THE RACCOON AND THE CRAWFISH
Sharp and cunning is the raccoon, say the Indians, by whom he is
named Spotted Face.
A crawfish one evening wandered along a river bank, looking for
something dead to feast upon. A raccoon was also out looking for
something to eat. He spied the crawfish and formed a plan to catch
He lay down on the bank and feigned to be dead. By and by the
crawfish came near by. "Ho," he thought, "here is a feast indeed;
but is he really dead. I will go near and pinch him with my claws
and find out."
So he went near and pinched the raccoon on the nose and then on his
soft paws. The raccoon never moved. The crawfish then pinched him
on the ribs and tickled him so that the raccoon could hardly keep
from laughing. The crawfish at last left him. "The
raccoon is surely dead," he thought. And he hurried back to the
crawfish village and reported his find to the chief.
All the villagers were called to go down to the feast. The chief
bade the warriors and young men to paint their faces and dress in
their gayest for a dance.
So they marched in a long line--first the warriors, with their
weapons in hand, then the women with their babies and children--to
the place where the raccoon lay. They formed a great circle about
him and danced, singing:
"We shall have a great feast
"On the spotted-faced beast, with soft smooth paws:
"He is dead!
"He is dead!
"We shall dance!
"We shall have a good time;
"We shall feast on his flesh."
But as they danced, the raccoon suddenly sprang to his feet.
"Who is that you say you are going to eat? He has a spotted face,
has he? He has soft, smooth paws, has he? I'll break your ugly
backs. I'll break your rough bones. I'll crunch your ugly, rough
paws." And he rushed among the crawfish, killing them by
scores. The crawfish warriors fought bravely and the women ran
screaming, all to no purpose. They did not feast on the raccoon;
the raccoon feasted on them!