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How Chipmunk Got its Stripes

Published June 30, 2011
Countries: USA (Native American, USA
Age Levels: None

Bear was big. Bear was strong.  But, Bear was not kind to others.  Bear liked to bully others.  Bear wanted everyone to look up to him.

"I am big.  I am strong," said Bear.  "I can do anything."

"No, you can't." said Chipmunk.  Chipmunk was tired of Bear trying to act more important than everyone else.  You can't do everything."

"Yes, I can," said Bear.  "I am big.  I am strong.  I can do anything.  Look, see how strong I am."  Bear pulled up a tree by the roots.

"You are strong, Bear.  But, you can't keep the sun from coming up."

"Yes, I can," said Bear.  "I can do anything."

"No, you can't!"

"Yes, I can."

"Prove it," said Chipmunk.

"Prove it," said the other animals.

"Tomorrow I will stop the sun from coming up.  You will see how strong I am," bragged Bear.  As the sun set in the west, Bear sat down and faced east, the direction in which the sun rose.  Chipmunk and all the other animals sat down behind Bear.  Bear sat in the dark all night long.  Finally, the birds began to sing.  Birds always sing before the sun comes up.

Bear stood up as the morning light began to show in the sky.  "I am Bear.  I am strong.  The sun will not come up."  But the sun began to climb out of the black sky.

"I am Big.  I am strong." said Bear.  "The sun will not come up!"

But, the sun kept climbing in the sky.  Chipmunk laughed, "Bear, Are you sure that you can do anything?  I don't think you can do everything."

Bear growled at Chipmunk.  Then he looked at the sun.  It was nearly all the way up in the sky.  Bear tried one more time.  "I am Big.  I am strong.  The sun will not come up!"  But the sun came up.

Bear turned around and looked at the other animals.   They were all laughing.  Chipmunk was laughing.  He was laughing so hard that he ell down on the ground.  He laiughed until his belly hurt.  Then Bear said, "I could not stop the sun from rising, but I can eat you!" 

Bear reached out his paw and slammed it down on Chipmunk's back and pinned him to the ground.   

Chipmunk said, "I should not have teased you, Bear.  You are big.  You are strong.  Please let me say my prayers before you eat me.  I deserve to die.  Just let me say my prayers."

"Say your prayer quickly," said Bear.

"You are holding me so tight," said Chipmunk, "I cannot breathe.  Let me loose to say my prayer before you eat me."

Bear lifted his paw just a bit.  Chipmunk squeezed out from under Bear's claws and ran towards his hole.  He almost was in his hole when Bear's claws raked across his back leaving three long scratches across Chipmunk's backs. 

Bear is still big.  Bear is still strong.  But, Bear is not very smart.  He does not remember hurting Chipmunk so many years before.  But, Chipmunk still remembers.  He has three long scars along his back as a reminder of what happens when one animal makes fun of another.