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

The Beekeeper & the Bewitched Hare

"And what is that?" said the gypsy lad. "A blue-eyed hare?"

"Yes," he said with pride. "She's a special one, she is."

"More than special, I'd say," said the gypsy fellow. "Grandma!" he called inside the van. "I want to show you something."

An old woman with a bright headscarf, long pleated skirt and puffed white blouse stepped out of the van. "Now what do you think of that?" said the gypsy man, nodding toward the hare.

"Oh my!" said the grandmother.

"It's only a hare," said the beekeeper.

"Not at all." The old woman shook her head.

"What else could she be?"

"Tis a lassie," the grandmother whispered. "A lassie who's been bewitched!"

The beekeeper gasped. Then he spilled out his story. He told them both about the two dogs who chased the hare across his moor, the strange old woman who had tried to grab her, the bees who forced the witch away, and what his friends at the marketplace had said about the old woman.

"Your friends are right," said the grandmother firmly, "That woman was a witch and no doubt the very one who bewitched the lassie. One thing you can count on, she will come back for the lassie. She's biding her time, that she is."

"What is she waiting for?"

"All Hallow's Eve, I suspect," said the grandmother. "She knows the bees will all be back in their hives by then. But most important to her, that's the one day of the year when the magic of witches is the strongest."

"What can I do?" he said, alarmed.

"Tell me, did you say you can talk to the bees?"

"Not exactly talk�"

"Hmmm, however you talk to them, you may need their help. When you go home, explain to them that the witch may return. Before the sun sets on All Hallow's Eve, tie a good strong cord around the hare's neck and keep her on your lap till past midnight.

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