Bunny Cottontail and the Crane (Native American Folk Tale)

O-way-way-ham-by-yoh a mother rabbit and her son Bunny Cottontail lived in a hole in Prairie-dog-town. One day Bunny Cottontail slipped away from home in search of something to eat. He hopped away across the hills, and across a deep arroyo. An arroyo is a deep dry ditch in dry weather; but whenever it rains the water rushes down the arroyo and makes it a deep river. Now when Bunny Cottontail hopped across the arroyo it was dry; but after he got across, the rain fell very hard and fast. You have seen how hard it can rain, sometimes, and how fast the water runs down the ditches. Well that is the way it rained when Bunny Cottontail hid under a sage brush bush to keep himself dry. He was so frightened, that as soon as the rain stopped falling he started back home as fast as he could run. But when Bunny Cottontail reached the arroyo he could not get across. It had turned into a big river.

Poor Bunny Cottontail was cold and hungry. He wanted to go home to his mother. He was beginning to cry when a crane came along. The crane was walking in the water catching fish. He can take me across, thought Bunny Cottontail.

“Good afternoon, Uncle Crane,” said Bunny Cottontail, “my mother was talking to me just yesterday about you. She says you are my uncle and belong to our tribe. I am so glad to meet you. Won”t you please take me across the water so that I can run and tell my mother I have seen you?”

Now whenever two animals belong to the same tribe they have to help each other when either one gets into trouble. If the crane really belonged to Bunny Cottontail”s tribe, of course he had to take him across the arroyo. So the crane took Bunny Cottontail on his back and crossed the water.

When they got across, Bunny Cottontail jumped down off the crane”s back, ran up the steep little hill and called back to the crane:

“You are not my uncle. I just told you that to get a ride across the water.”

And Bunny Cottontail ran home as fast as he could to keep the crane from catching him and giving him the spanking he deserved.

Author Note: Hopi, 2nd Mesa

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