Sea Otter cradles baby

The Otter Who Lost His Coat

As Told by Soulful Stuff

Tonight the story is about the otter who lost his coat…and found it again.

The story was told to me as a child…but this version has been taught to me by Freeman Owle,

an elder with the EBCI. Please remember him in your prayers…as this is the story of the circle of life….

a story that honors the hope of our children.

 

Back when the trees grew so tall that 7 people could encircle them….

and the chestnut trees were so bountiful that the chestnuts were 6” deep on the ground—

and the water was so sparkling clear that you could drink from almost any stream—

and the streams bulged with fish…..

Can you imagine such a place and time?

 

So it was for the Cherokee long, long ago….and so the Cherokee tell these stories to their children…..

because the Cherokee know that just as the monarch returns to the exact branch where it was born….

and the salmon returns to the precise place where it was spawned….so all life is completed…

the circle will be completed and life will return to the Source. And so, the children listen….

and grow in wisdom.

 

One day, many of the animals were gathered in the tribal council house .

The discussion began out of wonder which of the animals have the most uwoduhi coat.

Rabbit, ever the trickster, was off to the side listening carefully. The rabbits nose twitched this way

and that way and he edged closer to the fire. Finally, he could endure no longer and jumped to the

center of the circle. “I have the most beautiful coat, do I not?”
Bear spoke up. “If we are to properly decide this question, we must have a contest.

At this contest ALL the animals must be present….and otter is not here. “

 

Rabbit twitched and jumped—and ever the trickster—said…”I will be glad to go and invite otter.

Then, we will see who has the best coat of all! I will go right away!”

 

And so it was that Rabbit set off on a long journey through the forest to find Otter.

After 3 days, Rabbit found otter in the river swimming and happily minding his own affairs.

Rabbit called out to otter . “We are having a contest with all the animals to see who has the most beautiful coat—

we need you to come for your coat is also beautiful!”

 

Otter shook his head and thought the idea a bit “weird” but, still he came to the shore.

I will come with you, Rabbit.”

And so the Otter and the Rabbit set off to the tribal house to join the others for the wonderful contest.

 

They traveled for a day and when night began to fall, they looked for a place to camp.

Otter was settling in a very comfortable spot when he noticed that Rabbit was chewing

very diligently on a piece of wood.
“What are you doing with that wood, Rabbit?” he asked

“Oh, Otter I am making a wooden paddle!” Rabbit said

“A wooden paddle?” laughed Otter “But you have no canoe—why do you need a wooden paddle?”

 

“Oh, Otter. I place the paddle under my head when I sleep and the paddle gives me the most amazing dreams”

Rabbit said excitedly.

Otter thought Rabbit was still a bit “weird” but he did notice that Rabbit snored a lot and seemed to sleep well.

Otter thought no more of it and slept himself.

 

The next morning, Rabbit and Otter set off for the Tribal council house together, and, again,

the day was closing and the night was falling. The council house was still a days’ journey so

they found a place where they could rest for the night.

 

No sooner did they find a spot, not far from the river, and Rabbit began to chew all the small oak

trees between the path and the river so that all that was left was one hollow log.
The Otter shook his head again and asked the Rabbit why he was chewing down all the trees

between the path and the river.

“Oh” said Rabbit ” Sometimes at night it rains fire here and we will need to have a open path to the

river just in case. As a matter of fact, you might want to put your coat in this hollow log while you sleep—just in case.”

 

The Otter again shook his head, and thought the Rabbit was a bit “weird” but he did place his coat in the

hollow log and hunkered down not far from Rabbit fast asleep on his paddle.

While Otter slept, Rabbit very quietly took the paddle from underneath his head and scooped up

several of the hot embers from the campfire. Ever so quietly, he tiptoed over to Otter and leaning over him ever so carefully……

 

Rabbit threw the coals up in the air and yelled, “It’s raining fire! It’s raining fire! Run quickly, it is raining fire!”

After getting burned a bit, Otter jumped up and ran very quickly to the river, and jumped in!

Rabbit, ever the trickster, stole the coat from the hollow log. He put on the coat and headed off to the council house.

Poor Otter was left in the river licking his wounds! 

 

The animals at the council house thought they saw Otter coming and wondered where Rabbit could be.

Rabbit in otter’s coat went into the council house and took his place. Bear called Rabbit in Otter’s coat to the stage.
“Osiyo, Otter! We are glad you could come and join the contest.” Rabbit carefully covered his nose,

so no one would see he was not truly the otter. But the wise Bear said,

” Please move your paw from your face so I can truly see to whom I am speaking!”  

 

Rabbit tried to ignore the request,but Bear swatted the Rabbit’s paw from his face.

Then, Bear saw the little twitching…and the little split nose….and growled…”Where is otter!”

All the animals chased the Rabbit from the council house and never again was Rabbit invited to a council meeting!

 

The animals returned the coat to the otter and declared he had the most beautiful coat.

The Cherokee children are told this story so they will know not to go out and steal someone else’s beauty.

Each and every child has his or her own type of beauty and all is valuable and a gift.

Each and every child has a special beauty—all a blessing and honor when they walk in truth.

This is the story still told to the Cherokee children today.

 

Thanks Soulful for this wonderful story.  Not only is Soulful a great story teller, she also

makes makes wonderful jewelry.  Here is a sample:

 

 

1 responses to “Wednesday Night Camp Fire Story As Told By Soulful Stuff”

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