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How Master Lox As A Raccoon Killed The Bear And The Black Cats
by [?]

how Master Lox As a Raccoon Killed the Bear and the Black Cats and performed other Notable Feats of Skill, all to his Great Discredit.


Now of old time there is a tale of Hespuns, the Raccoon, according to the Passamaquoddy Indians, but by another record it is Master Lox, to whom all Indian deviltry truly belongs. And this is the story. One fine morning Master Lox started off as a Raccoon; [Footnote: The same stories are attributed to the Wolverine, Badger, and Raccoon.] for he walked the earth in divers disguises, to take his usual roundabouts, and as he went he saw a huge bear, as the manuscript reads, “right straight ahead of him.”

Now the old Bear was very glad, to see the Raccoon, for he had made up his mind to kill him at once if he could: firstly, to punish him for his sins; and secondly, to eat him for breakfast. Then the Raccoon ran into a hollow tree, the Bear following, and beginning to root it up.

Now the Coon saw that in a few minutes the tree would go and he be gone. But he began to sing as if he did not care a bean, and said, “All the digging and pushing this tree will never catch me. Push your way in backwards, and then I must yield and die. But that you cannot do, since the hole is too small for you.” Then Mooin, the Bruin, hearing this, believed it, but saw that he could easily enlarge the hole, which he did, and so put himself in arrear; upon which the Raccoon seized him, and held on till he was slain. [Footnote: As Reynard, the Fox, won the victory in the famous tale versified by Goethe. Vide Reinecke Fuchs.]

Then he crawled out of the tree, and, having made himself a fine pair Of mittens out of the Bear’s skin, started off again, and soon saw a wigwam from which rose a smoke, and, walking in, he found a family of Begemkessisek, or Black Cats. So, greeting them, he said, “Young folks, comb me down and make me nice, and I will give you these beautiful bear-skin mittens.” So the little Black Cats combed him down, and parted his hair, and brushed his tail, and while they were doing this he fell asleep; and they, being very hungry, took the fresh bear-skin mitts, and scraped them all up, and cooked and ate them. Then the Coon, waking up, looked very angry at them, and said in an awful voice, “Where are my bear-skin mitts?” And they, in great fear, replied, “Please, sir, we cooked and ate them.” Then the Coon flew at them and strangled them every one, all except the youngest, who, since he could not speak as yet, the Raccoon, or Lox, thought could not tell of him. Then, for a great joke, he took all the little dead creatures and set them up by the road-side in a row; as it was a cold day they all froze stiff, and then he put a stick across their jaws, so that the little Black Cats looked as if they were laughing for joy. Then he made off at full speed.

Soon the father, the old Black Cat, came home, and, seeing his children all grinning at him, he said, “How glad the dear little things are to see me.” But as none moved he saw that something was wrong, and his joy soon changed to sorrow. [Footnote: This trick is so precisely in the style of Lox that it seems a gross mistake to attribute it to the Raccoon. Those who have seen a wild cat grin will appreciate the humor of Lox on this occasion.]

Then the youngest Black Cat, the baby, came out of some hole where he had hid himself. Now the baby was too young to speak, but he was very clever, and, picking up a piece of charcoal, he made a mark from the end of his mouth around his cheek. [Footnote: The reader cannot fail to recall the peculiar mustache of the Raccoon so well indicated by the infant artist.] Then the father cried, “Ah, now I know who it was,–the Raccoon, as sure as I live!” And he started after him in hot pursuit.