Friday, January 17, 2014
STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
THE OWL AND THE HARE
It was dusk. The owls began to fly through the forest to find some prey. A large hare leaped out on a clearing and began to smooth out his fur. An old owl looked at the hare, and seated himself on a branch; but a young owl said to him, "Why do you not catch the hare?" The old owl said, "He is too much for me: if I get caught in him, he will drag me into the woods." But the young owl said, "I will stick one claw into his body, and with the other I will clutch a tree."
The young owl made for the hare, and stuck one claw into his back so that all his talons entered the flesh, and the other claw it got ready to push into the tree. The hare yanked the owl, while the owl held on to the tree, and thought, "He will not get away." The hare darted forward and tore the owl. One claw was left in the tree, and the other in the hare's back.
The next year a hunter killed that hare, and wondered how the owl's talons had grown into the hare's back.
HOW THE WOLVES TEACH THEIR WHELPS
I was walking along the road, and heard a shout behind me. It was the shepherd boy who was shouting. He was running through the field, and pointing to something. I looked, and saw two wolves running through the field: one was full grown, and the other a whelp. The whelp was carrying a dead lamb on his shoulders, and holding on to one of its legs with its teeth. The old wolf was running behind.
When I saw the wolves, I ran after them with the shepherd, and we began to shout. In response to our cries came peasants with dogs. The moment the old wolf saw the dogs and the people, he ran up to the whelp, took the lamb away from him, threw it over his back, and both wolves ran as fast as they could, and disappeared from view. Then the boy told what had happened: the large wolf had leaped out from the ravine, had seized the lamb, killed it, and carried it off. The whelp ran up to him and grasped the lamb. The old wolf let the whelp carry the lamb, while he himself ran slowly beside him.
Only when there was danger, did the old wolf stop his teaching and himself take the lamb.
HARES AND WOLVES
The hares feed at night on tree bark; the field hares eat the winter rye and the grass, and the threshing floor hares eat the grain in the granary. Through the night the hares make a deep, visible track through the snow. The hares are hunted by men, and dogs, and wolves, and foxes, and ravens, and eagles. If a hare walked straight ahead, he would be easily caught in the morning by his tracks; but Mother Nature has made a hare timid, and his timidity saves him.
A hare goes at night fearlessly through the forests and fields, making straight tracks; but as soon as morning comes and his enemies wake up, and he hears the bark of dogs, or the squeak of sleighs, or the voice of peasants, or the crashing of a wolf through the forest, he begins to toss from side to side in his fear. He jumps forward, gets frightened at something, and runs back on his track. He hears something again, and he leaps at full speed to one side and runs away from his old track. Again something makes a noise, and the hare turns back, and again leaps to one side.
When it is daylight, he lies down. In the morning the hunters try to follow the hare tracks, and they get mixed up on the double tracks and long leaps, and marvel at the hare's cunning. But the hare did not mean to be cunning. He is merely afraid of everything.