The hare's Bride. | Teen Ink

The hare's Bride.

February 11, 2022
By Anonymous

Author's note:

Inspired by looking through less known Grothers' Grim tales. 

There once was a time when I was a generous ruler among the lands I now burrow. Now my subjects walked over me without a care in the world, unknowing of my double-crossing and how I needed help desperately. I am the hare. I don’t remember my name but I remember my life. 

The garden in which I gather my food holds the love of my life. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s the one to break this dreaded curse upon me. I Wander onto the garden once more. The soft soil molding to my paws as I pull up a large cabbage licking my lips. The ground had started to harden as winter drew near. This was my final chance to feast. I held it close as I heard the cabin door open. Her angelic voice rang out. 

“Shoo shoo! Leave our garden alone Hare!”

I sigh as I look at the love of my life. She is dressed plainly but it compliments her well. I adore it. 

“Please come with me, sit on my tail, and come to my hut!” 

I pleaded desperately wanting to earn her trust to bring her home. The woman in front of me looked repulsed by my offer and scoffed disgustedly 

“No, I will not come to your hut. Now shoo!” 

Her angelic voice faltered into something monsterish as I flinched back, running out the gate of the garden and back to my hut in the heart of the forest. 

Snow began dusting the ground early the next morning. I was quickly running out of time. I ran back to the garden, sneaking past the gate searching for another cabbage or carrot to add to my stock. I pulled a long skinny carrot from the hardening ground. Once more the angels sang.

 “Shoo Shoo, Leave our garden alone Hare!”

I stood on my back paws and pleaded once more 

“Please come with me, sit on my tail, and come to my hut!”

She scoffed once more looking down as if I was a diseased rat. Her voice once again rose with demons as she grabbed a broom from the entryway. 

“No, I will not come to your hut. Now shoo!”

She swung the broom with such force the ground shook as it made an impact. My fur stood on end anxiously. I pulled the carrot along as I ran once more to my hut. 

Tomorrow, tomorrow was the day I made her my bride for my love could not wait. The snow had made a powdered wonderland. Stepping outside I shivered my paws growing numb from the cold snow they traveled on. I ran to the garden, slipping through the gate as ice now blocked my path. My paws stuck to the frozen soil while I searched for yet another cabbage to make the perfect stew. I grab and pull to no avail as the wilting cabbage was frozen like the soil from which it grows. 

The front door creaks open wood splintering as the angels themselves have sent her a final time. 

 “Shoo Shoo, Leave our garden alone Hare!” 

Her voice alone was enough to warm my soul and cold desperation left my body as I walked to her. Leaving the frozen cabbage behind, the stem finally snapped from the ground rolling away. 

“Please come with me, sit on my tail, and come to my hut!”

I pleaded gently, wanting nothing more than some pity to help me through this curse. Accepting the fate that she will repeat her diminishing words of leave now, or being hit by a broom I watch her movements expectantly. She sighed, her shoulders relaxing glaring at me from above.

“Why would I come to your hut? You’re nothing but a rodent.” her tone was bitter as she crossed her arms tapping her foot crossly. 

I gulped softly, standing up to face her firmly. 

“I wish for company and nothing more. I am but a lonely hare, and can hardly cook what I take from these lands.” my voice wavered trying to convince her of the sour lies I spun. My fur stood on end looking down onto the frozen ground, her foot tapping wildly with what I could only assume was anger.  She shifted her posture and kneeled before me pushing back her long wild hair. God, she was gorgeous. 

“Well there's nothing in return for me, is there hare?” she questioned harshly. Lowering my ears I looked back up my words caught on my tongue like glue. 

“I can sew you lovely clothes for you and your mother. It’s the only talent of mine that I still carry from generations upon generations of family.” 

The woman lit up at the idea. Her eyes sparkled with creativity and something I could not decipher yet. 

“Then we must go at once Hare! I’ll sit on your tail and we will go to your hut for this lovely winter.” The woman clapped her hands together and went to grab her coat with a cheerful pep in her step. I grabbed the frozen cabbage from the garden's ground and held it close awaiting her return, hopeful I may finally reunite with my kingdom and love.  

“Please hurry my friend! We have a long while run before the snow grows too harsh for us to bear!” I called out rubbing my paws together to warm them anticipating her return to my side.  She soon returned to the doorway, a velvet blue coat wrapping her figure accenting her beautiful silver hair. The snow fell ever so softly around her. I knew she had to be the one for me. There was no other who could compare to her beauty. 

“Let's make haste dear Hare for the snow is much too harsh for my delicate skin.” 

She glided down to me, her feet never seemingly touching the ground as she took the wilting cabbage from my hands and sat upon my back. Electricity shot through my body as I raced through the forest, my heart pounding. The girl holding onto me for dear life pulled on my fur as if she was going to fall off.  

“Are we almost there?” she called out her voice barely against the now howling winds. I could barely hear her, pumping my legs faster trying to make sure we made it to my hut safely. 

“Nearly! Just a few more minutes and we should be there!” I hoarsely yelled my throat dry from the wind. Pushing forward the snow had made my paws numb and frigid. The woman upon my back shifted, she was shivering against my fur, her coat growing too thin for the blistering cold.

Within the next minute of my mad dash, I could see the lantern light of my home emitting pale warmth around it. I had failed to recognize the one thing I always warned myself to avoid. We were racing to the hut and then the next she screamed and fell into the powdery snow. I had slipped and slammed into the ice below twisting my paw in the motion of trying to catch myself. 

“You stupid rodent! I was already freezing, but now I may as well be ice!” she huffed, wiping off all the snow that had clung to her body soaking into the thin fabric. I froze in time, I had made her upset once more. What kind of husband was I going to be if I couldn't even keep my bride warm and safe? 

“Well, are you going to answer?” she raised her voice growing cross with me, her angelic voice now violently cutting me down from where I stand. 

“I’m– I’m sorry I forgot the ice please. I'll make it up to you in the hut, forgive my lapse of thinking my dear.” I bowed my head and shivered to feel her wet coat sit upon my back. 

“Let's just continue before I make you into a stew for myself.” She scowled, gripping my fur once more, her nails as knives pressing harshly against my skin below. Running once more the limp in my back paw had become noticeable by the end of our journey reaching the front of the hut. Panting heavily I lowered her down from my back allowing her to enter the front door into warmth. Just before I reached the door it slammed back onto my face, the bang ringing in my ears as I fell back into the snow shivering. Dusting off the snow, I reached for the door, sighing, opening it to see the woman rummaging around frantically, looking through shelves and cupboards. 

“What are you doing!” I screamed if my face could glow red, it would rival that of a chili pepper.  She froze in place, choking on her words holding a small pouch close to her chest. 

“Nothing my dear, Hare I thought you were gathering wood for the fire!” she stumbled over her lie looking at me in disbelief. I walked over to her and snatched the pouch out of her hands, opening it and I was frozen in place. All of my valuable golden knick-knacks were stuffed inside some chipped or otherwise shattered now. 

“You broke my precious knick-knacks, how could you, you, you witch!” I faltered over my own words exasperated and set the pouch down pushing her into the kitchen

“Stay in there and cook while I get the wedding planned!” I screamed furious slamming the door shut and locking it behind me huffing and puffing trying to calm down. The woman behind the door wailed and pounded against it, the door shaking violently with each bang of her fist.  

Now came my true planning, pulling out a cauldron and placing it in the middle of the living room. I began to run and grab a bucket and matches. Soon after a knock rings out in the house, my grin is infectious as I open the door to Badger and Buck holding buckets of water. 

 “Please, please come in! Pour the water into the cauldron and we can begin the cooking of the feast.” Chuckling I lead the two in and smile hearing the water slosh in as Buck speaks up softly. 

“Hare, are we sure they won’t escape this time around? We cannot have yet another failure like that.” I scoff glaring at him 

“She thinks it's a wedding and is wailing about it in the kitchen, I'll go fetch some seasoning while you gather more guests and wood for the flames” Turning away from them and making my way to the kitchen her wails have turned to soft sobs the sound of chopping and bubbling coming from the inside. 

“The wedding guests are making merry! I’m coming in to see my beautiful bride!” Cooing and gushing as I opened the door to see her over the stove cooking the cabbages into a stew. She froze once she heard the door shut behind me and didn't so much as breathe in my presence. 

“My dear, what a lovely thing you are cooking, may I have a taste?” Stepping to her side I grabbed spices from the rack and stared at her stirring aimlessly in the pot. She barely lifted the spoon full of boiling soup and offered it to my side. Chuckling, I flick my paw under the spoon and splash her spitefully. 

“You dare offer me an unseasoned stew, you wench? Season it, for when I return I'll ask once more to let me taste it.” Stepping down from the chair, I went to the door opened it and silently closed it behind me. The soft click of the lock was heard after. Carrying the spices to the cauldron I open the meek bags and empty each spice into the bubbling water below, steam filling the room with the aroma of rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic. Badger was sitting on a chair fanning the flames below the Fireplace. 

“Where’s Buck?” I comment quizzically, stirring the pot to mix the spices of our harvest rhythmically. 

“Gathering Wolf and Doe, as far as I’m aware Hare.” He sighed thoughtfully and kept fanning the flames licking the edges of the fan now. 

“Grand now we will add what my Bride to be’s stew in here for a final touch before she goes in herself, can you believe I offered her grand gala dresses and she steals and lies!? I almost felt bad for picking her!” Scoffing and stirring more vigorously, my paw tapped the stool beneath me angrily trying to avoid spilling the boiling soup. 

“What did you expect from your peasants Hare? They haven’t had guidance in years and now we will finally return stronger than ever. You chose perfectly for tonight, for the animals will take back over.” Badger hummed as Buck entered the hut following behind him was a matted scarred wolf and a skinny shivering doe who one could see her ribcage from afar from how starving the poor thing was. 

“Welcome one and all to the feast of a lifetime!” I step down and go to greet our new companions grinning like a fool in court. Shaking wolf's paws, they stare at me silently. The pads of the paw are rough and calloused. Claws nicked my wrist causing me to pull away and smile politely through the pain. Doe finally spoke up and hoarsely spoke.

“Will I finally see a doctor Hare? I need help more than this silly ritual.” She coughed and sat down lowering her head sickly.  Her frail body shivered as they all gathered around and looked at the kitchen door hearing nothing but silence now. I gently pat Doe’s shoulder and move to the kitchen door. 

“I’ll grab the stew to throw into the pot, get ready to capture the girl, and let the feast begin.” Jumping to the door, I unlock it with a swift movement and swing the door open cheerfully to ease what she might be feeling.

“Darling dearest have you seasoned the stew? The wedding guests are starving for your cooking” I coo softly as I step closer to her. The woman seemed to be still and silent, hardly stirring the stew at all. 

“Darling. Answer me.” I growled now grabbing the back of her coat threatening to rip it off. Nothing. 

“Darling! Don’t be so skittish we have guests to please!” I yelled and pulled the coat off revealing nothing but a pile of deformed hay. 

“That wench! She tricked us!”  I yell furiously and grip my ears pulling them down to my face screaming out in fury. Stomping out into the living room I stare at the guests I had so eagerly brung. Staring down Doe I knew what had to be done. 

“Throw her in” pointing at the sickly deer knowing it was our final resort to maintain the kingdom I had so desperately fought for. The crowd before me stared in shock, my fur raised on its hackles and I was reaching my final straw. 

“I said to throw her in!” Screaming I waited no longer before going to grab Doe myself. Struggling to hold the fragile deer in my arms running to the cauldron to throw her in my paws slipping as I tried to climb up the chair. 

The crowd did nothing, Buck was silently crying as I held Doe above the pot and dropped her down into the boiling soup below. Badger had gone pale and looked sickly hearing the water bubble furiously around her. Wolf, was silent never moving as they usually were. 

A sudden flash of light blinded us all falling from the chair I slammed into the hardwood flooring. Soon we all felt the magic warming our bodies. The transformation back had worked even with the wrong ingredients. I hollered joyfully standing as I grew more human by the second.  Yet as soon it had started it had ended we looked among ourselves and realized something had gone wrong. Our animal heads had stayed with us to show us what we had become. Badger now represented destruction. Her body was dressed in golden silks yet something was just wrong, making her pull and tear on it destroying the beauty she wore. Wolf had become wrath dressed in chainmail and held a sword in his hand testing the sharpness of the blade by running his finger along the edge. Buck became pride dressed in royal blue garbs admiring himself in my old mirror flashing his figure and antlers to everyone in the room. But what did that make me? It hadn’t clicked in myself yet as I  stood brushing off the dust of the floor sighing as my body felt heavy and sour, my stomach twisting into knots like I was caught in the act of thievery and lying. Guilt washed over me weighing me down as if I was crushed by an elephant. My hands flew to my face feeling the soft fur and muzzle remaining. Tears welled in my eyes as I began to sob, everything I had done had amounted to nothing and I was a diseased rodent as the women called me before, cursed, diseased, and doomed to close off from society from which I can never enter again. 

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