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When we were small children, our grandma would tell my sister and I stories at bedtime. She loved the Greek myths and Aesop's fables, but I have no idea where this particular story comes from.

It's the story of a hunter in the woods. For some reason he knows that he is meant to wait a specified amount of time for his prey. I do not recall if this was by prophecy or by some divine message.

In any case, he lays in wait for a day or so, and a small animal -- a rabbit I think -- finally emerges into the clearing he has been watching. He is hungry by this point, but knows that he is meant to wait, so he lets the rabbit go undisturbed.

He waits for a second day, and a larger animal appears -- a deer I think -- and although he begins to feel starvation creeping in, he again lets the animal go.

The third day comes, and at last a large animal -- a bull I think -- arrives in the clearing, and the hunter strikes.

Not sure how things go from here, but that's the general progression of the story.

My grandmother and sister are both now passed, but I think about this story frequently. I haven't found anyone else over the years to whom it sounds familiar. If anyone has heard it or something similar -- time may have warped the details to be sure -- I would be very interested to hear.

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    It might help to know your grandmother's ethnicity, place of origin, approximate age & other pertinents. The progression sounds folkloric, bit that doesn't necessarily mean this is a traditional tale. She could well have been something of a Storyteller! – elemtilas Mar 8 '20 at 2:30
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There is a Dutch folktale about a hunter who waits for a giant hare. Here is a tentative translation:

A hunter once had heard rumors about an extraordinarily large hare, which every night around midnight came to a certain field in the region, and some strawlers claimed the animal was bulletproof: no one could hit this giant hare.

One night, the hunter decided to go and see what was the truth behind what he believed to be a fairy tale. An hour before midnight he arrived there and found himself a hiding place.

After a while, an ordinary hare appeared, but the hunter didn’t shoot and just waited patiently instead. Half an hour later, another, normal hare passed by in the same way. The hunter still keeps waiting to catch a glimpse of the 'big animal'.

Then he hears the village clock striking midnight in the distance, and after a few moments he thinks he has been fooled. But what does he hear over there...? Look! There comes a giant hare very calmly jumping straight towards him. Now watch out... Bang! Bang! The hunter fires two shots. But indeed, the invulnerable hare isn’t wounded at all! The animal turns its head as if nothing had happened and shouts mockingly to the hunter: “Hey, are those two little ones far ahead?”

Source: http://www.verhalenbank.nl/items/show/50265

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I do not know the origin of this piece of folklore, but I can point to one similar story.

It's a fairy tale by Lázár Ervin titled “A molnár fia zsák búzája”, anthologized in A hétfejű tündér (1973). In this tale, a young man receives a sack of wheat from his father, together with advice about a land where the wheat should be sowed to get an unusually large yield. The young man travels for very long, and finds two fields that are similar to the description he's got, but don't quite match the description, before he finds the right place.

This is a tragic version of the story: the young man has sowed all his wheat before, and doesn't have any remaining by the time he reaches his destination.

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  • Interesting. So the "tragic version" is essentially the exact opposite of what the OP described. What happens to the young man at the conclusion of the non-tragic version? – Dan Mar 13 '20 at 17:22
  • @Dan This is a fairy tale, so we don't know his eventual fate. Perhaps he died from hunger the next winter, perhaps he got work in a fast food restaurant and lived the rest of his life in the shadow of the great opportunity that he missed. – b_jonas Mar 14 '20 at 12:44
  • Yes, I realize it's a fairy tale. :) What I meant was, how does the tale conclude once he finds the right field? – Dan Mar 14 '20 at 15:05

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