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The Rat And The Owl


Source: Aino Folktales

An owl had put by for next day the remains of something dainty which he
had to eat. But a rat stole it, whereupon the owl was very angry, and
went off to the rat's house, and threatened to kill him. But the rat
apologised, saying: "I will give you this gimlet and tell you how you
can obtain from it pleasure far greater than the pleasure of eating the
food which I was so rude as to eat up. Look here! you must stick the
gimlet with the sharp point upwards in the ground at the foot of this
tree; then go to the top of the tree yourself, and slide down the

Then the rat went away, and the owl did as the rat had instructed him.
But, sliding down on to the sharp gimlet, his anus was transfixed, and
he suffered great pain, and, in his grief and rage, went off to kill the
rat. But again the rat met him with apologies, and, as a peace-offering,
gave him a cap for his head.

These events account for the thick cap of erect feathers which the owl
wears to this day, and also for the enmity between the owl and the
rat.--(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 25th November,

[B] The Aino name here used (ahunrashambe) denotes a horned species.

Next: The Loves Of The Thunder-gods

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