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Rabbit and Big Man-Eater
This version of the legend comes from John Swanton's 1913 collection Animal Stories from the Muskhogean Indians.
Big Man-Eater killed all of the people of a certain town. Rabbit came and saw what had been done, and went back to the next village. Then he told the people about it, and instructed them all to run away from that place. After they had gone, Rabbit reddened his lips with some old paint, killed an orphan-child who had remained in the village, and walked along, carrying its body over his shoulder, until he met Big Man-Eater. "How are these people down here?" said Big Man-Eater. " I have killed them all," said Rabbit. "How are the people down here?" — "I have done the same thing to them," said Big Man-Eater. "This orphan-child is all I have left," said Rabbit, giving it to him. Big Man-Eater took the child and threw it up into the air; and when it came down, he swallowed it at a gulp. Then he said to Rabbit," Let us become friends!" and Rabbit agreed. After they had gone along for a while, they said to each other, "Let us shut our eyes and defecate." They did so; and Big Man-Eater passed split human bones, while Rabbit passed only grass. Before they opened their eyes, however, Rabbit changed the places of the two piles of excrement, so that the bones were under himself and the grass under Big Man-Eater. When they opened their eyes and Big Man-Eater saw this, he was ashamed.
After that, Rabbit said, "Let us go to Ashes-thrown-upon-Camp." When they got there, Rabbit obtained a lot of bark and made a fire with it. By and by Big Man-Eater went to sleep, and Rabbit collected a great quantity of ashes and threw it over his chest. He threw a little ashes over himself and lay down quickly. Then Big Man-Eater began to groan, and stood up. Rabbit also rubbed the ashes off of himself. " It is always that way here," said he; and they lay down again for the rest of the night. Next day Rabbit said,'' Let us go to Tree-falling-Camp." They went on, reached this place, and made a fire at the foot of a dead tree. Afterward Rabbit walked off, found a small tree, and brought it back to camp. When it was nearly midnight, Rabbit pushed the big dead tree down upon Big Man-Eater, and at the same time laid the small tree over himself. Big Man-Eater groaned in his sleep, woke up in a fright, and kicked the tree away. Rabbit also threw the tree off of himself, saying, " It is always that way here."
When day came, Rabbit said to his companion, "Let us go down to the stream and jump back and forth across it." When they got there, Rabbit jumped first; and he jumped back and forth four times. "Now you jump," he said to Big Man-Eater. So Big Man-Eater jumped back and forth four times also. "Let us both jump again," said Rabbit; and he went back and forth quickly as before. When he got back the last time, he said to Big Man-Eater, "I will hold your bag while you jump." So Big Man-Eater gave Rabbit his bag, and jumped over. When he started back, however, the river was suddenly filled with water, into which he fell; and the current carried him down to the ocean, and way beyond it to the other side. Then Rabbit started off, saying over and over, "My friend threw his bag down to me on the water. Look! my friend has gone to the ocean. I am calling to him where he has gone, far off on the ocean."
More stories to read:
Legends about Rabbit
Legends about tricksters
Legends about animals
Native American monster stories
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