More Rabbit Stories
Reading time: 5 minutes. Word count: 1000 words.
Flint Visits The Rabbit
In the old days Täwi'skälä (Flint) lived up in the mountains, and all the animals hated him because he had helped to kill so many of them. They used to get together to talk over means to put him out of the way, but everybody was afraid to venture near his house until the Rabbit, who was the boldest leader among them, offered to go after Flint and try to kill him. They told him where to find him, and the Rabbit set out and at last came to Flint's house. Flint was standing at his door when the Rabbit came up and said, sneeringly, "Siyu'! Hello! Are you the fellow they call Flint?" "Yes; that's what they call me," answered Flint. "Is this where you live?" "Yes; this is where I live." All this time the Rabbit was looking about the place trying to study out some plan to take Flint off his guard. He had expected Flint to invite him into the house, so he waited a little while, but when Flint made no move, he said, "Well, my name is Rabbit; I've heard a good deal about you, so I came to invite you to come and see me."
Flint wanted to know where the Rabbit's house was, and he told him it was down in the broom-grass field near the river. So Flint promised to make him a visit in a few days. "Why not come now and have supper with me?" said the Rabbit, and after a little coaxing Flint agreed and the two started down the mountain together.
When they came near the Rabbit's hole the Rabbit said, "There is my house, but in summer I generally stay outside here where it is cooler." So he made a fire, and they had their supper on the grass. When it was over, Flint stretched out to rest and the Rabbit got some heavy sticks and his knife and cut out a mallet and wedge. Flint looked up and asked what that was for. "Oh," said the Rabbit, "I like to be doing something, and they may come handy." So Flint lay down again, and pretty soon he was sound asleep. The Rabbit spoke to him once or twice to make sure, but there was no answer. Then he came over to Flint and with one good blow of the mallet he drove the sharp stake into his body and ran with all his might for his own hole; but before he reached it there was a loud explosion, and pieces of flint flew all about. That is why we find flint in so many places now. One piece struck the Rabbit from behind and cut him just as he dived into his hole. He sat listening until everything seemed quiet again. Then he put his head out to look around, but just at that moment another piece fell and struck him on the lip and split it, as we still see it.
The Rabbit Dines The Bear
The Bear invited the Rabbit to dine with him. They had beans in the pot, but there was no grease for them, so the Bear cut a slit in his side and let the oil run out until they had enough to cook the dinner. The Rabbit looked surprised, and thought to himself, "That's a handy way. I think I'll try that. "When he started home he invited the Bear to come and take dinner with him four days later.
When the Bear came the Rabbit said, "I have beans for dinner, too. Now I'll get the grease for them." So he took a knife and drove it into his side, but instead of oil, a stream of blood gushed out and he fell over nearly dead. The Bear picked him up and had hard work to tie up the wound and stop the bleeding. Then he scolded him, "You little fool, I'm large and strong and lined with fat all over; the knife don't hurt me; but you're small and lean, and you can't do such things."
The Rabbit Escapes From The Wolves
Some Wolves once caught the Rabbit and were going to eat him when he asked leave to show them a new dance he was practicing. They knew that the Rabbit was a great song leader, and they wanted to learn the latest dance, so they agreed and made a ring about him while he got ready. He patted his feet and began to dance around in a circle, singing:
Ha'nia lïl lïl! Ha'nia lïl lïl!
On the edge of the field I dance about--
Ha'nia lïl lïl! Ha'nia lïl lïl!
"Now, said the Rabbit, "when I sing 'on the edge of the field,' I dance that way"--and he danced over in that direction--"and when I sing lïl lïl! you must all stamp your feet hard." The Wolves thought it fine. He began another round singing the same song, and danced a little nearer to the field, while the Wolves all stamped their feet. He sang louder and louder and danced nearer and nearer to the field until at the fourth song, when the Wolves were stamping as hard as they could and thinking only of the song, he made one jump and was off through the long grass. They were after him at once, but he ran for a hollow stump and climbed up on the inside. When the Wolves got there one of them put his head inside to look up, but the Rabbit spit into his eye, so that he had to pull his head out again. The others were afraid to try, and they went away, with the Rabbit still in the stump.
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Source: Myths of the Cherokee, by James Mooney. From Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 1897-98, Part I. Weblink.
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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