Rabbit the Hunter
Native American tale.
One day Rabbit took his bow and arrow and went hunting. He left the house where he lived with his grandmother and hopped through the forest, happy to be out and about. Suddenly he saw huge footprints in the track.
"Wow! Check out the size of this!" Rabbit said, twitching his nose. He hopped into the middle of the left footprint, then took six long hops to reach the right one.
"This dude is some giant" he said out loud, talking to himself because no one else was there. The forest was silent. He couldn't even hear a wing flap, or a bear breathing.
"I bet that giant's hunted everything!" said Rabbit angrily. And sure enough, when he checked, there wasn’t anything left to hunt.
Rabbit went home to his grandmother and told her he hadn’t hunted anything for dinner because the giant had been to the forest first. She patted him on the head. "Don’t worry dear. I've picked some berries. We can have them for dinner."
"I don’t want stupid berries. I want to eat something I've hunted!" Rabbit grumbled to himself. He didn’t say it out loud because he didn’t want to hurt his grandmother's feelings.
The next day Rabbit got up earlier, hoping to hunt before the giant came. No luck. Everything had gone already. "It’s not fair!" cried Rabbit, stamping his feet.
Each day Rabbit got up earlier and earlier, and each day the same thing happened. The giant got there first.
Rabbit became angrier and angrier. "I will set a trap for the giant. And when I catch him, I'll shoot him with my bow and arrow." He strung a net across the track to catch anyone who walked down it. Then he went home to his grandmother, thinking "this will be the last night I have to eat berries for dinner. Tomorrow I'll be able to go hunting."
The next morning Rabbit got up extra early and went to check on his net. "Oh no!" He wailed. "The giant has walked right throug it and made a big hole!" He went home and told his grandmother. "Don't worry dear, have a berry" she said.
"I don’t want any more berries" cried Rabbit "I want to eat something I have hunted." Then he looked at his grandmother and thought for a moment. "You know some magic. Will you make me a special net?" he pleaded.
"Alright. If it will make you happy." She told Rabbit to go away because the magic was secret. When he came back she gave him a net as thin as a spider's web, but stronger than any net ever made.
Rabbit tied it across the track in the forest. The next morning, he got up extra early and rushed out into the forest. He hopped round a bend in the track and skidded to a halt. There was a blinding light coming from his magic net. It was so bright, he couldn’t look at it for more than a second. "Oh No!" he wailed. "I've captured the SUN".
"Let me out of here," roared Sun in a deep load voice that shook the forest. Rabbit fell backwards onto the track, then hopped home as fast as he could to tell his grandmother.
"You must let Sun out of the net," said his Grandmother "Look how dark it is everywhere." "I'm scared" said Rabbit.
"I know" answered his grandmother, "but if you don’t let Sun out of the net it will always be dark. Here's a magic knife. Go and cut the net." Rabbit hopped back into the forest.
"Let me out of here" roared Sun, thrashing around in the net with his big feet. Rabbit slowly moved forward, his little legs shaking with fright. The closer he got, the hotter it became. Closer and hotter, closer and hotter. Little legs shaking and sweat gushing from him, Rabbit shielded his eyes and reached up to cut the net with the magic knife.
Sun struggled free then jumped upwards. One of his big feet kicked Rabbit on the shoulders, almost knocking him over. The sky filled with light again and all the animals cried out in happiness.
Rabbit looked at his sore shoulders. They were scorched brown with the heat from Sun's foot - and they are still brown to this day.