Page:An argosy of fables.djvu/563

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483
AMERICAN INDIAN FABLES

mals had mated, leaving him still without a wife. The Rabbit pretended to feel sorry for him, and said:

"Never mind, I'll carry the message to the people in the next settlement, and you hurry on as fast as you can, and this time you will get your wife."

So he went on to the next town, and the 'Possum followed close after him. But when the Rabbit got to the townhouse he sent out the word that, as there had been peace so long that everybody was getting lazy, the council had ordered that there must be war at once and they must begin right in the townhouse. So they all began fighting, but the Rabbit made four great leaps and got away just as the Possum came in. Everybody jumped on the 'Possum, who had not thought of bringing his weapons on a wedding trip, and so could not defend himself. They had nearly beaten the life out of him when he fell over and pretended to be dead until he saw a good chance to jump up and get away. The 'Possum never got a wife, but he remembers the lesson, and ever since he shuts his eyes and pretends to be dead when the hunter has him in a close corner.

(Myths of the Cherokee, by James Mooney.)


THE MINK, THE PIKE AND THE PICKEREL

ONCE a Mink was running along the bank of a river when he saw a Pickerel basking in the water close to the shore. He gaped at the Pickerel and licked his chops. "Oh, how I wish I could eat that one," he thought; but he hesitated to jump at it: "My, no, he's too big." So at last the Mink started off disappointed.

He trotted along and presently came to a place where he saw another huge fish close to the shore. This time it was an enormous