This is the last Wolf and Hare story Krylinn told to the children of the stead.
I’ve told you all the stories of the Hare and the Wolf that I know, but one. This is the last story of the Hare, for this is the story that ends his life.
As you remember, in those days, animals spoke the same language and could speak to one another as easily as I speak to you. But there were only a few People back then, and the Hare had met none.
The Wolf, however, had met People in his ranging and knew them to be cunning, cruel, and murderous, with a taste for animal flesh.
Ever intent on killing his enemy the Hare, the Wolf decided to set a trap. “I will get the Hare to go to the humans. When they’ve captured him, I’ll steal him and eat him myself!”
So he went to the Hare and said. “Oh, Hare. Please help! I have been stricken with such a belly-ache! I came up on a human village, and there they had a place where they grew vegetables right in a row! I dug under their fence and ate so much that now my belly is killing me! I may die!”
“Vegetables, you say?” said the Hare. And off he skipped toward the human village. There, he hopped over the fence and tripped a snare the humans had prepared.
There he hung, by one foot, for the longest time, until he could see a Human approaching, bow in hand.
The Hare looked the other way and saw the Wolf coming, his teeth glistening with drool. What was he going to do this time?
Dangling from a snare trap by only a foot, with both Human and Wolf coming his way, the Hare had no way out. In desperation, cried out to Eostre, Goddess of Nature, who appeared to him in a form that only he could see, her legs entwined with vines and stalks of wheat and barley for her hair. “Eostre! Please! Save me from this trap!” said the Hare.
Eostre said “And why should I save you, clever Hare. You have always been too smart by half. Can’t you figure a way to save yourself?”
Hare said, “You are Goddess of the animals! It’s your job to save me!”
Eostre grew perturbed and said, “I am also Goddess of the plants. Should I then save the vegetables from you? Perhaps I should save the Wolf, for the Human will turn on him next. It is not for you to tell me my duty. By ancient law, my intervention requires sacrifice. In this case, blood. Where is your blood, hare?”
The Hare had no time to answer, for the Human raised his bow and shot him.
But the arrow pierced through his leg and hit the Wolf between the eyes, spilling the Wolf’s blood into the ground below Eostre.
The Wolf died immediately. The sacrifice made, Eostre grew the Hare a new foot, though he left the old one behind for the human.
So began the war between Wolf and Man that has lasted to this day.
And, to this day, Humans keep Hare feet to remind them that blood and luck are sometimes all that may move the Gods.