The White Hare of Inaba

In Japan there is a folktale about eighty brothers who set out to visit a princess to seek her hand in marriage. On the way they met an injured rabbit who had been skinned by some crocodiles after he tricked them into helping him cross over the sea.

'Okuninushi no Mikoto, the White Hare of Inaba, and the Crocodiles' - Katsushika Hokusai.

The poor rabbit was begging for help. All the brothers were cruel, and told the rabbit to bathe in salt water, which of course left him in more pain. The youngest brother, Okuninushi, was gentle-hearted and helped the rabbit by suggesting a soothing balm to relieve his pain.

From 'Japanese Fairy Tale Series - Hare of Inaba.'
Some say that the rabbit may actually have been a god in disguise. In the end Okuninushi reached the palace and it turned out that he was the brother who the princess chose to marry. He himself was later to be worshipped as a god throughout Japan.

'The Hare of Inaba & Onamuchi-no-kami at Hakuto Shrine in Tottori' via Wikipedia.
You can read the full story from The Japanese Fairy Book here. The illustrations below are also from The Japanese Fairy Book.

The Japanese Fairy Book
The Japanese Fairy Book

Shinto Cocoro
 
 
 
From 'Japanese Fairy Tale Series - Hare of Inaba.'
 
'Okuninushi no Mikoto, the White Hare of Inaba, and the Crocodiles' - Katsushika Hokusai.

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