How Raccoon Got the Circles Around His Eyes and Tail
A Micmac Legend
Long ago, there was a village where two unhappy blind men lived. They were unhappy because they were unable to do things for themselves. So they decided that they would sit on a log in the woods forever.
One day the mighty warrior Kluskap, who was returning from a hunt, noticed the two men sitting on the log. He approached them and asked “What’s wrong? Why are you sitting here?”
One of the men said “We are not wanted. We can’t take care of ourselves or anyone else, so we will just stay here in the woods until we die.”
Kluskap could not let the men just sit there, so he built them a wigwam. He also gave them a rope.
“What is this for?” the men asked.
“You must take the rope down to the river. There you will tie one end of the rope to a tree near the water and the other end of the rope to your pail. Now you can get water for yourselves, for when you are thirsty you can toss the pail out into the river and when you pull it back it will have water in it.” Kluskap explained.”
Little did they know that someone was watching them. Raccoon had been secretly watching the two men, trying to find out why they had been sitting on the log. Raccoon chuckled to himself and said, ” I will have some fun with these two!” So he sat and waited.
When the first man went to the river for water, Raccoon went with him. He took the pail and threw it into the water. When he had done this, =accoon quietly moved the pail into the sand.
When the man pulled the pail in there was no water in it, only sand. He went back to his friend and said “Our river has gone dry! There is no water, just sand!”
His friend laughed in disbelief. ” You’re just lazy, you probably didn’t even go for water.”
The first man became angry. “You don’t believe me, but I am telling the truth!”
The second man went down to the river and he too was followed by Raccoon who made sure that it filled with water. The man returned to the wigwam with his pail of water.
“See, I have brought water! I knew you were just lazy!” he said angrily. The two men began to fight.
Raccoon, who had been watching the mischief he had caused, suddenly noticed that the first man had started supper. Raccoon wandered over and saw four pieces of meat in the cooking pot. He helped himself to two pieces of the meat and went and hid with his treasure.
When the fighting had ended the first man went to the pot and took two pieces of meat for himself. When the second man went to his supper there was nothing left. This made him angry.
“You are not only too lazy to get water but now you steal my supper! There is nothing here!” he cried.
“What foolishness is this?” said the first man. I cooked four pieces of meat and took two, there should still be two left in the pot!”
Raccoon sat back laughing as the men began to fight once more.
Just then Kluskap appeared. Rushing over he separated the two men and asked: “Why are you fighting?”
“Because of him.” said the second man pointing at the first. “He is too lazy to get water and tried to say that the river was dry! I went down to the river and there is plenty of water, and now he has taken my supper and I have nothing to eat!”
That’s when Kluskap heard laughter. He turned and saw Raccoon rolling on the ground and laughing. Suddenly, he knew what had happened.
He quickly captured Raccoon and carried him to the campfire. He took a coal from the fire and marked a black circle around each of Raccoon’s eyes.
“This is for the two pieces of meat that you stole from two blind old men. These marks will always show you to be a thief and you will be known as a thief wherever you go,” said Kluskap.
Then Kluskap used the coal to draw four rings around Raccoon’s tail. “And this is for the times you made these men fight. You will always remember this, because these marks I have given you will stay with you forever.”
This is why Raccoon looks like a bandit and still bears the marks of Kluskap.
adapted by Cat from the Micmac story.