Grateful Crane

Long long ago, there lived a “Hikyaku”, or express mail messenger in a mountainous town.
He carried letters from town to town, from village to village with a wooden box containing letters on his shoulder every day.
He had also rice balls for lunch in the box.
One day when he was in a hurry in the woods, a fox and a raccoon dog and a hare were watching him running.
“I’d like to eat his rice balls.” said the hare.
“Me, too. Whenever I see him, I think so.” said the raccoon dog.
“I have a good idea.” said the fox and taught it to the others.
The hare sat down in the middle of the way where he was going to come.
On seeing a hare sitting down on the road, he stopped running to catch it.
The moment he tried to catch it, it jumped forward a little feet and sat down again on the road.
He tried to catch it again and again in vain.
“I’m angry. I’ll never fail to catch you.” saying so, he hung the wooden box on the branch of a tree.
He tried to catch it with more aggressive mind again.
While he was doing so, the raccoon stole the wooden box quickly into the forest.
“Good job.” said the fox with great pleasure.
The hare also returned to them.
They opened the wooden box and found letters and five rice balls.
“Ms. Hare, you shall have one rice ball. Mr. Raccoon, you shall have another rice ball.” said the fox.

There were still three rice balls left.
“What shall we do? If there were four rice balls left, each of us could eat two rice balls.” said the fox.
“Wait a minute. There may be a good hint in letters.”
The fox opened a letter.
“Oh, it is written. I’ll read it, so listen to me.
‘Hare and Raccoon dog shall have one rice ball.
The others shall be given to fox.
Did you understand?” said the fox.

“Oh, I see.” said the hare and the raccoon dog.
The fox ate up three rice balls.

The end