How Rabbit Got Long Ears


Published Linked-In November 10, 2015

When I was growing up my mother used to tell the seven of us children many tales often using animals to illustrate lessons she wanted us to learn about integrity and character which are the core of her Japanese heritage. My father would tell us real-life stories of his adventures on great ships to nearly every continent on our planet including those he learned from other Native/Indigenous communities. Many of these stories are passed down through oral tradition. These stories impacted how I viewed the world and what I absorbed in my young spirit.

Even as a adult, I will often read stories shared by the elders to teach us very simple lessons about human nature, the consequences for uncaring behavior and yes– the outcome of lies. It seems in our fast-paced, technology driven world, some people find it easy to weave webs of mistruth or fabricate something to frighten or anger others–the media, often plays upon human fear and it is disheartening. Here is a story told by the Mi’kmac people. Glosscap is the warrior pictured above. He is Creator who is believed to have created the earth and her people.

HOW RABBIT GOT HIS LONG EARS A Mi’kmac Legend A long time ago when Rabbit was first on this earth he had very short ears. One day he had nothing to do. He was very bored so he decided to play a trick on all the other animal’s. He told Beaver, “Did you know that the sun was not going to rise again?” Of course Beaver told Squirrel and Squirrel told Chipmunk and Chipmunk told Skunk and so on. The story soon got around and all the animals were worried. The animals were all upset. They said, “If the sun is not going to shine anymore it will be dark and cold like winter. We will have to gather our food and get ready right now.” Even Bear was worried. He began to eat and eat the blueberries around him so he could grow fat and store his food. Squirrel was busy gathering all the nuts he could find. Everyone was busy getting ready for the sun not to shine again. They had no time to play even though it was a nice summer day. Now Rabbit really thought this was funny. He hide in the bushes. He was laughing and laughing as he watched the other animals all running around trying to get ready for the sun not to shine anymore.

Along came Glooscap. Normally the animals were all very glad to see Glooscap. They usually gathered around to talk to him. But this day no one run up to greet him. Glooscap asked Bear, “How are you? How is everything going?” Bear said, “I don’t have time to talk to you.” Glooscap just kept walking. No one paid any attention to him. Glooscap went back to Bear. “What’s wrong with you? You’re not talking to me. What is going on? Talk to me. Something is wrong!” Glooscap said.”Well, don’t you know?” Bear said. “The sun is not going to shine anymore and we have to hurry up. I have to get ready for winter now. That is what everyone is doing.” Glooscap told bear, “Whoever told you that story is lying. It’s not true.” So Glooscap called a meeting with all the animals and they all gathered around him in a circle. He got to the bottom of it. He said, “Who told you Bear?” Bear said, “Raccoon told me.” And Raccoon said, “Well, Chipmunk told me.” Everyone said who they heard the story from, all the way down to Beaver. Beaver said, “It was Rabbit that told me.” Glooscap said, “Well, where is Rabbit?” Rabbit was really scared so he hid in the bushes. Glooscap knew for sure then that Rabbit had started the story. “Where is Rabbit?” he asked again. “Not here. He is gone. He must be hiding,” Beaver said. Glooscap went and looked in the bushes. He found Rabbit and when he did he grabbed him by his ears and lifted him up.

That is how Rabbit got his long ears.


(c) Elizabeth Asahi Sato, Rise to Excellence

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