Friday, June 6, 2014

Great Plains: Two More Rabbit Stories

This story is part of the Great Plains unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Great Plains by Katharine Berry Judson (1913).


(hare)


How Rabbit Lost His Fat
Omaha

At first all the four-footed animals were fat. The one who made them wished to know if they looked well so fat. So he called all the four-footed animals together. He seized by the head each one who did not look handsome with the fat and scraped it all off.

At length someone took Rabbit to him.

“Fat makes me handsome,” said Rabbit “I will be the one.”

“Let me see! Come here!” said the one who made the animals. Then he made Rabbit fat. Then he looked at him. “Fat makes you ugly beyond measure.”

So he seized Rabbit by the head and scraped off the fat from the base of his neck. But he pulled suddenly at the flesh in the space between the shoulders. Therefore, ever since then Rabbit has had a hollow space between his shoulders, and only in that place is there a piece of fat.

At length the person who made the animals saw that Raccoon was the only person who looked well when fat. So he made the whole body of Raccoon fat.


How Rabbit Caught the Sun in a Trap
Omaha

Once upon a time Rabbit dwelt in a lodge with no one but his grandmother. It was his custom to go hunting very early in the morning. But no matter how early in the morning he went, a person with a very long foot had been along, leaving a trail. Rabbit wished to know him.

“Now,” he thought, “I will go in advance of that person.” Having risen very early in the morning, he departed, but again it happened that the person had been along, leaving a trail. Then Rabbit went home.

“Grandmother,” he said, “though I arrange for myself to go first, a person goes ahead of me every time. Grandmother, I will make a snare and I will catch him.”

“Why should you do it?” she asked.

“I hate the person,” he said.

Again Rabbit departed. And again had the footprints gone along. So Rabbit lay waiting for night to come. Then he made a noose of a bowstring, setting it where the footprints were commonly seen.

Next morning Rabbit reached the place very early, to see what he had caught in his trap. And it happened that he had caught the Sun. Running very fast, he went homewards to tell about it.

“Grandmother,” he said, “I have caught something or other but it scares me. Grandmother, I wished to take away my bowstring, but I was scared every time.”

So he went there again with a knife. This time he got very near it.

“You have done wrong. Why have you done it? Come and untie me,” said the Sun.

The Rabbit, although he went to untie him, kept going past him a little on one side. Then he made a rush with his head bent down and his arm stretched out, and cut the bowstring with his knife. And the Sun rose into the sky. But Rabbit had the hair between his shoulders scorched yellow by the heat of the Sun as he stooped and cut the bowstring.

Then Rabbit arrived at his lodge. “I am burnt. Oh, Grandmother! The heat has left nothing of me,” he said.

Grandmother said, “Oh, my grandchild! I think the heat has left to me nothing of him!”

From that time Rabbit has always had a singed spot upon his back, between his shoulders.





(600 words)








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