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An Opossum Becomes Disliked Because of His Pretty Tail

This version of the legend comes from William Jones' 1907 collection of Mesquakie stories, Fox Texts.

An Opossum was once passing along when, lo! he beheld a Skunk coming from yonder direction. Now this is the song he sang on the occasion:

Oh, you skunk over there,
You smell so strong that it hurts!


When the Skunk heard the song of the other, then he wept.

"Do you now in turn respond by saying something to me," said the Opossum.

Whereupon the Skunk also sang, and this was the way he sang:

O Opossum! a snake is following after you.
You had better look behind at your tail.


The Opossum looked at his tail, and lo! sure enough, there was the tail of a snake. Thereupon he started to run, running away at the top of his speed. And as often as he looked back, there was always the snake keeping right after him. After a while he no longer saw the snake. But that was after he had worn out his tail in the running, the tail that was once as pretty as silver.

That is as far as the little story goes.

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More stories to read:

 Native American animal legends
 Stories about opossums
 Stories about skunks
 Stories about vanity

Learn more about:

 Fox myths
 Fox language
 Fox Indians



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