Myths & Legends



Sioux: How Rabbit Caught the Sun

Sioux: How Rabbit Caught the Sun

The Sioux are groups of Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America. The Sioux comprise three major divisions based on language divisions: the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota.

Today the Sioux maintain many separate tribal governments scattered across several reservations, communities, and reserves in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Montana in the United States; and Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan in Canada.

How Rabbit Caught the Sun, a Sioux legend, is recounted by Lewis Spence in The Myths of the North American Indians. A tale that explains why the hair between the rabbit’s shoulders is yellow.
— Orly

Once upon a time the Rabbit dwelt in a lodge with no one but his grandmother to keep him company. Every morning he went hunting very early, but no matter how early he was he always noticed that some one with a very long foot had been before him and had left a trail. The Rabbit resolved to discover the identity of the hunter who forestalled him, so one fine morning he rose even earlier than usual, in the hope of encountering the stranger. But all to no purpose, for the mysterious one had gone, leaving behind him, as was his wont, the trail of the long foot.

This irritated the Rabbit profoundly, and he returned to the lodge to consult with his grandmother.

"Grandmother," he grumbled, "although I rise early every morning and set my traps in the hope of snaring game, some one is always before me and frightens the game away. I shall make a snare and catch him."

"Why should you do so?" replied his grandmother. "In what way has he harmed you?"

"It is sufficient that I hate him," replied the querulous Rabbit, and departed. He secreted himself among the bushes and waited for nightfall. He had provided himself with a stout bowstring, which he arranged as a trap in the place where the footprints were usually to be found. Then he went home, but returned very early to examine his snare.

When he arrived at the spot he discovered that he had caught the intruder, who was, indeed, no less a personage than the Sun. He ran home at the top of his speed to acquaint his grandmother with the news. He did not know what he had caught, so his grandmother bade him seek the forest once more and find out. On returning he saw that the Sun was in a violent passion.

"How dare you snare me!" he cried angrily. "Come hither and untie me at once!"

The Rabbit advanced cautiously, and circled round him in abject terror. At last he clucked his head and, running in, cut the bowstring which secured the Sun with his knife. The Sun immediately soared upward, and was quickly lost to sight. And the reason why the hair between the Rabbit's shoulders is yellow is that he was scorched there by the great heat which came from the Sun-god when he loosed him.


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