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Rabbit and the Turkeys

This version of the legend comes from John Swanton's 1913 collection Animal Stories from the Muskhogean Indians.

Rabbit once carried a sack up to the top of a hill near which was a flock of turkeys, got inside of it, and rolled down to the bottom, laughing continually. The Turkeys, who were eating acorns, looked at him for a while, and then asked him what he was doing. "I am having some fun," he said. "You lie!" "All right," he said. "One of you get in here and try it. I will roll it for him." So one of the Turkeys got in, and Rabbit rolled him down. When he went down, he laughed and said, "Yes, it is good fun. I like it." Then all of the turkeys got in, and Rabbit rolled them down hill together. But afterward, instead of letting them out, he took them and started off home.

There he put the turkeys into a corn-crib, and told his old grandmother to be sure not to open it while he was away. Then he went off. As soon as he was gone, however, his grandmother began to wonder what he had in the corn-crib, and presently she went there and opened the door. At once the turkeys began flying out. She tried to catch them, but got hold of only one. Then she called out to Rabbit, " Hapasa', I have it by the feet." Rabbit came quickly and said to her, "I told you not to do that. Kill and cook this one. I had intended to feast a great number of people, but now I shall invite only a few."

Then he went away; but, instead of inviting any one, he walked about for a while, and came back by himself. "Many people are coming," he said to his grandmother; and he himself began to talk, in imitation of a crowd of people conversing. "Put the cooked food in dishes and bring it here," he said. So his grandmother brought it out and put it on a cane platform. "All ready. Let us eat," he said aloud, as if addressing a great company. He jumped up on the platform a number of times as if many different people were doing so, and he talked and made the noises of a number of people. Meanwhile he was eating the food; and he finished everything except a little turkey gravy. This he mixed with punk from the slippery-elm, and set it before his grandmother, saying, "Eat this which was left." So she ate. Then she said, "It tastes like old punk." "It is always that way this time of year," said Rabbit. Then he said, "The people are all gone." Then they ate up all that was left.

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 Legends about Rabbit
 Legends about turkeys
 Native American trickster stories
 Native American animal stories

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