One Native American legend describes how, many years ago, people and animals shared the same language, the same land, and often, the same problems. When the earth was young, it was a cold and barren place. Life was hard for all the animals of the world except the weasels, who happened to live on an island that had once been struck by lightning. The lightning had produced fire, but the cunning weasels wouldn’t share their warm fire with the other animals of the world, who watched from afar, sad and cold.
One day, crafty rabbit decided to do something about it. He gathered all the people and animals around and assured them that he was going to secure fire for all, so that their lives would be happy and long. They scoffed and shook their heads in disbelief. “Surely rabbit’s plan will fail,” they thought. “Even using his head, he cannot outsmart the deadly weasels!”
But use his head he did. He covered himself in pine tar and swam across the water. The pine tar kept rabbit warm, and soon he reached the weasels’ island. With pine tar staining his fur, the weasels mistook the rabbit for one of their own, and didn’t pay him any mind. Rabbit crept over to the fire and silently began to shape the fur on his head into a wick.
Suddenly, the weasels heard a loud “poof!” Rabbit had lit his hair on fire and was running for the water! The weasels screamed and hissed, but rabbit was already swimming back to shore, keeping the flame above water the whole while. The weasels stood and watched helplessly as rabbit swam away through the icy water. In the end, rabbit successfully brought the world fire just as he said he would—using his head!
The gods were so moved by rabbit’s courage, good heart and intelligence that they took him to heaven and placed him in the moon, so that he might eternally look down and witness the blessing he had given the world. Look at a full moon and you will see rabbit smiling back at you!