OTW: Fox and wolf

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Howl louder. In grief.


Wolf was smart, but Fox was smarter. They lived in the same deep forest and chased the same animals for food. Fox and Wolf would nod as they passed each other on the animal paths but they stayed out of each other’s hunting grounds. Fox and Wolf were good neighbors but not good friends.

One winter the cold moved in like an enemy. Wind beat against the tree trunks, and snow swirled around the bare branches.

It was hard for Fox and Wolf to walk to their hunting grounds as the animal paths were filled with deep snow. The cold wind stung stung their eyes and made their noses ache. Fox and Wolf were hungry; all their usual food slept in the earth, warm and snug in mouse holes or chipmunk nests.

One dark, cold day Fox saw a Mohawk Indian man trudging through the forest pulling a sled behind him. The sled held two long strings of fish.

Fox licked his chops, thinking those plump tasty fish. How good they would be to eat! How good it would feel to sleep with a full belly tonight, when the sun pulled up her night blanket against the cold, and the forest filled with icy darkness. Fox hid behind a tree and thought and thought.

Finally he said to himself, “I know how to get those fish, every last one of them.”

Fox ran ahead of the man and found a tree in his path. Fox leaned against the trunk. “My leg! My leg!” he cried. “I’ve broken my leg!”

The man hurried to the tree, pulling his sled behind him.

“I’ve broken my leg,” Fox cried. “Help me, brother.”

“A fox with a broken leg makes a very poor fox,” the man said. “He makes a better fur hat. I will take you home and make a warm fur hat out of you.”

The man placed the whimpering fox on the sled with the fish. He pushed through the windy forest for home, his snow shoes squeaking over the dry, feather-light snow. Fox lay on the sled, waiting.

At the best moment for escape, Fox grabbed one string of fish and jumped off the sled.” Nothing tastes better than a string of fish on a cold winter’s day,” he yipped to the man.” You won’t get that fur hat today!”

Fox raced into the deepest part of the forest. He sat by a tree and began to feast on his fish. Wolf came by.

“Brother,” Wolf said, “nothing tastes better than a string of fish on a cold winter’s day. Perhaps you could give me some of your fish.”

“No,” replied Fox, chomping on a fish. “I need all my fish today, but I’ll tell you how you can get some fish of your own.”

Soon, Wolf lay against a tree, howling. “My leg! My leg!” he cried. “Help me.”

The Mohawk man rushed through the forest toward Wolf, his second string of fish bumping behind him on the sled.

“I’ve broken my leg,” Wolf howled. “Help me, brother.”

“I’ve been tricked once today,” the Mohawk said angrily. “I won’t be tricked again.”

Fox watched from behind a tree as the man knelt to tie wolf’s legs with a grapevine rope. At the best moment, Fox dashed out and grabbed the second string of fish. He ran for the safety of the woods as fast as he could.

“Nothing tastes better than a second string of fish on a cold day,” Fox called behind him. “No fish or fox-fur hat for the likes of you two today!”

Fox and wolf: a Native-American folk tale

Jon Stewart put it another way last night on The Daily Show. In case you missed it.

T’s’all I got time for today. lo siento mucho.


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  1. a Cherokee creation myth

    In the beginning, there was just water. All the animals lived above it and the sky was overcrowded. They were all curious about what was beneath the water and one day Dayuni’si, the water beetle, volunteered to explore it. He explored the surface but could not find any solid ground. He explored below the surface to the bottom and all he found was mud which he brought back to the surface. After collecting the mud, it began to grow in size and spread outwards until it became the Earth as we know it.

    After all this had happened, one of the animals attached this new land to the sky with four strings. The land was still too wet so they sent the great buzzard from Galun’lati to prepare it for them. The buzzard flew down and by the time that he reached the Cherokee land he was so tired that his wings began to hit the ground. Wherever they hit the ground a mountain or valley formed.The animals then decided that it was too dark, so they made the sun and put it on the path in which it still runs today.

  2. The Iroquois account of demiurge is that in the beginning there was no earth to live on, only a watery abyss, but up above, in the Great Blue, there was a community called the Sky World including a woman who dreamed dreams.

    One night she dreamed about the tree that was the source of light. The dream frightened her, so she went and asked the men in the Sky World to pull up the tree. They dug around the trees roots to make space for more light, and the tree fell through the hole and disappeared. After that there was only darkness. Distraught, they pushed the woman through the hole as well. The woman would have been lost in the abyss had not a fish hawk come to her aid using his feathers to pillow her.

    The fish hawk could not keep her up all on his own, so he asked for help to create some firm ground for the woman to rest upon. A helldiver went down to the bottom of the sea and brought back mud in his beak. He found a turtle, smeared the mud onto its back, and dove down again for more. Ducks also brought beaksful of the ocean floor and to spread over the turtle’s shell.

    The beavers helped build terrain, making the shell bigger. The birds and the animals built the continents until they had made the whole round earth, while the woman was safely sitting on the turtle’s back. The turtle continues to hold the earth on its back.

    After this, one of the Spirits of the Sky World came down and looked at the earth. As he traveled over it, he found it beautiful, and so he created people to live on it and gave them special skills; each tribe of the Iroquois nation was given special gifts to share with the rest of humanity.

    more here

    • Edger on June 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    ‘What majestic trees!’ ‘What powerful rivers!’ What beautiful animals!’, he said to himself.

    As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look. He saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him. He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder & saw that the bear was closing in on him.  

    He  looked over his shoulder again, & the bear was even closer. He tripped  & fell on the ground . He rolled over to pick himself up but saw  that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw  & raising his right paw to strike him.  

    At that instant the Atheist  cried out,  ‘Oh my God!’  

    Time stopped…

    The bear froze…

    The forest was silent.

    As  a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky. ‘You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don’t exist and even credit creation to cosmic accident.’ ‘Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer’?

    The  atheist looked directly into the light, ‘It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps You could make  the BEAR a Christian’?

    ‘Very well,’ said the voice.  

    The light went out. The sounds of the forest resumed. And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head & spoke:  

    ‘Lord  bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.’

  3. here’s Joni…

  4. At first there was nothing

    Then god created light

    There was still nothing

    But now you could see it.

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