Hare Of Inaba Analysis

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Sometimes the reminder why I don 't want to read only contemporary fiction comes from unexpected places. And I decidedly don 't want to limit this notion to the so-called 'classics ' - a term that ranges between ambiguous and arbitrary - but also include all those stories which are not as widely known. Because the good ones have something to say to us, even centuries later.

The Hare of Inaba is a story about a sneaky hare, gullible crocodiles and cruel human princes that breaks the mould in the way it deals with transgressions. A lot of fairytales, at least in their original forms, tend to be places where layers, nuance and complexity are rarely found. Heroes are universally good, villains are universally bad, and the unkindness the villain
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In Mother Hulda two sisters handle the same obstacles differently and are rewarded or punished accordingly. The always good, kind and diligent (and of course pretty) sister accidentally enter 's Hulda 's realm, where she completes the tasks she is given without question, and is later directly rewarded by Hulda. The always bad, unkind and lazy sister enters Hulda 's world on purpose after witnessing her sister 's success. She, on the other hand, performs her duties only half-heartedly or not all, which leads to Hulda punishing her with being covered in pitch for life. End of story.

Duality of the Hare

The Hare of Inaba takes a different road. The titular hare is both perpetrator and victim, he deceives the crocodiles to cross the sea and is later deceived himself, when he follows the malicious advice of those eighty bad princes. The interesting part is that his previous transgression doesn 't exclude him from being seen as a victim of unjust cruelty. He is neither perfectly innocent nor perfectly good. Thus his status as a previous transgressor doesn 't affect his ability to be recognised as a victim at a later point in time.

The usual fairytale or fable would only contain the first part of the hare 's story. The hare tricks the crocodiles and is punished with losing his fur, because he gets carried away and mocks them while he is still within reach. But The Hare of Inaba goes on, because it 's really a story about the hero and
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