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The Amazing Adventures Of Master Rabbit
by [?]


I. How Master Rabbit sought to rival Keeoony, the Otter

Of old times, Mahtigwess, the Rabbit, who is called in the Micmac tongue Ableegumooch, lived with his grandmother, waiting for better times; and truly he found it a hard matter in midwinter, when ice was on the river and snow was on the plain, to provide even for his small household. And running through the forest one day he found a lonely wigwam, and he that dwelt therein was Keeoony, the Otter. The lodge was on the bank of a river, and a smooth road of ice slanted from the door down to the water. And the Otter made him welcome, and directed his housekeeper to get ready to cook; saying which, he took the hooks on which he was wont to string fish when he had them, and went to fetch a mess for dinner. Placing himself on the top of the slide, he coasted in and under the water, and then came out with a great bunch of eels, which were soon cooked, and on which they dined.

“By my life,” thought Master Rabbit, “but that is an easy way of getting a living! Truly these fishing-folk have fine fare, and cheap! Cannot I, who am so clever, do as well as this mere Otter? Of course I can. Why not?” Thereupon he grew so confident of himself as to invite the Otter to dine with him–adamadusk ketkewop–on the third day after that, and so went home.

“Come on!” he said to his grandmother the next morning; “let us remove our wigwam down to the lake.” So they removed; and he selected a site such as the Otter had chosen for his home, and the weather being cold he made a road of ice, or a coast, down from his door to the water, and all was well. Then the guest came at the time set, and Rabbit, calling his grandmother, bade her get ready to cook a dinner. “But what am I to cook, grandson?” inquired the old dame.

“Truly I will see to that,” said he, and made him a nabogun, or stick to string eels. Then going to the ice path, he tried to slide like one skilled in the art, but indeed with little luck, for be went first to the right side, then to the left, and so hitched and jumped till he came to the water, where he went in with a bob backwards. And this bad beginning had no better ending, since of all swimmers and divers the Rabbit is the very worst, and this one was no better than his brothers. The water was cold, he lost his breath, he struggled, and was well-nigh drowned.

“But what on earth ails the fellow?” said the Otter to the grandmother, who was looking on in amazement.

“Well, he has seen somebody do something, and is trying to do likewise,” replied the old lady.

“Ho! come out of that now,” cried the Otter, “and hand me your nabogun!” And the poor Rabbit, shivering with cold, and almost frozen, came from the water and limped into the lodge. And there he required much nursing from his grandmother, while the Otter, plunging into the stream, soon returned with a load of fish. But, disgusted at the Rabbit for attempting what he could not perform, he threw them down as a gift, and went home without tasting the meal.

II. How Mahtigwess, the Rabbit Dined with the Woodpecker Girls, and was again humbled by trying to rival them.

Now Master Rabbit, though disappointed, was not discouraged, for this one virtue he had, that he never gave up. [Footnote: It will be seen in the end that this great Indian virtue of never giving in eventually raised Rabbit to power and prosperity. Il y a de morale ici.] And wandering one day in the wilderness, he found a wigwam well filled with young women, all wearing red head-dresses; and no wonder, for they were Woodpeckers. Now, Master Rabbit was a well-bred Indian, who made himself as a melody to all voices, and so he was cheerfully bidden to bide to dinner, which he did. Then one of the red-polled pretty girls, taking a woltes, or wooden dish, lightly climbed a tree, so that she seemed to run; and while ascending, stopping here and there and tapping now and then, took from this place and that many of those insects called by the Indians apchel-moal-timpkawal, or rice, because they so much resemble it. And note that this rice is a dainty dish for those who like it. And when it was boiled, and they had dined, Master Rabbit again reflected, “La! how easily some folks live! What is to hinder me from doing the same? Ho, you girls! come over and dine with me the day after to-morrow!”