The Fox and the Fry Bread
Apalachicola Creek Animal Stories
from Pine Arbor Tribal Town Trickster Tales

Original Drawing by Tosh Bibb

      Like ol' Rabbit and the wily Coyote, Mr. Fox was bad about tricking other animals whenever an opportunity slid into his lap. Now and then, one of those other animals occasionally tricked that Fox. This usually happened when hunger had a good hold on Mr. Fox. Then, it was his stomach that ruled, not his brain. In fact, we heard it like this . . . long before Indians had corn.

       One time ol' Mr. Fox happened upon Rabbit sitting on a little hill gazing quietly at a pool of water. Being somewhat hungry and thinking his friend Rabbit (did I say friend?) would make a pleasant little snack, Fox thought he should mosey over and check out the "vittles" situation.

       "Whatcha doin' Rabbit?" asked Fox, all famished. Of course, Fox thought to himself what a fool that Rabbit was . . . just sitting there in the open like that.

       "I'm looking at that pool. Isn't it beautiful?" Rabbit said to ol' bushy tail.

      "Well, I don't see anything special about it," retorted Fox. This Rabbit really is a flake, thought the Fox. He deserves to be eaten and right now, too!

      "Naturally, you can't see it yet but soon, tonight, there will be something very special about this pool," Rabbit replied.

        "How can that be?" asked a curious Fox--curiosity does cloud one's thinking.

      "Well now," Rabbit said, "just tuck up your tail and have a 'sit down' right here; I'll tell you all about it. You know how those Creek women gather acorns each year and make some really good sweet acorn flour--now don't you?"

      "Yeah, I've spied upon'em many a time when they go agathering," Fox added.

        "Then surely you know those Indian women make the world's best golden yellow acorn bread. They get that acorn flour all ready, sweeten it with wild honey, flatten it out and cook it in succulent bear fat," said Rabbit.

      "Hush, furry, you're making me mighty hungry," spoke the red haired Fox.

      Rabbit continued--"That bread is the reason tonight is special. You see, all the women got together today and made a very special piece of golden yellow acorn bread--oh, it's so-o-o bi-i-i-i-g! It's an offering, a gift for One Above, the Creator. They're thanking Creator for all the good things Creator has provided everyone--and, they're going to put it in One Above's favorite pool tonight. I heard them talking about it when I was hiding in the garden eating their beans."

      "Rabbit, you're not only furry but downright stupid, too, if you expect me to believe that," ol' Mr. Fox answered.

      "No, wait, you'll see," Rabbit replied. Just then, the sun went down and night fell quickly. The two sat quietly for a while. Rabbit was contemplating the genius of his own story while that starving Fox was deciding how best to eat his friend, Rabbit. (Did I say friend, again?) Suddenly, Fox was astonished to see something that looked just like a huge piece of golden yellow acorn bread slide into the pool of water. He was amazed!

      "Well I'll be--why I never--" The sight of that delicious looking bread--the mere sight of it, nearly caused Fox to faint from hunger. It was the biggest piece of bread in the whole world!

      "How can we get it?" yelped the ol' Fox.
      "Ah, that is a sacred gift--you don't want to eat that," answered Rabbit.

        "Why, I'm so hungry I could eat a whole bear--fur and all." volunteered a famished Fox.

      "Don't be greedy, silly Fox," spoke Rabbit. "Creator might send you trouble instead of bread if you bother that." However, Fox insisted he must have that bread, no matter what. Rabbit got up and took Fox to the pool's edge. My, that was one large piece of bread! Fox could see it clearly on the other side.

      "If you insist," Rabbit continued, "I'll tell you how to get it. Just start drinking--it's a small pool, and you'll draw it over to you--just like that!" Then, Rabbit just sat back watching as Fox began lapping the water furiously. It was all Rabbit could do not to burst out laughing. Fox drank and drank and drank . . . and then drank some more.

      Finally, the pool shrunk to a very small puddle--Fox's belly grew to an enormous size. Mr. Fox raised his head, bared his teeth to bite the bread and--

      Just then, Rabbit tossed a stone into the remaining puddle; the golden yellow acorn bread turned into ripples and rings of light!

      Suddenly, Fox realized that he had been tricked by Rabbit and his own hunger into thinking the reflection of the moon was fried golden yellow acorn bread. Old Mr. Fox tried to chase Rabbit but his full belly of water kept him firmly anchored in place. Rabbit merely skipped off a short distance away, sat down and commenced to laugh and laugh . . . then laughed some more.

      "If you were not so greedy," said Rabbit, "you would not be in such a predicament now! And, as you were warned, you must suffer for trying to steal One Above's fry bread."

        Rabbit laughed and laughed the night away while a bloated and miserable Fox whimpered and moaned 'til dawn. Ever since then (and out of sympathy for their cousin, the Fox), the whole Canine Nation, all dogs, coyotes and wolves howl at each full moon. I wonder why?

      [This ancient tale is important because it preserves a glimpse of pre-maize subsistence patterns. It warns listeners about inherent toxic dangers in the vegetable kingdom.]

               Drawn by Tosh Bibb
Mr. Wolf CAUTIONS : Never, never eat acorns or cook with acorns unless a knowledgeable elder teaches you how to select, gather, leach and prepare the right kinds of acorns. Many acorns have bitter toxins which can make the unsuspecting very sick! Properly prepared acorns, like hickory nuts, are delicious.

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