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HOW THE CHIPMUNK GOT ITS STRIPES


Long ago when animals could talk, a bear was walking along.
Now it has always been said that bears think very highly of themselves. Since they are big and strong, they are certain that they are the most important of the animals. As this bear went along turning over big logs with his paws to look for food to eat, he felt very sure of himself. "There is nothing I cannot do," said this bear.

"Is that so?" said a small voice. Bear looked down. There was a little
chipmunk looking up at Bear from its hole in the ground.
"Yes," Bear said, "that is true indeed." He reached out one huge paw and
rolled over a big log. "Look at how easily I can do this. I am the strongest of
all the animals. I can do anything. All the other animals fear me."
"Can you stop the sun from rising in the morning?" said the Chipmunk.
Bear thought for a moment. "I have never tried that," he said. "Yes, I am
sure I could stop the sun from rising."
"You are sure?" said Chipmunk.
"I am sure," said Bear. "Tomorrow morning the sun will not rise. I, Bear,
have said so." Bear shat down facing the east to wait.
Behind him the sun set for the night and still he shat there. The chipmunk
went into its hole and curled up in its snug little nest, chuckling about how foolish Bear was. All through the night Bear sat. Finally the first birds started their songs and the east glowed with the light which comes before the sun. "The sun will not rise today," said Bear. He stared hard at the glowing light. "The sun will not rise today."

However, the sun rose, just as it always had. Bear was very upset, but
Chipmunk was delighted. He laughed and laughed. "Sun is stronger than
Bear," said the chipmunk, twittering with laughter. Chipmunk was so
amused that he came out of his hole and began running around in circles,
singing this song:
"The sun came up, The sun came up. Bear is angry, But the sun came up."
While Bear shat there looking very unhappy, Chipmunk ran around and
around, singing and laughing until he was so weak that he rolled over on his
back. Then, quicker than the leap of a fish from a stream, Bear shot out one
big paw and pinned him to the ground.
"Perhaps I cannot stop the sun from rising," said Bear, "but you will never
see another sunrise."
'Oh, Bear," said the chipmunk. "oh, oh, oh, you are the strongest, you are
the quickest, you are the best of all of the animals. I was only joking." But
Bear did not move his paw.
"Oh, Bear," Chipmunk said, "you are right to kill me, I deserve to die. Just
please let me say one last prayer to Creator before you eat me."
"shay your prayer quickly," said Bear. "Your time to walk the Sky Road has
come!"
"Oh, Bear," said Chipmunk, "I would like to die. But you are pressing down
on me so hard I cannot breathe. I can hardly squeak. I do not have enough
breath to say a prayer. If you would just lift your paw a little, just a little bit,
then I could breathe. And I could say my last prayer to the Maker of all, to
the one who made great, wise, powerful Bear and the foolish, weak, little
Chipmunk.
"Bear lifted up his paw. He lifted it just a little bit. That little bit, though, was
enough. Chipmunk squirmed free and ran for his hole as quickly as the
blinking of an eye. Bear swung his paw at the little chipmunk as it darted
away. He was not quick enough to catch him, but the very tips of his long
claws scraped along Chipmunk's back leaving three pale scars.
To this day, all chipmunks wear those scars as a reminder to them of what
happens when one animal makes fun of another


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Last modified: May 13, 2003