By Paul Hong
John and Jane were afraid of rabbits that roamed in the surrounding neighbourhoods. One day, galvanised by an article they read in the paper, they discussed the problem and tried to find a way to live happily without this nagging fear. After much discussion, they came to an agreement to go shopping at Ikea.
A few days later, nothing had been solved. They decided to dig pits here and there to trap the rabbits. John and Jane called several of their friends and family members to come help dig deep pits around their house. Afterwards, they gathered in the backyard for a barbecue dinner.
One day, a traveller was passing through the neighbourhood and heard funny sounds nearby. He approached the area where the sounds were coming from and found a rabbit that was trapped in a pit, trying to hop out.
Seeing the traveller, the rabbit begged for help: “Please, help me out of this trap, and I will never forget your kindness.” The traveller got a golden retriever from the next door neighbour’s yard and, holding onto its hind legs, lowered it into the pit. The rabbit climbed out.
As soon as the rabbit was out of the trap, he said to the traveller: “I am grateful for your help, but because you people made the trap to catch me, I will have to kill you.”
The traveller was speechless and frightened. Mustering all his courage, he said: “Wait a minute, Mr. Rabbit. It would be unfair to kill me considering that I just saved your life. We should at least ask a few impartial parties to judge who is right.” The rabbit reluctantly agreed and both of them went to a hobo who lived in a shipping crate nearby.
After listening to their story, the hobo said: “It is the fault of the rich. We, hobos, also have a grudge against the rich. They ride us to work and then they leave us to starve and shiver in the cold. Talk about unfair!”
“Are you rich?” the rabbit asked.
The traveller lowered his head.
Next, they went to Mr. Pong. Mr. Pong listened to their story silently and said: “John and Jane are wrong. They come in here all the time complaining about the price of cigarettes and dog food and they always call me ‘Chief.’ What have I done to them to deserve that? I am just trying to make a living. They have no heart!”
The rabbit had heard enough. The rabbit was elated, and about to attack the traveller, when a pig approached.
“Phew, you’re just in time. Mr. Pig, please judge our case,” said the traveller, and he told the pig what had happened.
The pig said: “Fine, but before I make any sort of judgement, I must see the original scene.”
So the traveller, the rabbit and the pig all went to the pit where the rabbit had been trapped.
The pig said to the rabbit: “I must see exactly how you were before this traveller rescued you. Where exactly were you?”
Eager to show where he was, the rabbit jumped into the pit.
“Was that dog in the pit when you fell into it, Mr. Rabbit?” the pig asked.
“No, it was not.”
The pig and the traveller lifted the dog out of the pit.
“Was that fast food delivery man in the pit when you fell into it, Mr. Rabbit?” the pig asked.
The pig and the traveller lifted the delivery man out of the pitfall.
“Was that nanny in the pit when you fell into it, Mr. Rabbit?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
The pig and the traveller lifted the nanny out of the pitfall. Then the pig said to the traveller: “Mr. Man, be on your way.” And, with that, the pig left too.
Paul Hong is adapted from a folktale.