by Art Bupkis
When I was
but a young brave I wondered how such a small,
nervous animal as Rabbit became "Trickster"--the
adjuster of the cosmic order, and The King of
comedy. This is what I was told.
people like a good joke. Indeed, they used
to have joke contests that would last for days. But
this human sport was nothing compared to the very
first joke contest, the one amongst the animals.
wanted to be crowned Trickster, The Champion.
Even buffalo believed he'd be great for the job,
if you can believe that. So, to cut down on
entrants, it was decided that the contest would
be at the risk of death. Each contestant
would have to tell jokes to Cottonmouth Moccasin
The Water Snake, the meanest old sourpuss in the
swamp--and not too bright, either. If Cottonmouth
didn't like your joke, he'd surely give you a
bite. As a consequence, there were only two
contestants, Rabbit and Toad.
first. Cautiously, he hopped up to Cottonmouth,
who was sunning on a muddy log down by the river.
Mr. Moccasin, sir, why did the snake, ah, someone
sort of like your noble self, sir, roll on the
looked at him evilly, then hissed, "This
better be good, bunny boy. And you'd better not
be making fun of any of my kin, either. Go
ahead, tell me."
To scratch his itchy
rose up and opened his jaws slowly, exposing long,
venom-dripping fangs against the cotton-white of
his gaping, rabbit-sized maw.
yuck. That ain't so bad, bunny boy." he said,
then coiled back down. Cottonmouth Moccasin then
closed both his mouth and eyes at the same time.
had been watching and listening carefully, and he
just couldn't believe it. That was the stupidest
joke he'd ever heard. Moccasin clearly had
no taste. Sure wouldn't be hard to keep up
with Rabbit if that was the standard. Bullfrog
leapt right up to take his turn.
why did the snake slink after the toad?"
didn't even open his eyes. "You tell me,
Warts. Why did the snake crawl after the toad?"
couldn't get a ride!! YUCK! YUCK! YUCK! HA! HA!!"
opened his jaws slowly
. grabbed the
toad, and swallowed him down.
Moccasin The Water Snake then turned slowly to
That's just plain wrong. I should know. It
was to get hissss-ssself sssome food
yesss, that wasss it, yesssss.
Everyone knowsss usss snakesss ain't
but we just lovessss T-O-A-D
-food!!! Ha! Ha! Get it? "Tofu", "toad-food".
Funny, huh? Now ya'll go away 'n let me
sssssleeeeep. Without my sssssleeeep I getsssss
kind a dopyeeee 'n meeeeean. Yesssssssssss
So that's how
Rabbit became "Trickster". And he
still is. No other animal would ever try
addressing old Cottonmouth again.
And the moral
of this story? Bugs Bunny said it best: "Never
think you're better than us rabbits, doc, until
you've tried talking a while with our moccasins."