The Tale of the Wylde Hare
Written 2013 in “Tail Rhyme,” a common 14th Century Narrative meter.
1. One afternoon in Autumn fine
when grapes are ripe upon the vine
and all the leaves are fair,
a hunter came all clad in brown
with glaring eyes and lips in a frown—
his aim to hunt the hare.
By a warren’s burrow he stooped and placed
a carrot, then to a tree he raced
and readied his sword with care;
but the rabbit grabbed the lure so fast
the hunter’s sword but by it passed
and struck at only air
2. The hunter howled in anger bright
and stabbed the hole with all his might
to pierce his furry foe.
As he pulled the blade for another attack,
a hand in the hole then yanked it back…
the sword went to and fro!
Back and forth the weapon went
again and again ‘till the blade was bent
and knotted like a bow.
The hunter cast his sword away
and dug at the hole that held his prey,
who surely lurked below.
3. From a different hole emerged the hare –
tall it was, with fur quite fair
one may call it cute,
but still it had a wicked smile
and eyes that gleamed with mirth and guile
and mischief none refute.
The rabbit strolled behind the man
a carrot in its furry hand,
messily chewing the root.
“What passes, man?” the hare inquired;
the hunter ceased his digging, tired
and spied the beast hirsute.
4. “Be very quiet friend,” he said,
“A coney down this hole has fled
I’m hunting it to dine.”
The hare asked “Coney? What do you mean?”
“A rabbit! With ears long and keen!”
“Oh? You mean like mine?”
“Aye” the hunter stated, “right…
and fluffy tail that’s soft and white!”
“Why, I have one so fine!”
“Indeed… and conies, I have found,
“Will hop and leap and jump around
when they are not confined.”
5. The rabbit asked, “Like I do now?”
and hopped about, the hunter’s brow
furrowed deep in thought.
He said, “I think that it may be
a coney’s here in front of me.”
The rabbit stopped on the spot,
it leaned in close and whispered low
“In confidence I’ll let you know,
if you will share it not…”
The hare to hunter’s ear had eased,
and yelled, “I am a coney!” then seized
and kissed him on the spot!
6 .The hunter wiped his mouth and face
while back to its hole the rabbit raced
and seek its shelter there.
The hunter set a clever trap
a box with a stick to hold a gap
attached to lure and snare.
He shouted “Carrots - fresh and free!”
Then waited behind a chestnut tree
for hunger to betray the hare.
He heard a sound - his prey was caught!
He lifted the box, with fingers sought,
and grabbed the beast that was there.
7. The hunter held his catch with care
and started home, but spied the hare
leaned against a tree
He walked over, boasting loud
“I’ve got you now! You’re not endowed
with more of wit than me!
You found a man you can’t outsmart…”
But then the hunter thought with a start
“If the rabbit’s by that tree
Then what is this I have in my grasp?”
He looked to his hands and gave a gasp
while the rabbit watched with glee
8. He saw the skunk his hands had held
and not just saw, but also smelled –
this was what he’d caught.
He gently lowered down and pushed
the unwanted beast toward a bush
but the rabbit hatched its plot
The hare behind the hunter drew
and a shawm with all its might it blew
the skunk then loosed its lot!
At this the hunter’s will just broke
“Coneys, carrots, traps!” he spoke,
and homeward went, distraught.
The bunny watched as the hunter fled
it ate a carrot, and softly said
“A stinker am I not?”
© Dan Marsh