Sunday, March 14, 2021

Why Ducks Have Short Tails And The Coon Must Go Barefooted

Why Ducks Have Short Tails And The Coon Must Go Barefooted [Red Folk And Wild Folk]

Why Ducks Have Short Tails And The Coon Must Go Barefooted [Red Folk And Wild Folk]

Ever since the coon was made small he has played all sorts of tricks on the animal people, to get the kind of food he liked best. Once he caught a frog sitting upon a rock by the side of a lake. In the lake lived many little fish, and the coon wanted them ; so he told the frog to go down into the water and tell the fish to shut their eyes and swim about in the warm, spring sunshine.

"If you promise to do as I say," said the coon, “I will let you go." Of course the frog did not want to be eaten; so he promised, and down he went into the water and sent the poor little fish to be eaten by the hungry coon. They swam to the top, and, before any of them knew what was happening, the coon had eaten all he wanted. That was why the fish became enemies of the frog, and now the fish eat frogs whenever they catch them.

After the coon had eaten all the breakfast he wanted, he went to sleep and did not awaken all day until it was getting dark; then he opened his eyes and hurried to find his supper, for he was hungry again. “I will look for a frog," he thought, and hunted all around the lake; but he could not find one. Then he put his hands into all the little holes around the edge, and still he could not catch a frog. “I must have some more fish," said the coon. “Frogs, frogs!” but the frogs were afraid to come and only answered, “croak, croak."

“They say, ' Drink ! Drink ! ' " thought the coon, and he went to the water to drink. Then he called again.

“Croak, croak, croak," answered the frogs,

“Why do you say, 'drink more water ‘? I cannot drink any more, I am hungry! "

“Croak, croak, croak," answered the frogs.

 “I will not listen to your stupid, ' Croak, croak, croak,' I am hungry! “called the coon impatiently.

As the coon started to go away, he looked far out on the lake, and there he saw some ducks swimming about, with their beautiful long tails spread out on top of the water. Ducks had long tails in those days, and they were very proud of them. “I shall get some supper now," thought the delighted coon. “I will play a trick on those vain old ducks." So he built a good big fire on top of a little ridge, and then he lay down, pretending to be dead. He knew the inquisitive ducks would want to find out what it all might mean. Pretty soon the ducks saw the fire and started for the shore. They stopped every little while to eat something floating on top of the water — perhaps a frog, some wild celery or rice—and it took them a long time. When they finally reached the shore they looked around. Everything seemed all right there; so they shook the water off their backs, settled their feathers and then shook their fine long tails.

“Quack," said the leader. That surely meant, “Follow me," in their language, for all the ducks followed, and such a quacking you never heard! They were not at all polite; but all talked together, each trying to tell first what that strange light might mean.

 In the mean while the big fire the coon had built began to spread. It got closer and closer to the coon; but he did not dare move, lest he should frighten the ducks.

"If they will only hurry ! This fire is burning my feet. I can stand it no longer! “and up jumped the coon on the rocks. Then he ran as fast as he could go

 “Quack!” cried the leader. “Quack," answered the others, and they ran as fast as their waddling little legs would carry them. The coon kept getting nearer and nearer. He could ran much faster than the ducks, and he would have caught them if the fire had not got quite so hot. As it was he just caught the leader by his beautiful long tail. The duck was so anxious to get away that he pulled as hard as he could, and the tail came out. Since that day ducks have short tails.

A little Indian village was not far away, and, when the boys saw this big fire on top of a hill in the woods, they hurried out to see what it might mean. When they reached the lake, they saw the coon standing there with a handful of feathers, while the ducks and their leader who had lost his beautiful tail were swimming off. How the boys did laugh! and when they looked at the coon's hands and feet, they were bare. He had left the hair and skin where ever he had jumped on the rocks.

 “Now you will always have to go barefooted, because you play so many mean tricks on the little animal people who are weaker than you are." And the coon has had to go barefooted ever since as a punishment.

The hair and skin that he left upon the rocks started to grow, and now people who do not know what they really are, call them lichens and mosses.