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How Rabbit Caught the Sun in a Trap

This story comes from Katharine Berry Judson's 1913 collection Myths and Legends of the Great Plains.

Once upon a time Rabbit dwelt in a lodge with no one but his grandmother. It was his custom to go hunting very early in the morning. But no matter how early in the morning he went, a person with a very long foot had been along, leaving a trail. Rabbit wished to know him.

"Now," he thought, "I will go in advance of that person." Having risen very early in the morning, he departed, but again it happened that the person had been along, leaving a trail. Then Rabbit went home.

"Grandmother," he said, "though I arrange for myself to go first, a person goes ahead of me every time. Grandmother, I will make a snare and I will catch him."

"Why should you do it?" she asked.

"I hate the person," he said.

Again Rabbit departed. And again had the footprints gone along. So Rabbit lay waiting for night to come. Then he made a noose of a bowstring, setting it where the footprints were commonly seen.

Next morning Rabbit reached the place very early, to see what he had caught in his trap. And it happened that he had caught the Sun. Running very fast, he went homewards to tell about it.

"Grandmother," he said, "I have caught something or other but it scares me. Grandmother, I wished to take away my bowstring, but I was scared every time."

So he went there again with a knife. This time he got very near it.

"You have done wrong. Why have you done it? Come and untie me," said the Sun.

The Rabbit, although he went to untie him, kept going past him a little on one side. Then he made a rush with his head bent down and his arm stretched out, and cut the bowstring with his knife. And the Sun rose into the sky. But Rabbit had the hair between his shoulders scorched yellow by the heat of the Sun as he stooped and cut the bowstring. Then Rabbit arrived at his lodge.

"I am burnt. Oh, grandmother! the heat has left nothing of me," he said.

Grandmother said, "Oh, my grandchild! I think the heat has left to me nothing of him!"

From that time Rabbit has always had a singed spot upon his back, between his shoulders.

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More stories to read:

 Native American sun myths
 Legends about rabbits

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