New Year's Eve is Waltz Day!
THE RABBIT ESCAPES FROM THE WOLVES
Some Wolves once caught the Rabbit and were going to eat him when he asked leave to show them a new dance he was practicing. They knew that the Rabbit was a great song leader, and they wanted to learn the latest dance, so they agreed and made a ring about him while he got ready. He patted his feet and began to dance around in a circle, singing:
Ha′nia lĭl! lĭl! Ha′nia lĭl! lĭl!
On the edge of the field I dance about—
Ha′nia lĭl! lĭl! Ha′nia lĭl! lĭl!
“Now,” said the Rabbit, “when I sing ‘on the edge of the field,’ I dance that way”—and he danced over in that direction—“and when I sing ‘lĭl! lĭl!’ you must all stamp your feet hard.” The Wolves thought it fine. He began another round singing the same song, and danced a little nearer to the field, while the Wolves all stamped their feet. He sang louder and louder and danced nearer and nearer to the field until at the fourth song, when the Wolves were stamping as hard as they could and thinking only of the song, he made one jump and was off through the long grass. They were after him at once, but he ran for a hollow stump and climbed up on the inside. When the the Wolves got there one of them put his head inside to look up, but the Rabbit spit into his eye, so that he had to pull his head out again. The others were afraid to try, and they went away, with the Rabbit still in the stump.
I mentioned the Groundhog version, which comes a few pages later in Mooney's book. Margaret Read MacDonald in her excellent Twenty Tellable Tales uses the "Groundhog Dance. I recommend looking up what she says afterwards. Her "Notes on Telling" are definitely worth reading. Beyond that her folklore-related "Comparative Notes" talks about this fitting the Thompson Motif K606 and says variants can be found in Africa, India, Indonesia, plus similar ones in Iceland and Ireland where the watchmen are sung to sleep.
Stay up late to dance the New Year in, but maybe look up those other versions if all that dancing leaves you too wound up to sleep. Any way you work it, may stories be with you now and in the New Year.
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain." The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated. I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century. My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them. I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.
At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience. Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week. This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here. (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.) Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection. I have long recommended it and continue to do so. He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories. There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.
Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"