Published on January 17, 2013 by Casey
One time Manabush (the Rabbit) was traveling through the forest and came to a clearing on the bank of a river. He saw the Saw Whet Owl perched on a twig, but it was almost dark and Rabbit could not see very well. He said to Saw whet, “Why do you like it dark? I don’t like it to be dark, so I will make the daylight.” Then the Saw whet said, “If you think you are strong enough, then do it. But let us have a contest to see who is stronger and whoever wins can have it the way that he likes.”
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Then Rabbit and Owl called all the animals and birds together. Some wanted Rabbit to win so that it would always be light. Others liked the dark and wanted Saw Whet to win.
The contest began. Rabbit began repeating “Light, Light,” while Owl kept repeating “Night, Night.” If one of them make a mistake and said his opponent’s word, he would lose. So Rabbit kept saying “Light, Light,” and Saw whet continued “Night, Night.” The birds and animals cheered on their heroes. Finally Owl accidentally repeated Rabbit’s word “Light” and he lost the contest.
Rabbit decided that it should be light, but he also decided that night should have a chance for the benefit of the loser and all of the animals and birds he represented. This pleased everyone.
(Adapted from “Some Menominee Indian Folk Tales,” 1974, Manitowoc County Historical Society Monograph 23: 6-8.)