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

The Beekeeper & the Bewitched Hare

Do you think this will be easy? When she's under the power of the witch's spell, she may pull and jump with a power that will shock you, but you must hold her tight. If the bees can help, all the better." The old woman took a deep breath and looked at him with her old watery eyes. "That's all I can tell you. Other than this, what will be, will be."

When the lad returned to his cottage, he carried the hare from hive to hive, repeating what the old gypsy woman had said. On the one hand, he felt a bit silly explaining all of this to a mass of bees. Yet by their collective sounds they seemed to murmur in understanding, as a person would do who was listening to someone else. And when the lad stepped away he sensed a building excitement from within the hive.

On All Hallow's Eve, the beekeeper tied a strong cord around the hare's neck and set her on his lap. There she stayed contentedly until the darkness settled so thickly that he could only see the profile of her white fur. Then suddenly the hare lurched so powerfully that he could barely contain her. She twisted with such might it was all he could do to keep her from sliding out of his hands. Just as she started to wriggle free, he heard a hum that meant his bees were encircling them. Closer and thicker came the bees, forming a tall and deep surround. The hare jerked her ears and twitched her nose. She flitted on his lap and hopped about but no longer tried to escape. Finally the hare settled down once more.

And then - the marvel of it! No longer was a white, blue-eyed hare on his lap, but a bonnie blue-eyed lassie! Quickly he removed the cord from around her neck. They laughed at the wonder of it, they did not know what to think! But as morning dawned, the bees were back in their hives, the geese were winging over the moor, and the lad and his lassie were in the cottage, making plans to marry.

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