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This is a story that explains why people see a shadow of a rabbit when they look up at the moon.
The rabbit is pounding on a dough making rice cake.
The original story was written somewhere in the 12th. century, when Buddhism were beginning
to spread among the ordinary people.The title of the collection is "Konjaku Monogatari"and
it contains more than one thousand short stories that are based on Buddhism and morality.

 A long time ago in a far distant land there lived a rabbit, a fox and a monkey
who believed that they had sinned in their former lives, and so were born as
animal beings.
They gathered one day, and promised to be good and to love one another as
brothers, so that they could recompensate for their sins.
 Taishakuten, one of the deities in the land of gods, looked down at those animals
and thought: "I can't hardly believe them! These days the world is full of human
beings who kill, rob, and hate one another even though they are brothers and sisters,
and they don't even realize that what they do is wrong. How could animals be regretful
and wanting to pay for their sins? How could they even be aware of it?"
 Taishakuten changed himself into a weak old man, and descended to the land where
the three animals were.
He laid himself down on the road, pretending to be sick, and dying.
Soon the three animals passed by, and the old man said in a frail voice: "Help me,
please. I'm old and weak, and too exhausted to continue my journey. I don't have
anybody to take care of me, and I don't have any food or water left."
The animals were so eager to help the old man, this was their first opportunity to
prove their good will!
 The monkey ran away to the forest, collected fruits from the trees, picked up a
variety of vegetables from the fields and carried them to the sick old man.
The fox went to the graveyard, and took some of the offerings the people left there
for the dead. He brought back rice cakes, fishes, and drinks.
The rabbit looked for food everywhere, but couldn't find any, and came back with
nothing to offer. He was so ashamed : "I tried everywhere, but it was all in vain.
Wherever I went, I had to keep away from the hunters, and the children who saw
me tried to catch and bully me."
He thought for a while, then he came back to where the old man was.
He saw the monkey and the fox sitting proudly before the old man who still looked
weak and pale.
 The rabbit approached them and said :"I'll go away to find some more food, meanwhile
collect some twigs ,make a fire and wait for me."
The monkey and the fox were angry:"What did you bring to him.......nothing..! And now,
you ask us to make a fire so you can keep yourself warm ! What a shame!" 

 It was getting dark and chilly.
The monkey and the fox did what they had been told to do.
After a little while, the rabbit came without bringing back anything at all.
He approached the sick man . He could feel that he was not an ordinary man:" There
is something divine in him........"
He bowed, and said: "My Lord, I don't have the capabilities like the monkey and the
fox do, but I have my small body to offer you to eat"
With those words he leaped into the burning fire........

 In that very instant, the old man disappeared and in his place there stood the deity, Taishakuten.
He sent the rabbit to the moon and put him there forever, so that people will always remember him whenever they look up at a full moon.