Written by Melissa Sunjaya
Illustrated by Melissa Sunjaya

Once upon a full moon in Java, a kind rabbit lived in the deep forest with a pack of friends, including a monkey, an otter, and a wolf. The rabbit and his friends prayed to the Gods that night. Each offered compassion, but the rabbit secretly promised to sacrifice his body to anybody needing food. The rabbit’s wish was so genuine that it echoed to the sky and reached nirvana. The sun God decided to test the rabbit’s goodwill and disguised himself as a lost and hungry Brahmana. First, the Brahmana met the otter, who offered fresh fish. When the Brahmana told the otter that he could not eat fish, the otter introduced him to the monkey who offered mangoes and the wolf who gave milk. The Brahmana politely refused all their kind gestures and finally met the rabbit who came with a stack of grass. Seeing the weak body of the starving Brahmana, the rabbit placed the grass on the ground and made a fire. In front of his confused friends, the rabbit jumped into the fire. All the Gods who witnessed the rabbit’s sacrifice made the flame bigger, not to hurt the kind animal as his sincerity touched them. The fire rose higher to the crimson clouds and carried the rabbit’s soul to the moon. Since then, the Javanese rabbit lived peacefully on the moon. Sometimes, a few lucky and kind children in Java could see the rabbit’s shadow on the moon.

This illustration is available in Giclée – a digital reproduction on matte canvas with museum-quality of archival standards, stretched over a wooden frame.