Once there was such a long spell of dry weather that there was no more water in
the creeks and springs, and the animals held a council to see what to do about it.
They decided to dig a well, and all agreed to help except the Rabbit, who was a
lazy fellow, and said, “I don’t need to dig for water. The dew on the grass is
enough for me.” The others did not like this, but they went to work together and
dug their well.
They noticed that the Rabbit kept sleek and lively, although it was still dry
weather and the water was getting low in the well. They said, “That tricky
Rabbit steals our water at night,” so they made a wolf of pine gum and tar and
set it up the well to scare the thief. That night the Rabbit came, as he had been
coming every night, to drink enough to last him all next day. He saw the queer
black thing the well and said, “Who’s there?” but the tar wolf said nothing.
He came nearer, but the wolf never moved, so he grew braver and said, “Get out
of my way or I’ll strike you.” Still the wolf never moved and the Rabbit came up
and struck it with his paw, but the gum held his foot and it stuck fast. Now he
was angry and said, “Let me go or I’ll kick you.” Still the wolf said nothing.
Then the Rabbit struck again with his hind foot, so hard that it was caught in the
gum and he could not move, and there he stuck until the animals came for water
in the morning. When they found who the thief was they had great sport over
him for a while and then got ready to kill him, but as soon as he was unfastened
from the tar wolf he managed to get away.—Wafford.
“Once upon a time there was such a severe drought that all streams of water and
all lakes were dried up. In this emergency the beasts assembled together to
devise means to procure water. It was proposed one to dig a well. All agreed
to do so except the hare. She refused because it would soil her tiny paws. The
rest, however, dug their well and were fortunate enough to find water. The hare
beginning to suffer and thirst, and having no right to the well, was thrown uponbeginning to suffer and thirst, and having no right to the well, was thrown upon
her wits to procure water. She determined, as the easiest way, to steal from the
public well. The rest of the animals, surprised to find that the hare was so well
supplied with water, asked her where she got it. She replied that she arose
betimes in the morning and gathered the dewdrops. However the wolf and the
fox suspected her of theft and hit on the following plan to detect her:
They made a wolf of tar and placed it near the well. On the following night the
hare came as usual after her supply of water. On seeing the tar wolf she
demanded who was there. Receiving no answer she repeated the demand,
threatening to kick the wolf if he did not reply. She receiving no reply kicked the
wolf, and this means adhered to the tar and was caught. When the fox and
wolf got hold of her they consulted what it was best to do with her. One
proposed cutting her head off. This the hare protested would be useless, as it had
often been tried without hurting her. Other methods were proposed for
dispatching her, all of which she said would be useless. At last it was proposed
to let her loose to perish in a thicket. Upon this the hare affected great uneasiness
and pleaded hard for life. Her enemies, however, refused to listen and she was
accordingly let loose. As soon, however, as she was out of reach of her enemies
she gave a whoop, and bounding away she exclaimed: ‘This is where I live.’”—
Cherokee Advocate, December 18, 1845.