Sunday, 6 May 2012

#RELIGION The White Rabbit of Inaba #RABBIT #OTB


The White Rabbit of Inaba

While he was yet a young man, Okuninushi was not liked by his brothers, and treated as a slave. This was too bad, since Okuninushi was a kind and gentle person. Let's look at the legend of, "The White Rabbit of Inaba." In those days, a story of a lovely princess of Inaba, named Yakami, was being spread around the country. The brothers of Okuninushi thought they would go, and one of them would be chosen to marry her. They ordered Okuninushi to get ready, and then set off on the journey, with him carrying all the baggage.

On the way to Inaba, the brothers met a white rabbit who was suffering terribly from having his skin torn off. The brothers thought this was a comical situation, so they told the rabbit to wash off in salt water, and lie on top of a hill to heal himself. The rabbit did as it was told, and was soon suffering more than before, as his skin cracked and bled. This was the situation that met the eyes of Okuninushi when he came along later. With so much baggage to carry, he could not move fast. The rabbit was crying, and shedding great tears at his terrible pain. Okuninushi asked him what had happened.

The rabbit told Okuninushi that he had been living on Oki Island, and had wanted to see the Princess Yakami, so he had told a wani (shark)* that he thought his family was not as numerous as that of the rabbit's family. The wani disagreed, so the rabbit told the wani to have his family line up from Oki Island to the shore of Inaba, and he would count them. The wani thought this was a good idea, so he did as the rabbit directed, and lined up his whole family from Oki Island to the shore of Inaba. The rabbit then ran gleefully across the backs of the wani to the other shore. Unable to resist the temptation, he laughingly told the wani that he had tricked them, and they were really foolish! The wani were understandably shocked and angered at his trick, and before he could escape, they caught him and tore off his skin!

As a result, he was in great pain, and asked Okuninushi for help. Okuninushi told the rabbit to wash off in fresh water, and roll in the seeds of a cattail reed. The rabbit did so, and was cured. He was so grateful to Okuninushi that he told him his brothers would never win the hand of the Princess Yakami, but she would choose Okuninushi to be her husband. This happened as the rabbit had said, and Okuninushi married the Princess Yakami. There is a statue on the left of the entrance to Izumo Taisha Shrine, that shows the scene of the rabbit telling Okuninushi's fortune.

*Wani, is "shark" in this legend. In reality, however, in Japanese, it means "crocodile." I believe that wani is really crocodile, and that real, ocean-going crocodiles existed in the Japan Sea in those ancient days. They still exist in the South Pacific. At that time, the weather must have been much different. In recent history, whales and other arctic animals have visited this area. These days, neither of these events happens any more. The stories still exist in legend, however."  

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