The Rabbit in the Moon

The Rabbit in the Moon

The Rabbit in the Moon

Every time I see a full moon hanging in the sky, I stop and stare. Not because of its beauty, but it is indeed breathtaking. Nor do I stare because of the miracle of "one small step for mankind," though it is a modern one. I stare at the moon for one reason---to see the rabbit and remember his lesson.

Long ago when I was in grade four, maybe five, my teacher told the class a story of three friends: a monkey, a fox, and a hare, who’d promised to be friends forever, and made a vow to never kill a living thing.

One day an Indian chief, wishing to test the faith of the animals that live in his forest, disguised himself as a poor man dressed in rags and wandered in.

"Hello," the monkey called to the man. "Can I help you?"

The beggar bowed his head and said, “I am so hungry."

At once, the monkey climbed into the trees and picked some fruit to offer him.

Fox also came across the poor man. “What can I do for you sir,” he asked.

“I am so terribly hungry,” said the poor man.

The fox ran to the river and returned with some fish to feed the poor man.

The rabbit, coming across the beggar, asked, “Is there anything I can do to help you?"

The poor man replied, "I am hungry.”

The rabbit felt helpless and sad.  “I am sorry but I eat nothing but grass. I am of no use to you."

Then suddenly the rabbit had an idea.  He asked his palsto help him build a fire. They agreed.

"Because I have nothing else to offer you, “ said the rabbit to the man, “I will jump into this fire and when I am cooked, my friends Monkey and Fox will feed me to you."

As the rabbit was about to leap into the fire, the Indian chief tossed off his ragged clothing and revealed himself to the trio.

"Please, do not be afraid,” he said to them.  “I am more than a beggar. I am a great warrior and chief and I see you are all truly kind creatures."

"But Rabbit," he continued, "Your sacrifice is beyond imagination and I am so touched by your generosity. But you must never do anything to harm yourself."

With those words he lifted the rabbit into his arms and placed him in the Moon.

Take a moment to stare at the full moon. Look at it closely. Tilt your head to the right. What you’ll see in the scars on moon's face is the outline of a rabbit.

It’s there. A celestial and luminous reminder to be kind to everyone.

 

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Kimberley Lovato

Kimberley Lovato has written about travel, lifestyle and food for national and international publications and websites including National Geographic Traveler, Executive Travel, American Way, AFAR, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), Ryan Air, b.there, Easy Jet Traveller, leitesculinaria.com and frommers.com, among others. She is the author of a Michelin Guidebook on Brussels, where she lived for six years Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, about the Dordogne region of France, won the "Best Travel Book" nod in 2012 from the Society of American Travel Writers, as did her personal essay, "Lost and Liberated," which also appeared in Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 8. When she's not plotting her next trip or her annual pilgrimage to France, she resides in San Francisco where she is a correspondent for BBC's Passport Blog, a student in Stanford University's Creative Writing Certificate program, and a brave mother of a teenaged girl.