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The Rabbit and the Jaguar

The Rabbit and the Jaguar
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The Rabbit and the Jaguar

A Mexican folk tale told by David Heathfield


There lived once, an old man and an old woman. And all they had in the world was one rabbit and one jaguar.

They kept the rabbit in a cage.

One day, the Jaguar came to the cage: ‘Oh, Rabbit..? Conejo..? The old man and the old woman are preparing a pan of hot water. They are going to boil you. They are going to eat you. They are going to give some to me.’  

‘Oh no,’ said Conejo. ‘No indeed. They are going to make hot chocolate. And if you come in the cage with me, they will bring some for you, Jaguar.’

Jaguar opened the door of the cage and slinked inside. With a hop and a skip, Rabbit was out of the cage and away through the door of the house.

JaguarJaguar waited there, and waited there, and waited there some more...

‘I’ve been tricked! There is no hot chocolate!’

Jaguar leapt out of the cage and out through the door, and through the forest he went looking for where Conejo had gone. He went through the forest until he came to the mountain. And there in the side of the mountain was a cave. Inside the cave, there was Conejo.

‘You tricked me! You, Conejo!’

‘Who, I?’ said Conejo. ‘You must be talking about some other rabbit. I am making my house here. But see how I am holding up the walls? If I do not hold them up, they will fall down. I must go and find a stick to prop up the walls. Jaguar, would you not help me by putting your paws against the wall of my house?’

Jaguar slinked into the cave and put his strong paws against the wall of the cave.

With a hop and a skip, Conejo was out of the cave and away into the forest.

Jaguar waited there, and waited there, and waited there some more.

He waited there, and he waited there, longer than before...

‘I’ve been tricked!’

Jaguar leapt out of the cave and away through the forest, looking for Conejo. He could not find him.

He stopped and listened. He could hear Conejo laughing - ‘ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee!’ - at how he had tricked Jaguar.

Jaguar crept closer and spied Conejo. He was hanging from an elastic vine, bouncing up and down, laughing with glee.

Jaguar prepared to pounce...

He leapt through the air and landed with his paws upon Conejo, pressing him down to the ground. But Conejo he wriggled and wriggled, and between Jaguar’s paws he squeezed and popped with the spring of the elastic flying high into the air – high, high into the sky he flew, until Conejo landed on the moon. And there Conejo remains: lying on his back on the moon. And they say, in Mayan culture, that if you gaze up at the moon when it is full and red, you see Conejo there still, lying on his back and laughing at how he tricked Jaguar.

The Rabbit and the Jaguar
Find out more
about the contributors

The Rabbit and the Jaguar

A Mexican folk tale told by David Heathfield


Había una vez una pareja mayor. Las únicas cosas que tenían en el mundo entero eran un conejo y un jaguar. Guardaban el conejo en una jaula. Un día, el jaguar se acercó a la jaula y dijo:

¡Oh conejo, conejo! Estan preparando una cazuela llena de agua caliente. Van a ponerte dentro ella para cocerte y van a compartirte conmigo.

Oh no, dijo el conejo, no es cierto. Preparan chocolate caliente y si entras en la jaula conmigo, señor jaguar, te darán una taza.

El jaguar abrió la puerta de la jaula y entró. De un salto, el conejo se escapó de la jaula y salió por la puerta de la casa.

El jaguar esperaba y esperaba y luego esperó unos minutos más.

JaguarMe ha engañado – no hay chocolate caliente!

El jaguar salió de la jaula, corrió por la puerta y fue al bosque para buscar al conejo.

Marchó por el bosque hasta llegar a una montaña. En el lado de la montaña había una cueva y dentro de la cueva estaba el conejo.

!Conejo – me engañaste!

¿Yo? Dijo el conejo. Yo non, te refieres a otro conejo. Estoy construyendo una casa aquí. ¿Pero ves como tengo que apoyar las paredes? Si no las apoyo van a derrumbarse. Tengo que buscar un palo para apoyarlas. Por favor  ayudame señor jaguar y pon tus patas contra las paredes de mi casa.

El jaguar entró en la cueva y puso sus fuertes patas contra las paredes. De un salto, el conejo se escapó de la cueva y corrió por el bosque.

El jaguar esperaba y esperaba y luego esperó unos minutos más. Y más que antes. Esperó allí, esperó allí y esperó allí más.

¡Me ha engañado!

El jaguar saltó de la cueva y corrió por el bosque buscando el conejo sin éxito. Luego se paró y escucho.

Oyó las risas del conejo:

¡Ja, ja, ja, ja!

El conejo se reía de cómo se había engañado al jaguar.

El jaguar se acercó más cerca y vió el conejo suspendido de una viña elástica, rebotando en ella riéndose a carcajadas.

El jaguar se preparó para lanzarse. Saltó por el aire y aterrizó con sus patas sobre el conejo aplastándolo en la tierra. Pero el conejo culebreó y culebreó y logró a librarse por las patas del jaguar y con un pum voló arriba en el aire en la viña elástica. Voló más alto y más alto en el cielo hasta que aterrizó en la luna.

Y queda allí todavía, acostado en la luna. Y según las cultura maya, si miras las luna cuando está llena y roja, ves todavía el conejo acostado en la luna y riéndose de como engañó al jaguar.

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