The Wee Hare And The Red Fire
: ANIMAL STORIES
: Boys And Girls Bookshelf
[IN WORDS OF NOT MORE THAN FOUR LETTERS]
BY A. L. SYKES
One day in the cold time when he lay snug and warm by his Mama, Tiny
Hare said, "Tell me of the hare who went step, step, step in the snow
till he came to the RED FIRE."
So his Mama gave him a hug and said:
Once upon a time was a wise Wee Hare who knew how to run fast when MAN
came by. He knew ho
to hide when DOG was near, and when he saw the dark
spot in the sky that HAWK made, how fast he did jump to his Mama! But
Wee Hare did not like to go out and run and jump and play in the sun.
"I do not want to run and jump and play in the sun. I want to run far,
far in the wood, and find the red bush. I have seen it away off in the
dark. It is good for me to eat, I know."
"It is FIRE," said his Mama. "Only MAN can make it, and it is not good
for you. It can burn and hurt. You may eat the good food that you can
find near our home," and she bit his ear for a kiss.
"I do not want to eat the good food that I can see here. I want to do
just as I like. I want to pick the red food from the red bush. I know it
is like buds in the warm time."
"Hush," said Papa Hare, very low and deep. "You are not good. When you
are good, and the moon is high in the sky, and it is just like day, I
will take you far out in the wood, and you may run and jump and play and
eat the food that is best for you."
"I do not want to go out in the wood, and run and jump and play when the
moon is high in the sky. I want to do just as I like. I want to eat the
red buds from the red bush," said the Wee Hare.
"Shut your eyes, and put your ears down, and take your nap," said his
Mama. "You are too tiny to go away from me. Now, hush, do not say one
more word. The red bush is the RED FIRE. It can hurt and burn. MAN has
it, and DOG is with man. They can hurt you, and if you run too far in
the wood, WIND may blow too hard for a wee hare, and SNOW may come and
bury you. Shut your eyes, and put your ears down, and take your nap."
It was noon; the sun was high in the sky.
Good Papa Hare took his nap, and Mama Hare took her nap. The Wee
Hare shut his eyes, and put his ears down, but he took no nap. By and by
he went out of the door, and ran and ran till he came to the wood. Then
he ran and ran in the wood, but he did not come to the RED FIRE, and he
ran and ran and ran till his feet were sore, but he did not come to the
RED FIRE, and he ran and ran and ran and ran till he was not able to run
any more, and no RED FIRE did he see. He lay down to rest in a bush, and
very soon his eyes were shut, and he did not see or hear, for it was
long past the hour for his nap. When he woke SNOW lay on all the open
ways of the wood. The Wee Hare gave a leap from his bush, for he knew
that SNOW can grow deep and deep, and a wee hare cannot walk in it. How
he did wish he was at home!
The sun was far down in the west, and its last rays lay red on the SNOW.
Step, step, step went the lame Wee Hare in the cold SNOW. He went back
into the wood to try to find his way home. It grew gray, and it grew
dark, and SNOW grew so deep that the Wee Hare had hard work to walk.
Then WIND came. It was so cold, and blew him out of the path, and how
he did wish he was at home! Step, step, step in the SNOW he went. The
WIND blew more and more.
"I can not walk; my feet are too lame," said the Wee Hare, and just then
he saw the RED FIRE! It grew in the path in the wood, and by it sat MAN
and DOG. Oh, how the Wee Hare felt! His nose grew hot, and his ears grew
cold, and he was not able to move. Then DOG said "WOW!" and put his ears
up, but MAN said: "Lie down," and DOG lay down by the RED FIRE. The Wee
Hare went into a tiny, tiny hole in a tree, and sat on his feet to warm
them. He saw the RED FIRE. He did not like to see it. MAN and DOG did
not let it come too near them, and he saw them keep away from the RED
"They fear it, too," said the Wee Hare. "It is not good for me. I must
take care or it will come and hurt me." He sat on his cold feet, and did
not dare to take a nap.
By and by MAN put SNOW over the RED FIRE, and he and DOG went away, and
the Wee Hare went step, step, step in the snow, soft, soft, soft, for
"I wish I had been good," said the Wee Hare, and WIND and SNOW were
able to hear, and they felt sad for a wee hare.
"We will help him," they said, but low and soft so he did not hear. The
moon came up high in the sky till it was just like day, and it grew very
cold. SNOW grew hard as ice in the cold, and the Wee Hare did not sink
in it any more. WIND did not blow so hard. It came back of Wee Hare now,
push, push, push, to help the Wee Hare over the SNOW. How fast he
went--hop, skip, and jump! Soon he came to his home. How glad he was! He
went in and lay down by his Mama.
"I have not been good, Mama," he said, very low in her ear.
"Be good now, then," his Mama said, and he did not know how glad she was
to have him back.
"I want to be good," said the Wee Hare; and he shut his eyes, and put
his ears down, and they all took a nap till the dawn came.
"Just like us," said Tiny Hare, and he was glad that he lay snug and
warm by his Mama, and he was glad she had told him the tale of the Wee
Hare and the RED FIRE.