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Translated by Fainna Solasko
Illustrated by Y.Rachov
A Mansi Story
When the birds and the beasts first appeared in the forest Moose, a large animal, was their chief. One day Moose and his wife were talking in a clearing. Hare was hopping by just then. He heard them speaking and stopped.
"I want to hear what they're saying," Hare said to himself, crept up close, hid behind a stump and began eavesdropping.
"I've all these horns and antlers," Moose was saying, "and I've got to hand them out, but there aren't enough to go around. So I've got to decide which animals will get them."
"I'd like a pair," Hare said to himself. "And why shouldn't I have some? I'm as good as anybody else."
"Whom should I give these antlers to?" Moose asked his wife.
Just as Hare was about to speak up, she replied,
"Give them to Deer, They'll protect him."
"All right. And what about these big horns?"
Before Moose's wife had a chance to say anything, Hare popped out from behind the stump and shouted,
"Give them to me, Moose!"
"Why, my little friend, you don't want these big horns. What'll you do with them?" Moose said.
"I certainly do need them! I'll scare all the other animals. Everybody'll be afraid of me."
"All right. Here you are," Moose said and placed the horns on Hare's head.
Hare hopped and skipped with joy. All of a sudden a large cedar cone hit him on the head. He leaped into the air and wanted to streak off, but couldn't. His long horns had gotten tangled in the underbrush. Hare couldn't work himself free and squealed in a terrified voice.
Moose and his wife burst out laughing.
"Well, my little friend, I see you're quite a coward. Even the biggest horns won't help a coward. I'll give you a pair of long ears instead, so that everyone'll know you like to eavesdrop."
That was when Hare lost his horns and grew a pair of very long ears instead.
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