THE RABBIT GOES DUCK HUNTING
The Rabbit was so boastful that he would claim to do whatever he saw anyone
else do, and so tricky that he could usually make the other animals believe it all.
Once he pretended that he could swim in the water and eat fish just as the Otter
did, and when the others told him to prove it he fixed up a plan so that the Otter
himself was deceived.
Soon afterward they met again and the Otter said, “I eat ducks sometimes.” Said
the Rabbit, “Well, I eat ducks too.” The Otter challenged him to try it; so they
went up along the river until they saw several ducks in the water and managed to
get near without being seen. The Rabbit told the Otter to go first. The Otter
never hesitated, but dived from the bank and swam under water until he reached
the ducks, when he pulled one down without being noticed the others, and
came back in the same way.
While the Otter had been under the water the Rabbit had peeled some bark from
a sapling and made himself a noose. “Now,” he said, “Just watch me;” and he
dived in and swam a little way under the water until he was nearly choking and
had to come up to the top to breathe. He went under again and came up again a
little nearer to the ducks. He took another breath and dived under, and this time
he came up among the ducks and threw the noose over the head of one and
caught it. The duck struggled hard and finally spread its wings and flew up from
the water with the Rabbit hanging on to the noose.
It flew on and on until at last the Rabbit could not hold on any longer, but had to
let go and drop. As it happened, he fell into a tall, hollow sycamore stumplet go and drop. As it happened, he fell into a tall, hollow sycamore stump
without any hole at the bottom to get out from, and there he stayed until he was
so hungry that he had to eat his own fur, as the rabbit does ever since when he is
starving. After several days, when he was very weak with hunger, he heard
children playing outside around the trees. He began to sing:
Cut a door and look at me;
I’m the prettiest thing you ever did see.
The children ran home and told their father, who came and began to cut a hole in
the tree. As he chopped away the Rabbit inside kept singing, “Cut it larger, so
you can see me better; I’m so pretty.” They made the hole larger, and then the
Rabbit told them to stand back so that they could take a good look as he came
out. They stood away back, and the Rabbit watched his chance and jumped out
and got away.
Myths of the Cherokee James Mooney