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Oban's Myths & Legends

Why Chipmunks Have Stripes (continued)
A Native American - Seneca Story
retold by Sanjit

The sun rose Bear sat there all night without sleeping. Then birds began to sing and light glowed in the east.

Bear stood on his hind legs and raised his front paws towards the light. “The sun will not rise today”, he commanded.

Chipmunk came out of her burrow to watch.

The sun rose, and Bear was upset. Chipmunk giggled behind her paw, saying “the sun is stronger than Bear!” Then she ran around singing “the sun came up, the sun came up!”

Bear put out a paw to hold Chipmunk downBear started to get angry, and Chipmunk kept running and singing “Bear is angry, the sun came up!”

Chipmunk rolled on the ground laughing. Bear stooped over her and held her down with one paw. “If I can’t stop the sun from rising, you won’t live to see it set”, he growled.

Chipmunk squeaked up at BearChipmunk squeaked up at him “oh Bear! I shouldn’t have made fun of you. I deserve to die. But before you eat me please let me say a prayer to the Creator of all things!”

“Be quick then” said Bear. “Get on with it!”

Bear's pawChipmunk tried to wriggle under his paw, but it was crushing her. “Oh Bear! Your paw is so heavy and you are pressing so hard. I can’t breathe enough to say my prayer. Please could you lift your paw just a little bit?”

Bear's claws scratched Chipmunk's head and back and made stripesBear grunted and lifted up his paw just a bit. It was enough.

Chipmunk wriggled free and raced to her burrow.

Bear swung his paw at her and missed, but his long claws scratched her head and along her back, as she escaped.

Chipmunks now have stripes that look like these scratches.

They remind us what can happen if one animal makes fun of another.

Chipmunk's stripes like scratches


The End

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Animal Facts about Bears