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China: The Legend of the Jade Rabbit

China: The Legend of the Jade Rabbit

The Legend of the Jade Rabbit, one of the most charming of international tales, belongs to the traditional Mid-Autumn Chinese Moon Festival. When the full moon rises, families gather to eat “moon cakes” and read stories and poems about the legends of the moon. An engaging and enlightening morality tale for children, The Legend of the Jade Rabbit tells the story of the rabbit in the moon:

Three magical wise men decide to test the character of a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The men turn themselves into desperate old beggars and ask the fox, the monkey and the rabbit for food. While the fox and the monkey have food to spare, they refuse to share. But the helpful and generous rabbit, who has nothing to give, volunteers his own tasty self by leaping into a burning campfire to roast himself for their dinner. The men, who are not actually hungry, are overwhelmed by rabbit’s self-sacrifice and generosity and grant him immortal life, sending him to live on the moon in the palace as Jade Rabbit.