Lady Wilde’s (Oscar Wilde’s mother’s) Irish Legends: Never Kill a Hare Before Sunrise.

From Lady Wilde’s fascinating book, Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland (Dublin: Ticknor, 1887). Above: Evil Bunny 4, by Aylan N. Couchie.

It is not lucky to kill a hare before sunrise, even when it crosses your path ; but should it cross three times,, then turn back, for danger is on the road before you. A tailor one time returning home from a wake very early in the morning, saw a hare sitting on the path before him, and not inclined to run away. As he approached, with his stick raised to strike her, he distinctly heard a voice saying, ‘* Don’t kill it.” However, he struck the hare three times, and each time heard the voice say, ” Don’t kill it.” But the last blow knocked the poor hare quite dead; and immediately a great big weasel sat up, and began to spit at him. This greatly frightened the tailor who, however, grabbed the hare, and ran off as fast as he could. Seeing him look so pale and frightened, his wife asked the cause, on which he told her the whole story ; and they both knew he had done wrong, and offended some powerful witch, who would be avenged. However, they dug a grave for the hare and buried it ; for they were afraid to eat it, and thought that now perhaps the danger was over. But next day the man became suddenly speechless, and died off before the seventh day was over, without a word evermore passing his lips ; and then all the neighbours knew that the witch-woman had taken her revenge.

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