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Ever wonder how the rabbit got up into the moon? Wonder no more!
The Rabbit in the Moon
Once the Old-Man-of-the-Moon looked down into a big forest on the earth. He saw a rabbit and a monkey and a fox all living there together in the forest as very good friends.
"Now, I wonder which of them is the kindest," he said to himself. "I think I'll go down and see."
So the old man changed himself into a beggar and came down from the moon to the forest where the three animals were.
"Please help me," he said to them. "I'm very hungry."
"Oh! What a poor old beggar!" they said, and then they went hurrying off to find some food for the beggar.
The monkey brought a lot of fruit. And the fox caught a big fish. But the rabbit couldn't find anything at all to bring.
"Oh my! oh my! what shall I do?" the rabbit cried. But just then he got an idea.
"Please, Mr. Monkey," the rabbit said, "you gather some firewood for me. And you, Mr. Fox, please make a big fire with the wood."
They did as the rabbit asked, and when the fire was burning very brightly, the rabbit said to the beggar: "I don't have anything to give you. So I'll put myself in this fire, and then when I'm cooked you can eat me."
The rabbit was about to jump into the fire and cook himself. But just then the beggar suddenly changed himself back into the Old-Man-of-the-Moon.
"You are very kind, Mr. Rabbit," the Old Man said. "But you should never do anything to harm yourself. Since you are the kindest, of all, I'll take you home to live with me."
Then the Old-Man-of-the-Moon took the rabbit in his arms and carried him up to the moon. Just look and see! If you look carefully at the moon when it is shining brightly, you can still see the rabbit thee where the Old Man put him so very long ago.
I really liked the story above, the rabbit was so kind.
Last edited by destiny4ever; May 28, 2011 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
The legend of rabbits being on the moon has become so prevalent in Japanese society that there are even confectionaries that have it as a motif! Sailor Moon's everyday name is Usagi, and obviously I don't need to explain where that name came from.
I can't seem to find Japanese mythology in Japanese on the search engines with my level of Japanese. I'm primarily trying to find Japanese folklore/mythology (ranging from short Greek myths to works like The Iliad and The Aeneid) because of their prevalence in Japanese culture.
In other words, can someone find me reliable sources for Japanese mythology/folklore, please? Thanks before in after.
The easiest is probably Wikipedia. Here is an article on folklore, from which you can get the names of some of the famous Japanese folk heros like Momotarou (桃太郎), Kintarou (金太郎), Issun-boushi (一寸法師) and more. You can probably get enough info by reading their individual wiki pages, or by copying and pasting their names and running a Google search.
Hope that helps
There are a few good sources on Google Books.
'Folktales from the Japanese countryside' looks like a good one. Or just watch Mushi-shi instead.