The First Rabbits

By Teresa Peirce Williston

Illustrated by Sanchi Ogawa

The children in the sky were all crying. “Boo-hoo,” said one. “Boo-hoo,” said another. “Boo-hoo,” said the rest.

“Children, children, what is the matter?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.

“We’ve nothing to play,” replied one. “There’s nothing to do,” said another. “We can’t play for there’s nothing to do,” said the rest.

“Why don’t you twinkle the stars?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.

“The star lights are all put out,” sobbed one. “The sun is shining and the star lights are out,” sobbed another. “We can’t twinkle the stars when the sun is shining and the star lights are out,” sobbed the rest.

“Why don’t you beat the thunder drums?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.

“The thunder drums are all broken,” sighed one. “We’ve beaten all the thunder out of them,” sighed another. “We can’t beat the thunder drums for the thunder is all beaten out of them,” sighed the rest.

“Why don’t you shake the snow out of the snow sieves?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.

“It won’t shake through the sieve,” said one. “We’ve made the snow into balls,” said another. “We can’t shake the snow through the sieve when its all made into balls,” said the rest.

“Why don’t you roll the snowballs?” asked the fairy mother of the sky.

“Oh, we will!” cried one. “Yes, we will,” cried another. “Of course we will,” said the rest.

Away they ran to the snowball field.

“Let’s throw them,” said one. “Let’s toss them,” said another. “Let’s catch them,” said the rest.

Up and down, this way and that way, back and forth, how the white balls danced and flew!

“Oh, look! They’re falling through the sky floor,” cried one. “They’re all falling through the twinkle holes of the stars,” said another. “They’re falling through the holes down on to the earth,” said the rest.

Illustration for The First Rabbits by Sanchi Ogawa

“Our snowballs all fell through the sky floor.”

Away the snowballs jumped and bobbed. The star children all began to cry again.

Just then the fairy mother of the sky came with a torch to light the star lamps. “Crying again?” she said. “What’s the matter now?”

“Our snowballs all fell through the sky floor,” said one. “They all fell through the twinkle holes of the stars,” said another. “They’ve fallen through the holes down on to the earth,” said the rest.

“You naughty, naughty snowballs,” said the fairy mother of the sky. So she threw her torch after them, but it only scorched their tails and turned them black.

Down on the earth they are hopping still, white balls with their little black tails, and you children call them the rabbits.

Illustration for The First Rabbits by Sanchi Ogawa

From Japanese Fairy Tales, Second Series by Teresa Peirce Williston.
New York, Chicago, San Francisco: Rand, McNally & Company, 1911.

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Nursery tales

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Region of origin:

East AsiaJapan

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