Oban's Myths & Legends
Why The Deer's Teeth Are Blunt
Native American - Cherokee Legend
retold by Oban
A long time ago Deer and Rabbit challenged each other to a race, to see which of them was the fastest.
Beaver carved a set of beautiful antlers as a prize and Bear chose a dense thicket for them to race through.
Rabbit tried to win by lying and cheating, and the other animals declared Deer the winner.
The day after the race Rabbit was still angry and jealous of Deer and his new antlers.
“I am going to get even with Deer,” Rabbit said to himself as he made a plan.
He pulled a long grapevine from the bushes and gnawed it in the middle, almost all the way through. Then he stretched it across the trail between two trees, knotting it around the tree trunks so the vine was higher than his head.
Next he found a black locust twig and gnawed the middle of it with his sharp teeth, until the wood was chewed and softened. Then he hopped to the side of the trail and hid the twig in some rocks.
Rabbit waited until he saw Deer coming along the trail, proudly wearing his antlers.
Rabbit took a good run and jumped up at the vine. He came back to his starting point and did it again.
“What are you doing?” asked Deer.
“I’m practicing my jumping,” said Rabbit. “I am going to bite that grapevine in half with one bite.”
“That’s impossible!” said Deer.
“Watch me do it!” shouted Rabbit. He took a huge leap at the vine and bit it easily in half where he had gnawed at it before.
“Wow! That was amazing,” said Deer. “But if you can do it so can I.”
Rabbit stretched another grapevine across the trail. But this time he didn’t gnaw any part of it.
Deer ran as fast as he could, took a long leap at the vine, and tried to bite it in the middle.
The vine didn’t break and he was thrown backwards and flipped over onto his back. Luckily his antlers weren’t damaged.
“It’s OK, I’m good!” shouted Deer as scrambled up and dusted himself off.