Tales of the North American Indians
Manabozho’s Adventures – E
After this Manabozho began travelling again. One time he feasted a lot of animals. He had killed a big bear, which was very fat and he began cooking it, having made a fire with his bow-drill. When he was ready to spread his meat, he heard two trees scraping together, swayed by the wind. He didn’t like this noise while he was having his feast and he thought he could stop it. He climbed up one of the trees and when he reached the spot where the two trees were scraping, his foot got caught in a crack between the trees and he could not free himself.
When the first animal guest came along and saw Manabozho in the tree, he, the Beaver, said “Come on to the feast, Manabozho is caught and can’t stop us.” And then the other animals came. The Beaver jumped into the grease and ate it, and the Otter did the same, and that is why they are so fat in the belly. The Beaver scooped up the grease and smeared it on himself, and that is the reason why he is so fat now. All the small animals came and got fat for themselves. Last of all the animals came the Rabbit, when nearly all the grease was gone – only a little left. So he put some on the nape of his neck and some on his groin and for this reason he has only a little fat in those places. So all the animals got their fat except Rabbit. Then they all went, and poor Manabozho got free at last. He looked around and found a bear’s skull that was all cleaned except for the brain, and there was only a little of that left, but he couldn’t get at it. Then he wished himself to be changed into an ant in order to get into the skull and get enough to eat, for there was only about an ant’s meal left.