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The Hare, The Vixen, The Monkey and the Horse


In a forest, Vixen was the trickiest animal that no one liked. She fooled everyone. She passed the time of day trying to make as much profit as possible. Harming others and playing, there was not a single neighbor whom she had not made miserable. But no one at all could find a way to punish her, so she remained like that a long time.

Monkey was at the edge of the forest, clinging to the top of a tree. From amidst the wrinkles that filled his forehead, he formulated four times three—a dozen—ideas and twenty-five thoughts, and finally he found a way to deal with Vixen. As soon as the plan came to mind, he could not contain his joy, and he jumped down to the ground from the top of the tree in a single leap. He told what he thought to Hare at the base of the tree. As soon as Hare heard it, the glow of doubt appeared in his eyes. Monkey knew that Hare did not believe him and said, “Go. If it doesn’t please you, I’ll go look for Vixen now.”

As soon as Monkey saw Vixen, he said in a sweet, low voice, “Sister Vixen, what’s the most sweet and delicious food in the world?” As soon as Vixen heard the words ‘sweet and delicious’ she pricked up her ears and said, “This is a matter that increases happiness a lot. Don’t you know what the most sweet and delicious food is?” To her question Monkey replied, “I’ve never heard so up until now. But according to what I heard today, the most sweet and delicious food in the world is the meat of Horse’s ass. But it’s very difficult to have it come into one’s mouth. They say whoever wants to get it there, first has to tie Horse’s tail firmly with one’s own tail.” Vixen got upset and asked Monkey, “Why?” Monkey said, “If the two tails are not knotted firmly and Horse gets startled, you won’t catch him later.” At the same time he whispered into Vixen’s ear, “Sister Vixen, When I came here, old Horse was falling asleep on the meadow.”

After Vixen heard Monkey’s words, she thought about it, but without showing any change of expression at all, she pretended not to pay any heed, and slowly and casually said, “You investigate this matter of the most sweet and delicious food the best you can. There’s a saying: ‘Mother’s son needs to relax.’ So it’s wrong to be impatient. If we two meet again later, we can have a casual conversation. However, it’d be best if you didn’t tell these matters to anyone else.” Then she went off swinging her big tail.

Monkey saw how things were and had no choice but to go home. Vixen went along and in a little while, when she turned around and looked, she saw that Monkey was not there. Jumping and leaping quickly, she looked for Horse.

Not long after, Vixen sought and found Horse. Horse was very tired, having run back and forth all day. He was falling asleep. Vixen crept slowly. She tied her tail and Horse’s tail tightly together, then bit Horse hard on the ass. Horse was having a nice sleep and suddenly got a hot pain in his ass. He rolled over and got up at once. Without having had time to think of what was happening, he bucked forward with all his strength. Horse galloped once and Vixen fell to the ground. Since Vixen’s and Horse’s tails were attached, Vixen had no chance to get free. She could do nothing else other than let Horse pull. She cried, “Owwww! Owwww! I’m killed, killed!” She did not know how to avoid anything, other than her body and big, long tail.

After Monkey had parted from Vixen, he was hanging in a tree top and watched the events. He saw Horse drag Vixen and do her harm, so he was happy and clapped his hands and stomped his feet. Besides, because he was not humble, he fell from the top of the tree. His ass hit the ground and turned red. Hare also saw how Vixen got dragged, and how Monkey was happy and fell to the ground. He sneered so much from the top of a mountain, his upper jaw split. Therefore, from generation to generation Monkey’s ass is bright red; Hare has a harelip; Horse, from that time on, does not dare lie on the ground when he sleeps and always sleeps standing up, and no matter how tired he is, after he rolls on the ground, he gets up in a hurry. Vixen’s body is full of bluish spots on top, having been dragged by Horse at that time. So people say.

—Rdo rje tshe brtan, Qinghai Folk Literature 3, 1990

Folk Story Amdo
The Hare, The Vixen, The Monkey and the Horse
Collection Tibetan Children's Stories
Visibility Public - accessible to all site users (default)
Author Rdo rje tshe brtan
Translator Larry Epstein
Original year published 1990
Creative Commons Licence