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An Native American (Cherokee) Folktale
Adapted by Jean Warren


Once upon a time a group of wolves caught a fat little groundhog just as he came out his hole.

"Now, we will eat you," they said and licked their lips.

"Wait," said the little groundhog. "Don't you know, it is the custom to celebrate by dancing before you enjoy a big feast"

The wolves knew this was true, because they had often watched the native people dancing before they enjoyed a big feast. "Yes, you are right little groundhog, they said, we will dance before we eat you."

Around and around little groundhog, the wolves danced.

"You are all good dancers," said little groundhog, "but you would have more room to dance, if you moved back a bit".

The wolves agreed and stepped back and danced even better.

"It's a treat to watch you dance," said little groundhog, "but you could twirl around while you dance, if you stepped back just a few steps more."

The wolves were proud of how well they danced and they wanted to be able to twirl around, so they stepped back even further.

Finally, they had moved back so far, that little groundhog was able to scamper back down his hole.

Before the wolves knew what was happening, little groundhog had disappeared. To this day, when a wolf sees a big groundhog hole in the sky at night, they howl for the groundhog to come out again.

The end.

(Encourage your children to act out the story.)