fox asked him why he was such a glutton.

Again, the wolf decided he was hungry. He tells the fox to get him something to eat. The fox says he knows of a farm where the wife is making pancakes. The fox went and stealthily managed to grab six pancakes. The wolf ate them up immediately, but was hungry again. The wolf decided to get some more pancakes for himself. He went to the house and tore down the entire dish that held the pancakes. This made such a racket that the farmer’s wife was disturbed. She called for help and people came to beat the wolf pretty much until their sticks broke into pieces. The wolf went limping back to the fox. The wolf, yet again, blamed the fox for all of his troubles. The fox asks the wolf why he is such a glutton, again.

The wolf is soon hungry, again, and tells the fox to get him something to eat. The fox says he knows of a farm where the farmer has been killing and salting meat. The cellar is just full of it and there is a hole to get in and out. The fox and the wolf go to this cellar and they both begin to eat. They both really like the salted meat, but the fox keeps running out of the same hole they entered in. He is doing this to make sure he can still get out, but when the wolf asks him why, he says that he is keeping watch. The fox is careful to tell the wolf not to eat too much. The wolf declares that he is going to eat the entire barrel of salted meat.

The wolf does eat the entire barrel of salted meat. The farmer had heard the fox moving around and came down to the cellar to investigate. The fox got out of the cellar in one bound, but the wolf had eaten so much that he could not get back through the hole in the cellar. The farmer had a cudgel, which he used to strike the wolf dead. The fox ran off into the forest, free of his former master.

The End

Observations

This fox is cunning. It’s neat how he tricks the wolf into getting caught. That’s one way to get rid of a bad boss I suppose. Wasn’t there a movie about how several people agreed to kill each other’s bosses? I think there was and Jason Bateman was in it.

I find the idea of foxes and wolves eating pancakes a little strange, but whatever. A dog will eat a pancake, so I supposed a wolf and a fox will also eat a pancake.

Salted meat is something we don’t do too much of anymore, but it used to be a common occurrence. You didn’t used to have a refrigerator or a freezer. When you killed a pig or a deer, you would eat some of the meat right away, but much of it, you would store away for times of lack. In order to do this, you would salt the meat. You might smoke the meat as well. It could also be dried. Salt can preserve meat. It draws moisture out of the meat, which makes it very difficult for bacteria to grow. If bacteria can’t grow, it’s difficult for something to rot. Your main worry after salting meat was animals, which we see in this tale.

Themes

Don’t be a glutton. It’s pretty simple. This wolf was caught by being a glutton. If he hadn’t eaten so much, he would still be alive. Here’s another thing, don’t be mean to those who are below you. This wolf treats the fox like junk. This fox is obedient, but does grow to resent the wolf. That’s why, when he gets the opportunity, the fox is quick to throw the wolf under the proverbial bus.

I read somewhere once that to determine how a man is you should not look at how he treats his equals, but how he treats his inferiors. I don’t remember what that is from. It’s true though. We know this wolf is a jerk. He shouldn’t be treating this poor little fox this way, but he does. When he gets into trouble, he blames the fox for it. Is that not some sort of emotional abuse? I think it totally could be. It’s one of those “look-at-what-you-made-me-do” situations. The fox didn’t make the wolf do anything. The wolf did all of this on his own, but the wolf wants the fox to shoulder the blame for his discomfort.

Overall

Again, we have this Aesop-like tail. It’s short and to the point.