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The Beekeeper & the Bewitched Hare

The next morning he took the hare to the hives to introduce her to his bees. He knew that changes in their environment can alarm bees, and he didn't want the presence of the hare to unsettle them. So he held out the hare for them to inspect, then set her down close to his feet. The bees dipped down and spun around her face but she didn't seem to mind. After they satisfied their curiosity and returned to their hive, he took the hare to the next beehive for another round of introductions.

One afternoon a few weeks later, the lad noticed an old woman ambling along the track across the moor. Thinking he might sell her a fine comb of honey, he met her at the gate. Before he could speak, however, she pointed to the hare, who was peering out from behind a heather shrub.

"You don't see that every day," said she with a crooked smile. "A blue-eyed hare."

"Indeed," said the lad, turning to admire his pet.

"What do you want for her?" said the old woman said.

"She's not for sale."

"Surely you have your price. Now look at this bonnie piece of gold. It's not every day a lad is offered a piece of gold for a common hare, is it?"

"She's not common, and she's not for sale," frowned the beekeeper.

At once the old woman, whom the lad had thought much too old for such friskiness, sprung over to grab her. A bee hovering nearby gave a loud shrill, a sound that surprised the old woman and apparently alerted other bees. In moments a dark swarm had gathered and rushed to attack the old woman.

"Eek!" she cried, spinning around and running away. "You'll be sorry you didn't hand over the worthless hare when you could!"

The next day at the marketplace, when he was selling his honey, the beekeeper shared what had happened with the baker who tended the stall next to his.

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