Sacred Texts  Native American  Southeast  Index  Previous  Next 

34. THE TAR BABY (63)


One man was master of the water. Whoever wanted water would pay that man, but Rabbit stole some and drank. After a time the man who was master of the water found out that someone had been stealing it. He thought of a way to find out who it was. He set up a doll made of tar where the person would pass.

Now when Rabbit got to the place he saw a black person standing near the water. Rabbit said to him, "Get out of my way at once. I am going along that way as I have been in the habit of doing." The doll did not move. Therefore, Rabbit said, "I will hit you." When it did not move Rabbit came up close and said, "If I hit a person he always dies." He hit it and his hand stuck. "If I hit a person with one of my hands he always dies." he said. He hit it with his other hand and that also stuck. "If I hit a person with my

p. 111

head he also dies," he said. He hit it with his head and that stuck. "My feet are not stuck," he said. So he kicked it and his feet stuck. The Rabbit was stuck to the doll.

Next day the man who was master of the water discovered him. He said to him, "You are the one who has been stealing and drinking the water," but Rabbit answered, "I have not stolen any water from you, but was just passing along the road. The little black man stood there and I said to him, 'Move out of my way.' He would not move out of my way so I hit him and he got hold of me and I have sat here until day." The man said, "Was it not you who stole the water from me?" and Rabbit said, "I have never stolen any water from you." "If that is so, I will let you go, but you must look out for me. If you find out who has been stealing the water, you must tell me," he said. Rabbit said, "All right." So the man let him go, and he ran off and disappeared.

This is how it is told.

Next: 35. The Bungling Host