Rabbit Tricksters

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"Good Morning," said Br'er Rabbit.

“Good Morning,” said Br’er Rabbit.

Rabbit Tricksters

May: The Tricksters Week #2

This week we are working with the Trickster Rabbit. The tale we have chosen is from Africa, “‘Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby.” This beloved story became well-known and popular after Walt Disney made the movie “The Song of the South.” In the story, Brer Rabbit out-smarts Br’er Fox by convincing him that being thrown into the Briar Patch would be the cruelest, meanest, and most horrific death anyone could suffer.

Since Fox despises Br’er Rabbit, he can’t wait to toss him into the brambles. Br’er Fox is caught up in the imagery of sharp thorns and twisted tangles. He has forgotten the fact that Br’er Rabbit was born and raised in the Briar patch. So, in the end Br’er Rabbit is able to out “fox” the fox.

Another very popular Rabbit Trickster we all know and love is Warner Bros. cartoon character, Bugs Bunny. Bugs is a wonderful  Trickster.  He is always out smarting, tricking, and making a fool of Elmer Fudd, who is determined to catch the silly “wabbit” and eat him.

The idea that the obsessive predator ends up hurting himself more than the pry is funny. When the pry out-smarts the predator, it reminds us that life is complicated and not always predictable.  In the Trickster Stories we know that the victim will be in serious danger; a huge rock is falling directly above his head, and we know that somehow, someway the victim will escape unharmed. But how? This is the part I love, at the very last-minute, it happens, the victim escapes danger.  I’m surprised by the interception and the way the story goes  sideways.  I love that danger is foiled. I am delighted that the underdog wins.  I realize that thinking  sideways and outside the expected opens up new possibilities.  I always admire the predator’s perseverance. I love the prey’s cleverness and laugh at the surprise appearance of the unforeseen.

There is a story called “Coyote fights a Lump of Pitch,” told by the White Mountain Apache that is very similar to Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby. Once again, the prey out-smarts the predator. (You can read the full tales by clicking on them under Monthly Tales shown on the Menu above.)

In my collage, Br’er Rabbit is greeting the Tar Baby. Trickster Rabbit thinks of himself as a sociable fellow, gracious enough to bless others with a kind word or two.  When Tar Baby doesn’t reply, Br’er Rabbit is taken aback.  Doesn’t Tar Baby realize who has greeted him?  Doesn’t he know that he is in the presence of Br’er Rabbit? How dare he be rude.

On the other hand, Br’er Rabbit did put himself out there, sort of extended a hand in friendship, why is the Tar Baby ignoring his greeting?  The message in this exchange is that when you greet someone and they do not respond in kind it may have nothing to do with you.   In a way,  this exchange, or lack there of, is a reminder to us all that you shouldn’t take other peoples rudeness personally, after all, Tar Baby didn’t speak because he was a “Tar Baby”.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced the feeling of being ignored by someone you’ve  reached out to, but I certainly have. It causes negative feelings to rear their ugly heads. When it happened to me I remember feeling both embarrassed and very annoyed.  Br’er Rabbit’s reaction to the Tar Baby feels familiar.  However, what is different about Br’er Rabbit’s reactions and mine are, I would not  punch, kick, sock or head-butt anyone.  I probably would have my feeling hurt and go off pouting while grumbling and carping all the way.

There are many sayings that this folktale embraces. For an example … I have felt tarred and feathered … I  have out foxed a fox … I’ve been in thorny situations …  I can get very stuck and I have come-up with ideas that have saved the day.  How about you?

Poetry Page

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Sometimes our collage work inspires a poem, or, more rarely, a poem inspires a piece of art.  Furthermore, our work is full of certain themes, symbols and concepts that reappear again and again.  Occasionally, we’ve already created a poem or collage around an image and now  find ourselves playing with it again here, at Two Twitch a Tale.  This is just the sort of synchronicity Trickster might indulge in during one of his more beneficent moods!

Trickster stories take many forms,  but they have one thing in common, they always underscore the connectivity of all things.  Trickster engages with any and all, even stones and Tar Babies; no animal is too insignificant or two grand to escape his attention, and Trickster wants a piece of their action, no matter how humdrum.  One of his jobs is to advise us to pay attention to those strings of connectivity, lest we trip over them and land splat! face down in the mud.

At the heart of poetry is metaphor – metaphor comes from the Greek root words μετά (meta), “between”  and  φέρω (pherō), “to bear”, “to carry.   Today,  metaphor “describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object.”  In other words, a metaphor makes a connection or rather uncovers the connection between seemingly disparate objects, people, events, etc.  It facilitates the transfer of meaning from one thing to another.

So in honor of Coyote, Rabbit, Raven, Spider and all other Tricksters and they ways they serve us, we’ve created a poetry page to archive the poems related to themes in our artwork.  Want to play along?  Send us a poem related to one of our topics and we’ll feature it here.

May: The Tricksters

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For the Month of May we will be working with a few Native American Tricksters and other Tricksters in myth and legend. Tricksters  reminds us to laugh at ourselves and not take life to seriously. In American Indian tales and legends, the “Trickster” can be several characters.  Often he is Coyote, but Coyote has friends who are sometimes tricksters too. There is Raven, Blue Jay, Beaver, Iktome, (the Spider man), The Great Rabbit, fox and Mink. There are also human tricksters.. Wasichu, a sharp trader, the Old Man of the Blackfoot and Crow.  Even Whisky Jack takes his turn playing the prankster and troublemaker.

We focus this month on different tricksters and their qualities. Sometimes the Trickster is clever, other times he is stupid. He is always chasing after pretty women. He will cheat if it serves his purposes. He lies,  steals and rebels against the rules. He is a prankster and full of paradox. Sometimes he is the creator, sometimes he is a hero who saves the day.

In our first tale, which comes from the White River Sioux, Coyote is the trickster who learns the hard way about the rules of the Giveaway.  The second week we’ll be working with Br’er Rabbit.  Rabbit is a trickster animal among Native Americans, but this story migrated to the Americas from Africa, however Michelle and I have both loved this story since we were kids – so Br’er Rabbit it is! There is also a Native American story called, “Coyote fights a Lump of Pitch” which is told by the White Mountain Apache. It is very similar to Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby. You can find it posted with the rest of our tales. (You’ll find it as a sub-category of Br’er Rabbit) The third week we’ll explore a tale about Raven which comes from the Pacific Northwest and the fourth week we’ll feature (Iktome (Spider).

May: “The Trickster”

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This month’s Tale is about the Native American “Trickster.”

For the Month of May we will be working with the Trickster. The Native American character who reminds us to laugh and not take life to seriously. In American Indian tales and legends, the “Trickster” can be several characters.  Often he is Coyote, but Coyote has friends who are sometimes tricksters too. There is Raven, Blue Jay, Beaver, Iktome, (the Spider man), The Great Rabbit, fox and Mink. There are also human tricksters.. Wasichu, a sharp trader, the Old Man of the Blackfoot and Crow.  Even Whisky Jack takes his turn playing the prankster and troublemaker.

We focus this month on different tricksters and their qualities. Sometimes the Trickster is clever, other times he is stupid. He is always chasing after pretty women. He will cheat if it serves his purposes. He lies,  steals and rebels against the rules. He is a prankster and full of paradox. Sometimes he is the hero, sometimes he is the creator and saves the day.

In our first tale, which comes from the White River Sioux, Coyote is the trickster who learns the hard way about the rules of the Giveaway.

“Coyote, Iktome, and the Rock.”

White River Sioux

On a warm day, Coyote and Iktome, (Spider man),  are hiking along and see a big beautiful rock with moss veins. Coyote decides to give his Indian blanket to the Rock. He says, “Why this is a nice-looking rock. I think it has power.”  He places his thick blanket on the rock and says, “Here, Iya, take this as a present. Take this blanket, friend rock, to keep warm so you will not freeze. You must feel cold.”

Coyote turns to his friend Iktome and tells him, “I’m always giving things away. The rock, Iya, looks real nice in my blanket.”
“His blanket, now”, says Iktome.

Later that week when it starts raining, and it is quite cold,  Coyote has second thoughts about his Giveaway. He wants his nice thick blanket back. He and Iktome have gone into a cave to keep dry but Coyote is shivering from the cold.  He tells his friend to go back to Iya and get the blanket.

When Iktome asks the rock for the blanket, the rock says no.  He reminds Iktome, “What is given is given. Iktome goes back and tells Coyote. Coyote is outraged, goes to the Rock, and demands the blanket back.
“No!” says the rock, “What is given is given.”
Coyote jerks the blanket away. “Don’t you care that I am freezing to death? I could catch a cold.” Wrapping the blanket around him self, Coyote says, “There, that’s the end of it.”
The rock says, “By no means is this the end.”

Coyote, wrapped in the blanket, goes back to the Cave and he and Iktome wait out the storm. When the sun comes out Coyote and Iktome, go out side and sun them selves. After a while Iktome says, “What’s that noise?”
“What noise?”
“A crashing, a rumble far off.” says Iktome.
Then they see the great rock rolling, thundering, and crashing down upon them.
“Run,” says Coyote.
They run as the great rock, Iya follows. They swim the river, and Iya follows. They run in the thick forest, and Iya follows. Wherever they go, Iya follows until they run out into the flats.

“Oh no” says Iktome, this is not really my quarrel and he rolls himself into a tiny ball and disappears down a mouse hole. Coyote runs as fast as he can but the big rock is close on his heels. Then Iya, the big rock, rolls right over Coyote, flattening him out altogether.
Iya takes the blanket and rolls back to his own place, saying, “So there!”

A rancher riding along sees Coyote lying there all flattened out. “What a nice rug.” He says rolling Coyote up. He takes the Coyote rug  home and puts it in front of his fireplace. Whenever Coyote is killed, he can make himself come back to life, but this time Coyote takes the whole night to pull himself up into his usual shape. In the morning, the rancher’s wife tells her husband, “I just saw your rug running away.”

Now, Friends, hear this: Always be generous in heart. If you have something to give, give it forever.

I hope you enjoy this tale.

Art: MAY: The Tricksters

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"Good Morning," said Br'er Rabbit.

Trickster WK#2 Rabbit
“Good Morning,” said Br’er Rabbit.

Iktome and the Ducks_0001_NEW

Tricksters: WK#4 Iktome and the Ducks

Trickster: WK#3   Raven MeetsThe Man Who Sits On The tide

Iktomi's Duck Feast

Tricksters: WK#4
Iktomi’s Duck Feast

Trickster WK#2 Rabbit Tarred!
Trickster WK#2 Rabbit Tarred!
Trickster Week #1: Coyote

Trickster
Week #1: Coyote

Tricksters WK#1 Coyote's blanket

Tricksters WK#1 Coyote’s blanket

Adam & Eve The Serpent Week #5

Adam & Eve The Serpent Week #5

The Serpent Pandora's Box wk#5

Adam & Eve The Serpent Week #5

Color of Hope

Coloring

pandoras BOX 200 dpi

Pandorawk3a

Bremen Town Musicians

The Harbinger

The Harbinger
Week#2 Positive Curiosity

Hope is the Thing week #2 Positive

Hope is the Thing
week #2 Positive

On the Way to the Wedding

On the Way to the Wedding
Week #1 The Big Picture

Pandora'skey#1Pic0005

Pandora’s Keys
Week #1 The Big Picture

Monthly Tales

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The Monthly Focus Tale
Each month there will be a focus Tale or a focus Category. Category meaning,  a collection of very short stories … fairy tales, myths, fables or plays that share a common theme.  At the end of the Month we will select a new Monthly Focus Tale and Post it here. This will serve as our platform, or focus for the following month.
(The weekly prompts will remain the same (see Prompts)

2013

July

Two Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

The Ugly Duckling
The Princess and the Pea
Plus a bonus tale: King Pierus and his Daughters
(Calling the Muses)

June

The Young Krishna: A Hindu tale.

May                                                                                                                                           Native American Myths and Tales from the Pacific Northwest about Tricksters.  “The Tricksters.”  Each week we will explore a different trickster. 1st week,  Coyote,  2nd week, Rabbit,  the third week, Raven, and the last week, Spider.

April                                                                                                                                  Pandora’s Box: A Greek Myth.   Since there are 5 Mondays in April on the 5th week we added Adam and Eve,  and The Bremen Town Musicians

March
The Brothers Grimm’s Fairytale “The Fisherman and His Wife.”

February
The Brothers Grimm’s Fairytale “Little Red Riding Hood.”
Bonus Extra Tale: “Imbolc; Bridget’s Day”




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