The rabbit symbolizes growth, new beginnings, and rebirth.
AT FIRST THE INDIANS were under the ground, in a big hole. Then they all came out to walk upon the earth. When they came out, they bathed in a little creek. When they got through bathing, they found they had nothing to eat and no fire to cook on.
One man, who held some knowledge, told them how to make the fire. He said to take dry, soft bark and twirl a stick between their hands. A spark would then light the bark. The first man got some dry punk, which is decaying wood. One man made the spark while another caught it on the punk. They made a great fire, but they had no food to cook.
Another man then heard a noise a half a mile or so toward the north. He thought some animals might be there. So he sent two men to get some little trees, and out of the wood from these trees, he made bows and arrows. When they were ready, he sent the boys and men to find something to eat. They found deer, turkey, and bear and brought them back to camp. They now had plenty of meat they could cook over the fire. But they had nothing else to eat. They looked for something else and found swamp cabbage. A man cut it down and told the people to eat it raw, because they had no pots or kettles. As time went on, they learned to roast the swamp cabbage in the ashes of a fire.
They talked about how they were learning from each other, how one man knew how to make fire, and another how to make bows and arrows. Still others could hunt, and some could cook. Then one man said to another, “What shall we live in?” They had been sleeping in the grass but wanted more protection from the sun and rain. So they made themselves a house, like those the Seminoles live in now.
Then a horse and dog talked to one of the men. They talked like people. At that time the rabbit stayed with people, and he told lies all the time, but the dog and horse told the truth.
One day somebody found out that the rabbit lied. At that time he was always trying to be something he wasn’t. He would go away, and when he came back he would say he had seen things that he had not seen. He would say he had seen snakes, alligators, turkeys, and turtles.
The people did not know if they should believe this rabbit. So one of the men said to the rabbit, “If you find a snake, kill him and bring him back to camp. If you find an alligator, kill him and bring him back to camp as well.” The rabbit then left the camp and found a snake. He killed it and started to bring it back to show to the people. When the rabbit was bringing back the snake he saw an alligator. The alligator talked too, at that time. So the rabbit said to the alligator, knowing that the alligator could be a pretty dangerous character, “Somebody wants to see you back at the camp.”
The alligator believed this and went along with the rabbit. When they had gone about half way, the rabbit tried to kill the alligator. Rabbit beat at the alligator but could not kill him. Pretty soon the alligator got tired of the battle, and he went back to his cave. Then the rabbit came home with the snake.
When the man who had challenged the rabbit saw him, he was impressed. Rabbit had brought a snake, but not an alligator. But at that moment, the man thought he would like a turkey instead. So he said, “If you see a turkey, kill him and bring him home.”
So the rabbit started out to get a turkey, but figured it would be better to ask someone else to do the job. So he went to a wildcat and said, “You kill a turkey for me.” Wildcat went and found a turkey and killed him. Rabbit brought the turkey back to the camp and told the man that he had killed it. The man believed the rabbit’s story, and the rabbit continued to live with the people and tell his stories.
One day the rabbit wanted to get married. The man thought that because the rabbit had killed the turkey, he could provide for a family, so he married a girl. But, after the rabbit got married, he didn’t bring any food at all. The people found out that the rabbit did not kill the turkey, so they drove the rabbit away from the camp. And that is why the rabbit is wild today.