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54. RABBIT AND THE RIVER (55, 62, 66)

A man said that rivers ought to run straight, with the current in the middle. Then Rabbit said, "It is not well to have straight rivers."

Then the person asked who wanted to carry off the water in order to spill it about, and Rabbit said, "I will spill it." Then he stood there to take the water, but the man did not give it to him. Then the Rabbit wanted it in order to spill it. And when nobody was looking he stole the water and ran off with it.

p. 205

Then they chased him with dogs for four days. He became very tired and went into a hollow tree to hide. Big Man-eater remained there to watch him, while a man went for an ax, chopped into the tree and got him out. Then they took him to a place near the water. They made a box and were about to put him into it when he said: "Nail the box securely; I shall not die. Throw me far out into the ocean and in four days I shall come back." So they shut him in securely and said, "Now you are gone. It is noon and we will go to eat and then come back. You keep watch," they said to Big Man-eater. When they were gone to dinner Rabbit said, "My friend, my friend, open the box. I have something to tell you." So Big Man-eater opened the box and he came out. Then Rabbit said, "They want to send me to a place where there are some fine girls," and Big Man-eater answered, "Let me go to see the pretty women!" So Big Man-eater got into the box and lay down and Rabbit nailed it up. Then Rabbit hid himself.

After that the men came and took the box far out into the ocean and threw it away. They said, "Well, the Rabbit lied foolishly. Now he is gone," and they laughed. And in four days there was Rabbit coming back. Rabbit said, "I told you I would come back."

Next: 55. Rabbit Fools Big Man-eater