The Rabbit and the Owl.

A Menominee legend echoes my parent’s way.


In the Menominee legend explaining the origin of night and day, Owl and Rabbit have a contest to decide whether it will be perpetually dark or light. Owl repeats “night” and Rabbit repeats “light” until finally, Owl accidentally says “light” and Rabbit wins the contest. He has the right to make it only light, but for the sake of everyone, he allows some dark as well.

In my opinion, Owl messed up on purpose, to allow Rabbit to have his way.

I can picture my mom and dad having this contest. My father rarely lost a battle of wits. My mother, highly intelligent as well, might have given in a time or two, for the good of all. And she was known to read until one or two in the morning. A true night owl.

After my father’s memorial, we spotted a rabbit in the grass near my parents’ house. This was not unusual. Rabbits abound in the area. But two nights before my mother passed, we had an owl land in a tree behind our house. We had never spotted an owl in our backyard before.

What does this mean? Perhaps nothing, perhaps everything. But to blindly disregard such coincidence would be a mistake. The hardest lessons to learn in life are the ones we choose to ignore.

Learn more about Menominee legends.

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