Once upon a time out in the great green grassland of the Mongolian Steppes were born two horses. They were brothers several years apart. Their owner watched as they grew and then decided to take them to Ulum Bator and sell them. Before they left their mother came up to them and said, “I cannot give you much but I can give you some advice. Never leave the main road and never be curious and never unwrap anything.”
With that the horses parted never to see their mother again. They were sold to a man from the Altai Mountains a long, long way to the west of their homeland. And so they travelled for many days and many nights until at last they arrived at their destination. There they worked for the man for many years. As time passed the older of the two brothers began to think about his homeland. He began to long for the wide green grassland of the Steppes and the rolling hills and the pine woods and the great rocky crags. He began to long to go home and eat the sweet grass of the Steppes. So one day he said to his brother. “I don’t want to die here. I want to go home and to see my homeland again and feel the wind and see the wide expanse of sky and run across the open grassland and be young again.” The brother agreed and so it was planned that one night they would chew through their hobbles and run away.
They headed off into the east smelling the fresh air as they went and remembering the path. They galloped and galloped, the stopped and ate grass and rested. But soon the older Brother said, “I can’t go on, I am too old and I will not reach my homeland. You must continue, you must go on for I am going to lie down and die here. But before I die remember the wise words of our mother, Stay on the main road and never be curious and never unwrap anything.”
The younger horse listened and nodded his head. He would remember the wise words of his mother. The old horse laid down and breathed his last. Now the young horse on his own set off again into the east. It was very hot and after a while the young horse saw some woodland, and he thought it looked cool in the woods so her left the road, not heading his brothers advice and was soon in the wood leaving the safety of the main road. In a clearing he saw a bag. The young horse was curious and not heading the wise words of his mother and his brother he nosed the bag and it moved again. Then he saw that it was tied at the top with some rope and forgetting the wise words of his mother and his brother he untied it with his teeth. Out of the bag sprang and large hungry angry Wolf.
The Wolf snarled. “You are the swift horse that hunted me down and put me in the sack.” He said. “I am going to eat you for putting me in that sack.”
“I didn’t.” said the surprised Horse. “Honestly I’ve just let you out of the sack. Why would I let you out if I had put you in.”
“You lie.” Said the Wolf. “You are going to die.”
Just as the terrified younger horse thought he really was going to and was bitterly regretting not remembering the advice of his mother and his brother, a small Rabbit, seeing the mess the horse was in stepped between them.
“Hum” said the Rabbit, “I don’t believe that you,” pointing to the Wolf, “Came out of that sack. “You are the one who is lying.”
“I did come out of the sack.” Said the surprised Wolf.
“Well then if you can prove that you are not lying you can eat me as well as the horse.” Said the Rabbit.
So the Wolf agreed and he climbed back into the sack. But his head stuck out at the top.
“There you are.” Said the Rabbit. “I knew you were lying you are far to big to have come out of that sack.”
“I did.” Said the Wolf.
And with that he curled himself up and pulled himself down into the sack. In a flash the Rabbit tied up the top of the sack.
“Now we are both free to go on our ways.” Rabbit said, dusting his paws with great satisfaction.
“Thank you so very much.” Said the Horse.
And he set off once again for the wide, green, rolling grassland of the Steppes. But this time he headed the wise words of his mother and his brother and he did not leave the main road and he was never curious and he resisted the temptation to untie anything.