Rabbit Boy

Rabbit BoyRabbit Boy

White River Sioux

When the Earth was not yet finished and men could understand animals, Rabbit found something in the mists. It was a blood clot. Rabbit played with the clot and with the power of Takuskanskan, which is the mysterious power of motion, the blot clot grew a stomach and arms and legs. Finally it was a boy. Rabbit took the boy home to his wife and the two raised him as their own son.

Rabbit told the boy that he must go and find his own people when he was almost a man. Rabbit Boy left his home and found a tribe of people. There he was welcomed by most and they were intrigued. They did not know where he came from. The people wanted Rabbit Boy to marry into their tribe.

Iktome, the spider trickster man, did not want Rabbit Boy to marry into the tribe, moreover, he didn’t want Rabbit Boy to marry the woman that he was interested in. Iktome convinced some of the people to go alone with him against Rabbit Boy. He threw his magic hoop over Rabbit Boy, but it didn’t actually do anything, Rabbit Boy just pretended it did. They decided to cut Rabbit Boy up, but first Rabbit boy sang a song.

Friends, Friends,

I have fought the sun.

He tried to burn me up,

But he could not do it.

Even Battling the Sun,

I held my own.

Then Iktome and the others cut rabbit boy up into little tiny pieces, which they put into a soup pot. A dark storm arose and blotted out the light from the sun. As it was storming, the pieces of Rabbit boy pulled themselves back together and Rabbit Boy was whole again and his body left on a beam of light up into heaven.

Iktome was jealous of the village’s admiration for Rabbit Boy and decided that he could do the same thing.

The village tied Iktome the trickster spider man up. He sang th song, but it was wrong.

Friends, Friends,

I have fought the moon.

She tried to fight,

but I won.

Even battling the Moon,

I came out on top.

Well, the village cut up Iktome and his pieces didn’t reunite with one another. The spider trickster man had outsmarted himself.

Observations

I had loosely heard of a spider trickster in Native American tales, but hadn’t remembered it for a while. It’s strange that the spider is such a trickster, not only in Native American culture, but also in African culture. Anansi is also a spider trickster. Why is a spider so tricksy? Is it because it has eight legs, or eight eyes? Is it because it weaves webs? Is it because spiders lie in wait around corners and are just there to frighten us when we round the corner?

Themes

This story basically says it–sometimes a trickster tricks himself. Joke’s on you, buddy. It’s called backfiring. What goes around comes around. You’ll get it back seven times seven. There are probably more little snippets I could say.

Sometimes you’re being bad in some way and you think you’re going to come out of it for the better, but you know what, crime doesn’t pay. Eventually, it’s going to get back around to you, if not immediately like in this story, someday you’re going to get it. Maybe you’ll get an STD and that’s your payback or maybe your stolen money, or whatever the case may be, causes you misery for the rest of your life. Nope, going against society’s morals never really pays, at least in the long run.

Overall

I hope Rabbit Boy ended up happy wherever it is he went to.

Weigh In

What do you think happened to Rabbit Boy?
What do you think happened to Iktome?

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