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(Tuggle collection)

In the beginning all the animals held a meeting and agreed that each should select a tree the fruit of which should belong to the descendants of the chooser. The first choice fell to the Rabbit, who went down to a river and ran slowly up the bank looking first at one tree and then at another. At last he stopped under a sycamore tree and, seeing the large balls hanging from its limbs, he chose the sycamore. All the other animals picked out such trees and fruits as they liked, the Raccoon taking muscadines and the Opossum persimmons, till all the different fruits were taken. Then the Rabbit, becoming hungry, ran down to his big tree and hunted on the ground for some of the fine balls, but none were on the ground. He looked up into the tree and there were hundreds on the limbs. Thinking some would fall in a little while, he sat under the tree and waited. Night came and he hopped away home hungry. Next day he came back and looked again on the ground. None of the balls had yet fallen. He sat under the sycamore all that day and again had to go to bed hungry. The third day he came to his tree and his body was thin and his eyes were big, and they got bigger looking while he longed for the balls to fall to the ground. His body got thinner and his eyes bigger and all his descendants have been like him. He waited till he nearly perished, and at last he decided to go around at night and steal from the other animals, as there were no more trees from which he could select. In this way the Rabbit learned to steal for a living and he has always kept up the habit.

Next: 68. Why the Opossum Looks Ashamed