November 14, 2014

Rabbits and Turkeys Omaha Legend


According to an Omaha legend, Rabbit was going somewhere. At length he reached a place where there were wild Turkeys.“Come,” said Rabbit. “I will sing dancing songs for you.”


Turkeys went to him saying, “Oho! Rabbit will sing dancing songs for us!”

“When I sing for you, you larger ones must go around the circle next to me. Beware lest you open your eyes. Should one of you open his eyes, your eyes shall be red,” said Rabbit.

Then he began to sing,

Alas for the gazer!
Eyes red! Eyes red!
Spread out your tails!
Spread out your tails!

Whenever a large Turkey came near, Rabbit seized it and put it in his bag. While he was putting in a Turkey, another one opened his eyes a little, and [Pg 83] exclaimed, “Why! He has captured nearly all of us large ones!”

Off they all flew with a whirring sound.

Rabbit took home those he had in his bag, saying to his grandmother, “Do not look at what is in that bag! I have brought it home on my back and I wish you to guard it!”

Then he went out to cut spits on which to roast the Turkeys. When the old woman was alone, she thought, “What could he have brought home on his back?” So she untied the bag, and when she looked in out flew all the Turkeys, hitting their wings hard against the grass lodge, and flying out the smoke hole. The old woman barely killed one by hitting it. At length Rabbit came home.

“Oh I have inflicted a severe injury on my grandchild,” she said.

“Really,” he answered. “Grandmother, I told you not to look at it.”

But that is why Turkeys have red eyes.

Omaha Legends
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