The Owl and the Hare

By Leo Tolstoy

It was dusk. The owls began to fly through the forest to find some prey.

A large hare leaped out on a clearing and began to smooth out his fur. An old owl looked at the hare, and seated himself on a branch; but a young owl said to him:

“Why do you not catch the hare?”

The old owl said:

“He is too much for me: if I get caught in him, he will drag me into the woods.”

But the young owl said:

“I will stick one claw into his body, and with the other I will clutch a tree.”

The young owl made for the hare, and stuck one claw into his back so that all his talons entered the flesh, and the other claw it got ready to push into the tree. The hare yanked the owl, while the owl held on to the tree, and thought, “He will not get away.” The hare darted forward and tore the owl. One claw was left in the tree, and the other in the hare’s back.

The next year a hunter killed that hare, and wondered how the owl’s talons had grown into the hare’s back.

From The Complete Works of Count Tolstóy, by Count Lev N. Tolstóy
Boston: Dana Estes & Company, 1904.

Short stories

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