Myths & Legends



Cherokee: Rabbit Goes Duck Hunting

The rabbit and the otter hold pride of place in Cherokee fables.
— Orly


RABBIT was very boastful. One day he met Otter. Otter said, “Sometimes I eat ducks.”

“Well, I eat ducks, too,” said Rabbit.

So they went up the stream until they saw several ducks in the water. They followed the trail softly. Then they stood on the river bank.

Rabbit said, “You go first.” At once Otter dived from the bank. He swam under water until he reached a duck; then he pulled it under quickly so that the other ducks were not frightened. While he was under water, Rabbit peeled bark from a sapling and made a noose.

“Now, watch me,” he said, when Otter came back. He dived in and swam under water until he was nearly choked. So he came to the top to breathe. He did this several times. The last time he came up among the ducks and threw the noose over the head of one.

Duck spread her wings and flew up, with Rabbit hanging to the end of the noose. Up and up flew the duck, but Rabbit could not hold on any longer. Then he let go and dropped.

Rabbit fell into a hollow sycamore. It was very tall, and had no hole at the bottom. Rabbit stayed there until he was so hungry he ate his own fur, even as he does to this day.

After many days, he heard children playing around the tree. He began to sing,

Cut a door and look at me,I’m the prettiest thing you ever did see.

The children at once ran home to tell their father. He came and cut a hole in the tree. As he chopped away, Rabbit kept singing,

Cut it larger, so you can see me. I am very pretty.

So they made the hole larger. Then Rabbit told them to stand back so they could get a good look at him. They stood back. Then Rabbit sprang out and leaped away.



Source:  J. M. [1]

Culture:  Cherokee

Language Group:  Cherokee (Tsalagi Gawonihisdi) is an Iroquoian language spoken by the Cherokee people. It is the only Southern Iroquoian language and differs significantly from the other Iroquoian languages.


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