INSTANT WISDOM > SPECIAL > STORIES

04/19/99

The white rabbit of Inaba

Once Upon a Time...

There once lived a white rabbit in the land of Inaba who was washed away
to Okinoshima island by a flood. Every day, the rabbit stared at the ocean,
longing to return to Inaba.

One day, the rabbit saw a crocodile and was struck by an idea. "Mr.
Shark, you sure are big, but I bet I have more relatives than you do," the
rabbit said.

"No way, I have a large family," replied the shark.

"Why don't you call all your relatives and have them line up in the ocean
toward Inaba. I will jump on your backs and count your numbers," the
rabbit suggested. The shark agreed.

The rabbit jumped from shark to shark, and just as he was about to reach
Inaba's shore, on the back of the last shark, he yelled, "Ha, ha, good job, I
fooled you."

Outraged, the shark attacked the rabbit, tearing off all his fur.

Several mean god brothers, seeing the rabbit crying on the shore, advised
him to wash his skin in the ocean and dry it in the wind. But the salt water
stung the rabbit and he cried even more in renewed pain.

The youngest of the brothers, named Ookuninushi no Mikoto, happened
upon the crying rabbit. He felt sorry for the rabbit and told him to wash his
skin in the river, and dry it by rolling his body on a cattail.

The rabbit thanked Ookuninushi no Mikoto and predicted that he would
soon become the ruler of the region. The prediction came true a short time
later.

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