Here is the story of how Manabozho disguised himself as a rabbit in order to bring the gift of
fire to his people, the Ojibwe.
Once, many years ago, Manabozho asked his grandmother,
Nolomis, why the people had to freeze all winter long, in the cold, northern weather. He wanted to know if there
was not some way in which the people could manage to stay warm and cozy, through the long winters.
Nokomis answered that it was rumored that, in a
far off land, an old man had the gift of fire. However, he was a selfish person, and refused to give it to anyone
else. Instead, he kept it hidden, to be used only by himself and his daughters.
Manabozho told Nokomis that he wanted to journey
to this land, in order, to get some of this fire, from the old man. Nokomis didn't want Manabozho to travel so
far, but she knew that he would go anyone, once his mind was set. So, she wished him well, as he set off. As Manabozho
left their camp, he told his grandmother to be ready with the kindling, when he returned.
When Manabozho came close, to the camp, of the
old man, he decided to stop and think of a plan for getting inside. He decided to disguise himself as a rabbit,
hoping that the man's daughters would feel sorry for him and carry him inside, away from the cold.
Manabozho's plan worked just as he had expected
and the younger daughter, seeing him shivering in the cold, tucked him under her shawl, and carried him inside.
The old man, however, was very angry about this.
He did not allow any strange beings in his lodge, not even a rabbit. Growing drowsy from the fire's warmth, however,
the old man fell asleep and didn't think of the rabbit again.
The girls put the rabbit (Now, remember, this was
really Manabozho) near the fire to warm and left him to prepare their father's dinner. No sooner had the girls
turned their backs, than Manabozho caught a spark of fire, on his back, and ran off. When the girls realized that
they had been fooled, there was quite a commotion, but by then, there was nothing that they could do about it.
Manabozho ran and ran. As he neared the camp, he
called out to Nokomis to have the kindling ready. Of course, she did. She took the spark of fire from the rabbit's
back, and soon had the fire burning, in their lodge.
By now, Manabozho had changed back into himself
and he went outside and called, to the people, to come and take a spark, from the fire. He told them that in that
manner, they would be able to keep themselves, and their children warm, throughout the long, cold winter months.
That is all.