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Main > Scotland folktales > Fairy tale "The Beekeeper & the Bewitched Hare"

The Beekeeper & the Bewitched Hare

"Surely the woman was a witch," said the baker, arranging his bread, potato scones and meat pies into neat rows. "Take my word for it, you'd better be careful."

"Aye," agreed the seller of sweaters and kilts on his other side. "She's a witch, no doubt about it."

But the lad thought, "Then again, these two often think people are witches, and it could have been just a strange happenstance." Still, just in case, that night he barred his windows and locked his doors. From then on, he kept a close eye on his hare at all times.

The summer passed. By the time frost lay on the ground in the morning, few flowers, and very few bees, remained out in the cold air. Most of the bees had already retreated to the hives where they began their cold weather work of keeping the hive warm enough for their queen to lay her eggs.

One chilly October morning the lad was setting trays of sugar water inside the beehives when a gypsy caravan rolled by on its way southward. He waved to the driver and a young gypsy man waved back. Much later, the lad noticed a sack of grain lying in the road just past the gate.

"Ooch, it must have dropped from the gypsy van! They'll never know it's missing till they set up camp tonight, and by then it'll be too dark to come back looking for it." So the lad hoisted the sack onto his cart and took off, following the tracks that the gypsy van had dug behind in the earth.

In an hour or so he caught up with them. He hailed them and when they stopped, he handed the young gypsy driver the sack of grain.

"Do you mean to tell me you followed us all this way to return a sack of grain? Most folks are more than glad for us to go, and to never see us again."

"Why shouldn't I bring it back to you?" said he. "Else I'd have to think about your poor horses missing their dinner tonight."

Just then the hare poked its head out from under the beekeeper's jacket.

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