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Stealing a Tail for Fox

North America and later Asia, America?

Long ago, when Buffalo roamed the plains, Fox had no tail. Everyone made fun of him for it. Of course, he wanted a tail, so he asked Raccoon to donate part of his tail. Raccoon refused, because he was very proud of his tail.

So Fox asked Bobcat. Then, Bobcat had a very poofy tail. Bobcat was happy to lend him her tail, planning to kill him and feed him to her babies. So she would give him her tail, but said she ‘needed time to say goodbye to it first’, so Bobcat invited Fox to lunch the next week. Fox was overjoyed, and skipped home, undaunted by taunts and teases. Meanwhile, Bobcat got ready to kill Fox. She decided she would not need help, because she was queen of the forests then. Her babies were hungry and slowed her progress.

Fox came by the next week, but Bobcat was not ready. She was asleep, and when Fox went inside her den, he saw unfinished plans drawn on the floor of her den. He was horrified, but decided he could sneak into her room and take the tail without getting killed. Fox crept up to where she was sleeping, but the babies were awake. Their mewlings of hunger awoke Bobcat, whose tail had been stolen! She chased Fox very far but could not catch him.

Meanwhile, Fox had run across plains and into another forest. He was walking across the ocean when he looked into the water. There was another Fox, quite less beautiful than himself, of course, but it had a tail better than his! He would snatch the other tail and have two tails! Yet when he opened his mouth to take it, he dropped Bobcat’s tail into the water! Now he had no tail, and was quite sad.

Fox continued across the ocean and reached a place where he knew almost no animals. They were all very strange. By and by, he learned their names, and one he liked in particular was Red Panda. Red Panda had a very, very long tail, and was red like Fox. Fox asked Red Panda to give him half of his tail. Red Panda was very happy to help Fox, as Fox had saved his life many times. Red Panda cut off half of his tail and gave it to Fox. Fox was engulfed in vanity and soon stopped thinking about anything but his tail. Red Panda felt rejected and used. He vowed to get back at Fox.

Red Panda invited all the animals in the forest to a celebration of Fox’s new tail. All the animals were confused, but willing to participate. Red Panda told Fox about the party and he was thrilled. Red Panda was going to give Fox one more chance to give up vanity at the celebration, but Fox had found out beforehand and was vengeful that Red Panda would try and trick him. Fox attacked Red Panda and took his tail. Red Panda was furious. Fox had taken the rest of his tail! Red Panda challenged Fox to a duel to see who could keep the tails, yet nobody could win; Red Panda would strike, and Fox would parry; Fox would slash, and Red Panda fought him off. The bystanders called it a tie; they each got to keep half the tail. Yet Red Panda wanted to make Fox pay for the humiliation.

Red Panda climbed the highest mountain (which happened to be in Alaska at that time) and called to the Kachinas for help. They absorbed Red Panda and Fox into the skies so they could brighten the world with their fighting instead of harm, and to this day, when Red Panda slashes Fox’s coat, it makes rivers of colored light in the sky; deep, long lines. And when Fox bites Red Panda’s neck, he makes small spots of bright light in the sky, also. And that is how new stars and the Aurora Borealis are created.

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