Hare and the Dangerous Frog (§12 of the Hare Cycle)

retold by Richard L. Dieterle


At night something approached the lodge where Hare and his grandmother lived and sang,

You who live with your grandmother,
Wherever you are,
I will track you with dogs,
and crush you in my mouth.

"Quick, grandmother," said Hare, "Let's hide under the reed mats, otherwise this thing will kill us." The creature sang again,

You who live with your grandmother,
If you hide in the reed matting,
I will find your scent with dogs.

"We'd better hide under the floor mats, since he won't be likely to find us there," said Hare; but again they heard the song in the night:

You who live with your grandmother,
If you hide under the floor mats,
I will find your scent with dogs.

"Grandmother," said Hare, "we had better change ourselves into pieces of charcoal and hide under the embers." Once again the creature sang from the dark,

You who live with your grandmother,
If you change into charcoal and sit under the embers,
I will find your scent with dogs.

Hare told his grandmother, "Our only chance now is to flee into the sky." but again the creature sang,

You who live with your grandmother,
If you flee into the sky,
I will find your scent with dogs.

This made Hare angry, and he grabbed his club and rushed outside, but he couldn't find anyone there. Grandmother said, "Look over in that direction, that is where the sound seemed to be coming from." So Hare looked where Grandmother suggested and found only a small frog. Hare angrily demanded, "Where do you get off talking to people like that!" and he smashed the frog with his club. Then he opened the frog's mouth and discovered that it was its set of long, sharp teeth that made it so bold; so he knocked out every one of them. Ever after frogs have had no teeth.1


Links: Hare, Earth, Frogs, The Sons of Earthmaker.

Links within the Hare Cycle: §11. Hare Kills Wildcat, §13. Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp.


Stories: featuring Hare as a character: The Hare Cycle, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Hare Acquires His Arrows, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Kills Wildcat, The Messengers of Hare, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Kills Flint, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, The Hill that Devoured Men and Animals, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Grandmother's Gifts, Hare and the Grasshoppers, The Spirit of Gambling, The Red Man, Maize Origin Myth, Hare Steals the Fish, The Animal who would Eat Men, The Gift of Shooting, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Petition to Earthmaker; mentioning frogs: The Stone that Became a Frog, The Two Boys, The Woman Who Became an Ant, Snowshoe Strings, Turtle's Warparty, Porcupine and His Brothers, Young Rogue's Magic; featuring Grandmother Earth as a character: Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Maize Origin Myth, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Grandmother's Gifts, Owl Goes Hunting, Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Kills Wildcat, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Necessity for Death, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Steals the Fish, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Kills Flint, The Gift of Shooting, The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man (vv 4, 6), Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Redhorn's Father (?); mentioning teeth: The Animal who would Eat Men, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Two Boys, The Birth of the Twins, The Twins Disobey Their Father, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Dipper, Wolves and Humans, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Children of the Sun, The Green Man, Holy One and His Brother, Partridge's Older Brother, The Brown Squirrel, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Shakes the Messenger, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, White Wolf, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth.


Themes: a small animal was once dangerous, but was rendered innocuous in primordial times: The Green Man (cricket), The War among the Animals (mouse), The Two Boys; animals that are not now carnivorous, in primordial times sought to eat human flesh: The Animal who would Eat Men, The War among the Animals, The Two Boys; as punishment for its temerity, a spirit knocks the teeth out of an animal's mouth: Holy One and His Brother, Hare knocks out the teeth of an animal that threatened humans so that its kind ceases to pose a threat ever again: The Animal who would Eat Men (v. 1) (an elk), The Animal who would Eat Men (v. 2) (an eel).


Songs. Bladder, Song about the Older Brother (v. 2), Bladder, Song about the Older Brother (v. 3), Buffalo Dance Songs, Clan Songs, Bear Clan, Clan Songs, Bear Clan, Song for Returning, Clan Songs, Bear Clan, Song for Starting Out, Clan Song, Bear Clan, Song of the Youngest, Clan Songs, Buffalo Clan, Clan Songs, Buffalo Clan, The Four Songs of Hojanoka, Clan Songs—Deer Clan, Clan Songs—Wolf Clan, Clan Songs—Wonáǧire Wąkšik Clan, The Crawfish's Song, Duck Song, Farewell Songs, The Four Services Songs, Grandfather Sparrow's Rain Songs, Grizzly Bear Songs, Hare's Song to Grasshopper, Hare's Song to the Wągepanįgera, Hare's Song to Wildcat, Hawk's Song, Heroka Songs, Holy Song, Holy Song II, Little Fox's Death Song, Little Fox's Death Song (for the Warpath), Little Fox's Tail Song, Love Song I (female), Love Song II (female), Love Song III (female), The Mouse Song, Nightspirit Songs, The Quail's Song, Redman's Song, Slow Song of the Heroka, Soldier Dance Songs, Song for Calling the Buffalo, Song from the Water, Song from the Water (King Bird), The Song of Bluehorn's Sister, Hočąk Text — The Song of Sun Caught in a Net, The Song of the Boy Transformed into a Robin, Song of the Frog to Hare, Song of the Thunder Nestlings, The Song of Trickster's Baby, Song to Earthmaker, The Song to the Elephant, The Sun's Song to Hare, Three Warrior Songs, Turtle's Call for a Warparty (v. 1), Turtle's Call for a Warparty (v. 2), Turtle's Four Death Dance Songs, Twins, Ghost's Song (v. 1), Twins, Ghost's Song (v. 2), Twins, Ghost's Song (The Two Brothers), Twins, the Songs of Ghost and Flesh, Twins, Song of the Father-in-Law, Victory Song, Wailing Song, Warrior Song about Mąčosepka, What a Turtle Sang in His Sleep, Wolf-Teasing Song of the Deer Spirits. Songs in the McKern collection: Waking Songs (27, 55, 56, 57, 58) War Song: The Black Grizzly (312), War Song: Dream Song (312), War Song: White Cloud (313), James’ Horse (313), Little Priest Songs (309), Little Priest's Song (316), Chipmunk Game Song (73), Patriotic Songs from World War I (105, 106, 175), Grave Site Song: "Coming Down the Path" (45), Songs of the Stick Ceremony (53).


Notes

1 Paul Radin, Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature (Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1948) 106-107. Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (New York: Schocken Books, 1956) §17, pp. 80-81. The original Hočąk text is missing, but the English translation of Oliver LaMère is preserved in Paul Radin, "The Hare Cycle," Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3851 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago IV, #1: 91-96.