Why the Owl has Big Eyes

The legend of why Owl has big eyes is one of many traditional Haudenosaunee stories told from generation to generation. Here is one version. The Creator was busy creating various animals. He was working on Rabbit, and Rabbit was saying: “I want nice long legs and long ears like a deer, and sharp fangs and claws like a panther.” “I do them the way they want to be; I give them what they ask for,” said the Creator. He was working on Rabbit’s hind legs, making them long, the way Rabbit had ordered. Owl, still unformed, was sitting on a tree nearby and waiting his turn. He was saying: “Whoo, whoo, I want a nice long neck like swan’s, and beautiful red feathers like Cardinal’s, and a nice long beak like Egret’s, and a nice crown of plumes like Heron’s. I want you to make me into the most […] Read More

Rabbit and the Moon Man

Micmac Long ago, Rabbit was a great hunter. He lived with his grandmother in a lodge which stood deep in the Micmac forest. It was winter and Rabbit set traps and laid snares to catch game for food. He caught many small animals and birds, until one day he discovered that some mysterious being was robbing his traps. Rabbit and his grandmother became hungry. Though he visited his traps very early each morning, he always found them empty. At first Rabbit thought that the robber might be a cunning wolverine, until one morning he found long, narrow footprints alongside his trap line. It was, he thought, the tracks of the robber, but they looked like moonbeams. Each morning Rabbit rose earlier and earlier, but the being of the long foot was always ahead of him and always his traps were empty. Rabbit made a trap from a bowstring with […] Read More

How to Scare a Bear (Tewa)

Long ago and far away this did not happen. On top of Red Rock Hill, lived a little rabbit. Prickly pears were his favorite food, and every day he would hunt for them along the east bank of the Rio Grande. Eventually, he ate all the prickly pears along that bank, so he cast his hungry eyes across the river. He said to himself, “I’ll bet plenty of them grow over there. Now, how am I going to get across the river to look?” The rabbit knew the river was too deep and too wide for him to swim on his own, and he sighed, “Oh, how I wish that Uncle Fast Water, who moves the current, were here to take me across.” Fast Water heard and replied, “Child, I’m lying right here. What can I do for you?” The little rabbit leaped toward the sound. “Uncle, so this […] Read More

How The Rabbit Stole The Otter’s Coat

Cherokee The animals were of different sizes and wore coats of various colors and patterns. Some wore long fur and others wore short. Some had rings on their tails, and some had no tails at all. Some had coats of brown, others of black or yellow. They were always arguing about their good looks, so they agreed to hold a council to decide who had the finest coat. They had heard a great deal about the Otter, who lived so far up the creek that he seldom came down to visit the other animals. It was said that he had the finest coat of all, but no one knew just what it was like, because it was a long time since anyone had seen him. They did not even know exactly where he lived, only the general direction, but they knew he would come to the council when the […] Read More

How Rabbit Fooled Wolf

Two pretty girls lived not far from Rabbit and Wolf. One day Rabbit called upon Wolf and said, “Let’s go and visit those pretty girls up the road.” “All right,” Wolf said, and they started off.  When they got to the girls’ house, they were invited in, but both girls took a great liking to Wolf and paid all their attention to him while Rabbit had to sit by and look on. Rabbit of course was not pleased by this, and he soon said, “We had better be going back.”  “Let’s wait a while longer,” Wolf replied, and they remained until late in the day. Before they left, Rabbit found a chance to speak to one of the girls so that Wolf could not overhear and he said, “The one you’ve been having so much fun with is my old horse.”  “I think you are lying,” the girl replied. […] Read More

Rabbit and The Coyote

Native American Lore This is a story of Uncle Rabbit and the coyote. The rabbit came to a big rock, and there he deceived the coyote. He was leaning on the rock when the coyote came by. “What are you doing, brother?” the coyote asked the rabbit. “Come here quickly, brother, the sky is falling down on top of us. Lean against the rock and hold it up while I go for a stick. We’ll prop it up with that,” said the rabbit to the coyote. “All right,” said the coyote and began holding it up with all his might. Since the coyote was so stupid, he did exactly what the rabbit told him to. The rabbit had said that he was going to get a stick, but he went and left the coyote holding up the rock. When the rabbit didn’t return the coyote shouted: “Come back, brother! The weight of the rock has […] Read More

Coyote Vs. Duck

Coyote became disturbed because he had a sick daughter. He thought Duck had done something against his children in order to make them sick. So Coyote determined to bring harm to Duck. He met Duck at a certain place and ordered that Duck should run to a point with his eyes closed. This Duck did. When he opened them again, he found himself in the hole of a big rock, a little cave high on the face of a cliff. There was no way out for Duck. Coyote took Duck’s wife and children, whom he treated badly. In time, Coyote had more children from this woman, and these he took good care of. Duck tried constantly to get out of the cave, without success. At last, Bat camped nearby, and every day, when he went hunting rabbits, his children could hear someone crying. They told Bat, and he flew […] Read More

How the Rabbit Lost His Tail

Native American Lore You have heard how Glooscap came to rule over the Wabanaki and how he made the animals, and how at first some of them were treacherous and disobedient. In time, however, he gave posts of honor to those whom he could trust, and they were proud to be Glooscap’s servants. Two dogs became his watchmen, and the loon his messenger and tale-bearer. And, because the rabbit had the kindest heart of all the animals in the forest, Glooscap made Ableegumooch his forest guide. Now in those days Ableegumooch the Rabbit was a very different animal than he is today. His body was large and round, his legs were straight and even, and he had a long bushy tail. He could run and walk like other animals, not with a hop-hop-hop as he does today. One day in springtime, when the woods were carpeted with star flowers […] Read More