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Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 43

Otter did as Rabbit told him; then both curled up and Otter went to sleep. But Rabbit stayed awake. After a while the fire burned down to red coals. Rabbit called to Otter; he was fast asleep. Then he called again, but Otter did not awaken.

Then Rabbit rose softly. He filled the paddle with hot coals, threw them up into the air and shouted, “It’s raining fire! It’s raining fire!”

The hot coals fell on Otter and he jumped up.

“To the river,” shouted Rabbit and Otter fled into the water. So he has lived in the water ever since.

Rabbit at once took Otter’s coat and put it on, leaving his own behind. Then he followed the trail to the council.

All the animals were waiting for Otter. At last they saw him coming down the trail. They said to each other, “Otter is coming!” They sent one of the small animals to show him the best seat. After he was seated, the animals all went up in turn to welcome him. But Otter kept his head down with one paw over his face.

[121] The animals were surprised. They did not know Otter was so bashful. At last Bear pulled the paw away. There was Rabbit! He sprang up and started to run. Bear struck at him and pulled the tail off his coat. But Rabbit was too quick and got safely away.

[122]

RABBIT AND BEAR

Biloxi

RABBIT and Bear had been friends for some time. One day Rabbit said to Bear, “Come and visit me. I live in a very large brier patch.” Then he went home.

When he reached home he went out and gathered a quantity of young canes which he hung up.

After a while Bear reached a place near his house, but was seeking the large brier patch. Now Rabbit really dwelt in a very small patch. When Rabbit found that Bear was near, he began to make a pattering sound with his feet.

Bear was scared. He retreated to a distance and then stopped and stood listening. As soon as Rabbit saw this, he cried out, “Halloo! my friend! Was it you whom I treated in that manner? Come and take a seat.”

So Bear went back to Rabbit’s house and took a seat. Rabbit gave the young canes to his guest, who swallowed them all. Rabbit nibbled now and then at one, while Bear swallowed all the others.

[123] “This is what I have always liked,” said Bear when he went home. “Come and visit me. I dwell in a large bent tree.”

Not long after, Rabbit started on his journey. He spent some time seeking the large bent tree but he could not find it. Bear lived in a hollow tree, and he sat there growling. Rabbit heard the growls and fled for some distance before he sat down.


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