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Formerly there was no fire in this country; only on the other side of the ocean was it to be found. The people wanted fire but the owners would not let them have it and they remained without it. Then Rabbit said, "I can bring away some fire." A person who had many daughters sat among them and said, "Whoever goes over and brings back some fire shall be given one of these girls." But Rabbit said, "One woman isn't enough for me."

Big Man-eater said, "I can bring it," and the person replied, "All right, you go for it and bring it back." Then Big Man-eater wanted

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a woman, so he started off. He jumped into the ocean and disappeared and never came back. Then Rabbit said, "No one else can get back. But I know how to get back." So the man sent for him, and Rabbit said, "All right, I will bring fire and sleep with all of the young girls." The person said "All right." Then Rabbit wanted to set out quickly. He started, and when he got to the water he pulled off his shirt and threw it down, placed wood spunk upon this and sat upon it and went across with it. In that way he got over. He traveled on. When he said he wanted fire and they refused it, he seized some and ran away, and they pursued him. He ran with it through the woods. He got to the sea and stood by it. Then he rubbed pitch on the back of his head. When he had finished and was standing there and a person got through to him he jumped into the water with it. He swam with the fire held above the water in one hand. After some time he became tired and stuck the fire on the back of his head. The pitch took fire and he swam along with it blazing. So he got across. He came with it to the man who had sent him and the latter said, "Now these young women are yours." And Rabbit remained there very happy. That night when they were ready to lie down Rabbit said, "I am the one to sleep in the middle." After the women had spoken together they fixed the Rabbit's bed and said, "All is ready." When Rabbit lay down the women said to each other, "When Rabbit lies down, we will talk and laugh so that he will be very happy, and when he is settled we will play a trick on him. Holding his arms on each side we will pick him up, carry him outside, strip his shirt off, and whip him." When they got to bed they were going to have fun with him.

Then the Rabbit lay down between them and was very happy. Just as he lay they seized him to play a trick on him, carried him outside and tried to throw him down. Rabbit became very much frightened, and, as they kept on holding him, the skin came off of his back and he ran away.

Then he traveled on and met Big Man-eater and they spoke together. And Big Man-eater said, "How comes it that you are without a shirt?" "I am working," said Rabbit. "I have many women and am very happy." But Big Man-eater did not believe him.

Next: 53. Rabbit Obtains Fire