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The Deer People's Horns

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

As told by Wolf-Walker Conley, Powwaw: During a recent walk of the beautiful river bottom land behind my home, I startled a small herd of white tail.

This silent gang reminded me of a story told to me many years ago as a child.

“Long ago the deer people possessed no horns and their heads were smooth and flat like a horse, but this changed as most things do…

A small foolish rabbit loved to tease the deer that he was the fastest animal in the forest.  The other animals grew tired of his bragging and decided it was time for Rabbit to prove himself. A race between the rabbit and a strong young buck was arranged.

The winner it was decided would receive a fine headdress of carved sumac antlers. The race was to be held at an old thicket, the winner was to run to the far side and back without disturbing so much as a single leaf.  The crafty rabbit knew the sure-footed deer was better suited, so he suggested that he be allowed to check the course out before the run. They all thought this to be fair and the rabbit disappeared into the thicket.

After a long while with no rabbit returning, the animals sent a crow to check on him. The crow found rabbit creating a path for himself by chewing off much of the undergrowth.

Crow returned and reported the rabbits’ doings. When the rabbit returned, the animals told him they knew of his trickery. When challenged he denied the crows’ report.

For dishonoring himself and his fellow, they sent Rabbit away and forbid him to live with all other animals. The fine headdress was given to the deer, but the humble deer said that he had not won fairly and would only wear the horns part of the year.

Rabbit went off to live a life of hiding and to this day the rabbits are nervous, jumpy things.”

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