This story is from the Jakata tale: “The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts.” Jakata tales teach about compassion, sharing, and good and evil.
As the story goes, Hare worries about everything, even when she sleeps. One day when she is taking a nap, a ripe mango falls from a tree and lands next to her with a loud crash. She wakes up, thinking
“the world is breaking up!”
and takes off running. Another hare asks her why she is running.
“Run for your life!” she tells him. “The world is breaking up!”
Soon other hares hear the rumor and join them. The rumor spreads quickly throughout the land until 1000 boars, 1000 deer, 1000 tiger, and 1000 rhinos are running together. Finally the hysterical crowd of animals runs into a wise lion. The lion asks why they are running. When they trace the purpose of their panic back to the silly little hare and the fallen mango, they all feel very foolish.
This book reminds me of the Chicken Little story “The Sky is Falling” that I read when I was young. According to the author, the animals featured in the book – the Bristly Hare, Pygmy Boar, Swamp Deer, Bengal Tiger, Indian Rhinoceros, and Asiatic Lion - are either endangered or threatened due to loss of habitat. The vibrantly colored paintings of the animals running across the lush mango grove, forest, and marshland are absolutely incredible.
About the Author
Canadian author / illustrator Jan Thornhill has written many books for children, including the award-winning Wildlife 123, which won the UNICEF Ezra Jack Keats Award.
Read more folktales from around the world on this website: The Big Big Book of Tashi by Anna and Barbara Fienberg (Australia), Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (China), or Tiger Soup: An Anansi Story from Jamaica by Frances Temple.