By Rafe Martin and Ed Young
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1985
Rabbit is sitting under an apple tree, and as he is sitting there, he is thinking about the possibility of the earth breaking up. When he hears a sudden sound behind him, he thinks the worst, and bolts off at a dead run, certain that the earth is indeed breaking apart. He never verifies what the sound was, and he runs, panicked, as fast as he can. Other animals along the way wonder why he is running, and he tells them that the earth is breaking apart. Soon, there are half a dozen animals running and yelling through the woods. It is not until a lion stops them (and saves them from certain death from running headlong over a cliff) and makes them use common sense, that they realize how foolish they had been. All the animals go back to see that what had scared the rabbit so much was nothing more than a falling apple.
This story is an example of a Jataka, or one of Buddha’s early birth stories. It is also one of the earliest types of “the sky is falling” stories. Good for looking at Eastern legends. A nice intro to 12th grade world literature, as well as great for young children when looking at classic fairy tales.
Includes an introduction to the Buddhist rebirth story concept as well as the fairy tale connections.
Accessed: Augusta County Library