The Hare, The Moon and the Hunter in Emynea | World Anvil

The Hare, The Moon and the Hunter

A Saan folktale about the deities Kho (Sylthari), Heitsi (Banalkar), Ganeb (Zalikar) and Kaggen (Lithmor) and their interactions with a Saan tribe.

Every year, Kaggen, Ganeb and Kho walk among the Saan together and the different tribes present them with gifts and music to show their gratitude. One year, a ǂKhomani tribe had very little to offer. Kaggen smiled on them despite their meager gifts, trying their best in her eyes despite how little they had. But Ganeb sees the sadness in her eyes and mistakes it for disappointment. When Kaggen turns away to leave, he levels a nasty look on them before following after her. She may not have seen this but Kho had. Later that evening, Ganeb catches Kho trying to sneak out.

"Where are you going, little rabbit?" Ganeb asks her, Kho freezing up.

"I... I dropped something in the village!" Kho stammers, unable to meet his eyes.

"You are a terrible liar!" Ganeb laughs, drawing out a pout from his daughter, "Nothing good will come of you returning there."

"I saw you curse them!" Kho bursts with a glare, earning the smallest smile, "They were trying so hard, I'm going to help them!"

"No," Ganeb states simply, his smile dropping away, "I forbid it. They are getting what they deserve, these men are more wicked than you know. Now, let's go back inside. Heitsi has caught an eland and your mother is eager to roast it!"

Throughout the meal, Heitsi is always grinning at Kho. It was no secret that he was in love with her, always bringing them gifts to try and win her heart. But she knew her father didn't approve of him. Despite this, this time Kho passes him a note asking him to meet her once her father has fallen asleep. Eager but patient, Heitsi does as she asks, waiting for Ganeb to fall asleep before sneaking into Kho's hut.

"You must like eland as much as your mother!" Heitsi teases as he steps inside but Kho only rolls her eyes at him.

"That's not why I asked you to meet me!' Kho rebuffs him, "I want to sneak out. Can you make me into a beast?"

"Why are you sneaking," Heitsi responds, his eyes going wide, "Are you seeing another man?"

Kho huffs and crosses her arms but Heitsi does the same. She relents, telling him what had happened.

"I want to see how he cursed them," Kho states when she is finished.

Finally Heitsi agrees, giving her the ability to turn herself into a beast for the night. Kho takes the form of a rabbit and hops her way to the village, Heitsi following her from a distance and watching over her.

by Lee Stepp

When she arrives, everything is quiet. Not a baby cries or a jackal calls in the night. She hops from hut to hut, finding everyone deathly still and asleep.

Kho kicks and bites at the villagers but no one will rouse and she understands how her father had cursed them. He had given them a death-like sleep, a nightmare plague. But she is not deterred, she knows it isn't permanent and that she can help them. She approaches an old woman, so still and cold, and presses her nose to her forehead. But before she is finished, a young hunter returns with his kill dangling over his shoulder. His eyes widen onto Kho and his mother, dropping everything and rushing over.

"You have killed her!" he claims, dropping to his knees beside her.

"She is not dead!" Kho assures him, "She is only sleeping. I can wake her!"

"No, she is dead!" he cries, her skin cold and clammy to the touch, "You have done this!" he looks on her with anger in his eyes and she presses herself to the ground, "Ganeb has sent you to cast spells on us!"

The man takes up his club and whacks Kho over the head with it, leaving a dent in her skull and breaking Heitsi's spell on her. As she becomes herself again the man immediately realizes his mistake. In her fury, Kho strikes him back and splits his lip. Heitsi storms into the hut as he senses his spell fade, ripping it apart with his claws before grabbing up the man by his neck.

"How dare you!" Heitsi roars, spotting Kho's bloodied face, "She came here to break the curse but you contradict her and attack her? I will curse you and all of your people! "

"Wait!" Kho insists, wiping the blood from her face, "You cannot curse all of them because of one man!"

"Look again, Kho," Heitsi insists, "He is a skilled hunter, fat and healthy like the rest. They have deceived you together!"

Kho looks more carefully. While the village outside appears barren, this hut is filled with bags of dried meat and skins. The man and his mother are also well fed and Kho understands. The villagers had only pretended to struggle hiding away the man who had fed them so well and any signs of their bounty.

"My father was right..." Kho husks, "You and your people are wicked and greedy! You take more than you need and keep it all to yourself. We will both curse you!" She pauses to consider, her eyes landing on his split lip.

by Lee Stepp

"From this day, your lip will always be split and you will carry the form of the Hare!" she announces, Heitsi weaving her declaration into his spell, "For when the moon is full, a hare all of you shall be in body and mind! You shall bound away and double back, great cats and wily dogs chasing you, and when they catch you they will shred you to pieces. For during these nights all beasts will know the greed in your hearts!"

To this day, because of this curse, all those of the ǂKhomani tribe possess the form of a hare and fully transform into beasts on full moon nights. Predators will chase them throughout the evening yet they still persist, marked forever by their split lips.

by Lee Stepp


Author's Notes

Based on actual San myths! Adapted to how the Saan have interacted with and viewed the elements. Hopefully I kept to the spirit of the myths enough, tried to keep the tone similar so the language is very simple. Let me know what you think!

Please Login in order to comment!
Oct 8, 2023 03:39

I think you've done it well, it does sound like a myth or a folk tale.

Oct 10, 2023 11:32 by Lee Stepp

That's a relief to hear! I didn't want to imitate the wording of the original myths too much but I also had to alter my own style of writing quite a bit.

Oct 28, 2023 02:36 by Jacqueline Yang

I quite liked it, and I agree with Kat008 it does sound like a folk tale. Something parents would tell their kids at night, you know?   "Don't be greedy or the gods will curse you and you'll be turned into a rabbit."

Oct 28, 2023 13:15 by Lee Stepp

I'm glad it came across right then!