The Choke Cherry Wild Cat

Retold by Richard L. Dieterle

One summer when a man was out hunting, he came across bushes full of choke cherries. He stopped to eat some, spitting the pits into his hand. Then, unexpectedly, he heard a fearful noise which alarmed him. He looked around for some predator, but could not see anything. He began to load his musket, but found that he was out of shot, so he poured the choke cherry seeds down the barrel. He waited for the approach of the animal, which turned out to be a wild cat. He fired at the cat, then turned and ran.

A whole year past, and the man was out hunting again when his eye caught something moving. It looked like a choke cherry bush, but it was clearly moving along like an animal. So he waited in ambush, and when it came close enough, he shot it. It turned out to be the wild cat that he had peppered with fruit pits the year before. The choke cherries had grown in its head and matured. It struck him as being the funniest thing that he had ever seen.1

Commentary. This may simply be a "fish story" so to speak, but we cannot reject out of hand the possibility that choke cherries have something interesting in common with wild cats.


Links: Wildcats (Bobcats).

Stories: in which wildcats (bobcats) are characters: Hare Kills Wildcat, The Chief of the Heroka, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Silver Mound Cave, Old Man and Wears White Feather.

Themes: strange things happen to an animal that has been struck by a hunter: Fireman's Brother; a wildcat who frightened someone later dies at his hands: Hare Kills Wildcat.


1 "The Wild Cat that was Shot by Choke-Cherries," in Paul Radin, "Short Tales," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago IV, #7i, Story #20.