The Gray Hare

: Fables For Children, Stories For Children, Natural Science Stori

A gray hare was living in the winter near the village. When night came,

he pricked one ear and listened; then he pricked his second ear, moved

his whiskers, sniffed, and sat down on his hind legs. Then he took a

leap or two over the deep snow, and again sat down on his hind legs, and

looked around him. Nothing could be seen but snow. The snow lay in waves

and glistened like sugar. Over the hare's head hovered a frost vapour,
br /> and through this vapour could be seen the large, bright stars.

The hare had to cross the highway, in order to come to a threshing-floor

he knew of. On the highway the runners could be heard squeaking, and the

horses snorting, and seats creaking in the sleighs.

The hare again stopped near the road. Peasants were walking beside the

sleighs, and the collars of their caftans were raised. Their faces were

scarcely visible. Their beards, moustaches, and eyelashes were white.

Steam rose from their mouths and noses. Their horses were sweaty, and

the hoarfrost clung to the sweat. The horses jostled under their arches,

and dived in and out of snow-drifts. The peasants ran behind the horses

and in front of them, and beat them with their whips. Two peasants

walked beside each other, and one of them told the other how a horse of

his had once been stolen.

When the carts passed by, the hare leaped across the road and softly

made for the threshing-floor. A dog saw the hare from a cart. He began

to bark and darted after the hare. The hare leaped toward the

threshing-floor over the snow-drifts, which held him back; but the dog

stuck fast in the snow after the tenth leap, and stopped. Then the hare,

too, stopped and sat up on his hind legs, and then softly went on to the


On his way he met two other hares on the sowed winter field. They were

feeding and playing. The hare played awhile with his companions, dug

away the frosty snow with them, ate the wintergreen, and went on.

In the village everything was quiet; the fires were out. All one could

hear was a baby's cry in a hut and the crackling of the frost in the

logs of the cabins. The hare went to the threshing-floor, and there

found some companions. He played awhile with them on the cleared floor,

ate some oats from the open granary, climbed on the kiln over the

snow-covered roof, and across the wicker fence started back to his


The dawn was glimmering in the east; the stars grew less, and the frost

vapours rose more densely from the earth. In the near-by village the

women got up, and went to fetch water; the peasants brought the feed

from the barn; the children shouted and cried. There were still more

carts going down the road, and the peasants talked aloud to each other.

The hare leaped across the road, went up to his old lair, picked out a

high place, dug away the snow, lay with his back in his new lair,

dropped his ears on his back, and fell asleep with open eyes.