Showing posts with label rabbits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rabbits. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Reviewing the Moon Hare

Have You Seen The Moon Hare Or Moon Rabbit?

Have you noticed the Moon Hare or the Moon Rabbit instead of the "man in the moon"? I still remember being on a date many years ago and being introduced to the rabbit on the moon. The guy I was with at the time pointed it out and ever since then I no longer see a man's face but a rabbit or more specifically a hare. Little did I know back then, that there is a place in Asian mythology for that Moon Hare. 

moon hare
Hares and rabbits have been on my mind
image courtesy of pixabay.com
A few weeks back, I wrote about fear and how rabbits seemed to be hopping into my mind a lot, lately. Well, I'm still sort of consumed with the furry little creatures. Turns out there is a reason why. I'm currently working on a new book in a new genre (for me anyway) and the hare is playing a significant part in the story. (More about that later.)


Moon Hare In Asian Mythology


As I have researched the hare for my book, I have discovered a few things about the creature. First of all, a hare is different from a rabbit. The hare is larger, has longer ears, and tends to be more solitary than its cousin the rabbit. Hares live above ground instead of below. They do share a lot of the same characteristics.

Most of the time the mythical hare in the moon is said to be using a mortar and pestle. In Chinese folklore the Moon Hare is pounding the elixir of life for Chang'e the Moon Goddess. She brought the hare with her when she moved to the moon after having drank the elixir of life. She wanted to forever watch over her husband Houyi the archer. In Japanese and Korean folklore the Moon Hare is pounding the ingredients for rice cakes.

Having this information helped me to firm-up an idea in my head for the character of Jipsee who is sent to Khenlee to be her wisdom companion in her journey through life as a healer and Shaman. Khenlee is special and she is given a special spirit animal. The girl is of two races of her world. So, I wanted something that was special to at least two different cultures. The hare fit perfectly. I've mentioned the Asian mythology but the hare is also significant in Celtic mythology, too. It was seen as being supernatural and associated with the moon. They were looked upon as mysterious and magical by the Celts. Seemed like a good fit for an animal guide for young Khenlee. The hare was also special to the Northern European Saxon Goddess Eostre. (Easter was named after her).

Building a World and a Story


So, as I build a different world I'm having good and bad 'hare' days. The book will be in the YA Fantasy genre which is turning out to be a lot of fun to write. The working title right now is Khenlee of Alerassa, although, I might change that up a bit. The gods have spoken, they want Khenlee to be the next Shaman/healer for the village of Alerassa. She is 12, she doesn't want to be a healer, and she struggles with the same angst that girls of her age do here on Earth. She also faces the prejudice of people due to her dual heritage. When Jipsee comes to her, they don't exactly fall in love with each other. The hare is disgusted that she is meant to work with a child that appears to be less than bright. The girl doesn't even know the difference between a hare and a rabbit. How in Ethoria can she become a wise woman who heals the bodies and souls of mortal creatures? It is beyond Jipsee's understanding. Khenlee believes the gods are playing a practical joke on her. How can she depend on a creature who is afraid of its own shadow?

The two will travel and grow together throughout the story. They will help each other and they will argue with each other but in the end they will become what they were destined to be. 

So, anyway, I've shared a little about the Moon Hare from a few cultures. I've given you a short look into the world in my head. I think I might need to get myself a stuffed animal to sit on my desk as I type out the words. I thought this one was kind of cute....




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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Watership Down Book Review

Wonderful Book To Read

A review of a classic book for you  to consider reading, Watership Down. You may have been required to read this book when you were in Middle or High School. I fall into an age group that wasn't; when I was still attending school it hadn't been written yet. So, I'm quite late to the game but I enjoyed this book a whole lot and would have loved writing a report on it or discussing it in a classroom. (I was one of those strange kids who relished those book assignments!)

watership down rabbits
Would the rabbits of Watership Down look like these two?
image courtesy of pixabay.com

I had heard of this book written by Richard Adams and first published in 1972 but had never considered reading it. From the title I guess I thought that it probably had something to do with a ship or a sea battle. I couldn't have been more wrong. Watership Down is actually a chalk hill in Hampshire, England. The story is about a group of wild rabbits who flee from their colony and warren when one rabbit senses that danger is on the way.

Richard Adams didn't set out to write a book but instead began to make-up the story to entertain his children on a long road trip. His daughters loved the tales so much that they encouraged him to write it all down and make it into a book. Adams was rejected by several publishers before Rex Collings Ltd took a chance on him and published it for him. The book was so well received that it won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Prize. I wonder what those publishers that rejected it thought when that happened!

My attention was drawn to the book when I was watching a re-run of a British television show. The presenter was in Hampshire showing properties to a couple who wanted to move to the country. He pointed to the real Watership Down and referenced the book. My curiosity was peaked so I looked up the novel and ended up buying it. I was not disappointed!


Brief Synopsis of Watership Down


The main characters of this wonderful book for children or young adults are wild rabbits. Just like with humans each has his or her own personality. Fiver and Hazel are friends growing up in a colony of rabbits in England. Both are about a year old and haven't found their place in the hierarchy of the colony yet. Life is hard for young rabbits in any warren; it is a bit harder for Fiver because he is smaller than most rabbits of his age and most think he is more than a little strange. Fiver shares a vision that he has had with his friend that warns of some kind of danger coming to their hillside home. He insists that the entire colony needs to flee immediately. Hazel has learned that his strange little friend is usually right when he "sees" things and encourages him to go tell the Chief Rabbit.

The Chief dismisses little Fiver when he hears the warning. He figures the little buck is just trying to find an insured spot in the colony since he will never be able to be in the warrior or guard class, he is just too small. A few believe the small rabbit while others are rather easily convinced. A small band of young male rabbits leave the warren in the middle of the night to follow Fiver and Hazel to a new land that is believed to be safer for them to begin their own colony in. 

As you can imagine their trip to the down (hill) that they can see on the horizon is filled with adventure and danger. The young rabbits form stronger friendships and try things that are new to them. Each finds strengths they never knew they had. 

I loved this story! Even though it was originally written for children, adults can and do enjoy it, too. It is rather a tome with over 400 pages but I think you will find that it isn't difficult to finish, it is so well written and interesting that you just keep flipping those pages. It is a great book to read for yourself but also one that would be wonderful to read to a child or group of children in several sittings. You can share it with children aged 8 or older and I think they will love it just as much as you will.




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