The Pet Rabbit
A Sioux Legend
A little girl owned a pet rabbit which she loved dearly. She carried it on her back like a babe, made for it a little pair of moccasins, and at night shared with it her own robe.
Now the little girl had a cousin who loved her very dearly and wished to do her honor; so her cousin said to herself, "I love my little cousin well and will ask her to let me carry her rabbit around;" (for thus do Indian women when they wish to honor a friend; they ask permission to carry about the friend's babe).
She then went to the little girl and said, "Cousin, let me carry your pet rabbit about on my back. Thus shall I show you how I love you."
Her mother, too, said to her: "Oh no, do not let our little grandchild go away from our tipi."
But the cousin answered: "Oh, do let me carry it. I do so want to show my cousin honor."
At last they let her go away with the pet rabbit on her back. When the little girl's cousin came home to her tipi, some rough boys who were playing about began to make sport of her. To tease the little girl they threw stones and sticks at the pet rabbit.
At last a stick struck the little rabbit upon the head and killed it.
When her pet was brought home dead, the little rabbit's adopted mother wept bitterly. She cut off her hair for mourning and all her little girl friends wailed with her.
Her mother, too, mourned with them.
"Alas!" they cried, "alas, for the little rabbit. He was always kind and gentle. Now your child is dead and you will be lonesome."
The little girl's mother called in her little friends and made a great mourning feast for the little rabbit. As he lay in the tipi his adopted mother's little friends brought many precious things and covered his body.
At the feast were given away robes and kettles and blankets and knives and great wealth in honor of the little rabbit. Him they wrapped in a robe with his little moccasins on and buried him in a high place upon a scaffold.
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