He responded with a slow yawn.
"YAAAAAAAAAWWWWWNNN! Why, Mr. Terrapin, it is going well. I have been asleep up until you woke me. I am hungry for some persimmons though...would you care to join me in my hunt?"
"Why, I thought you'd never ask..."
And with that they were off. The trail they went down to get to the persimmons tree was extremely treacherous...or so they liked to pretend.
"Shhhh...Do you hear that, Mr. Possum? It sounds like there is danger up ahead! Proceed with caution, good man!"
"Yes, yes, Mr. Terrapin. I do hear that. You too should proceed with caution! Watch out! There is a trap!"
Of course there was no trap... but the two friends proceeded on like there were. They continued their brave, heroic quest until they reached the persimmon tree at the end of it.
"Ah! Here at last, Mr. Possum! Why don't you climb on up and toss the fruit back down to me!"
"That sounds like a great idea!"
Mr. Possum scaled the tree and found the ripest fruit he could possibly find. He then threw it back down to Mr. Terrapin. However, hungry Mr. Wolf had heard them and followed the noise to the tree. As soon as Mr. Possum threw the fruit down, the wolf jumped out and ate it before Mr. Terrapin could get to it.
"Hey!" shouted Mr. Possum. "Those persimmons were for my good friend, Mr. Terrapin!"
"What are you going to do about it? If you come down here to stop me, I will eat you! If you refuse to throw me any more, I will eat your friend!" threatened the Mr. Wolf.
At this point, Mr. Possum decided that he had to do something. He always had a bone that he carried with him in case of emergencies. This...he decided, was an emergency. He threw the bone down to the wolf. The Mr. Wolf ate it and immediately began choking. He could not get the bone dislodged. In a short amount of time, the wolf crumbled to the ground dead.
"Very good idea, Mr. Possum! I think I will cut off his ears and use them as hominy spoons since this little monster caused me so much trouble!"
And with that, Mr. Terrapin removed the wolf's ears. Now you see, Mr. Terrapin was not a dumb creature. In fact, he was about as clever as they come. He knew that if the other creatures thought he had vanquished a wolf they would be very impressed by him. He was going to use this to his advantage from now on. He bragged to other creatures about how he had killed a wolf. The word spread quickly through the forest. The pack of wolves, who were mourning their fallen brother, caught wind of what Mr. Terrapin had done. They hatched a plan to trap him and make him pay.
"Hmmm....What is this hero going to do today?" Mr. Terrapin asked himself. "I know! I will take my spoons and go down by the river! Maybe there will be some otters who will fish for me after they hear my story!"
Mr. Terrapin made his way down to the river. When he got there, he knew something was not right. It was dead silent and there was not one creature to be found. He knew there was trouble afoot.
"Hello Mr. Terrapin...what do you have there?" growled a menacing voice behind him.
Mr. Terrapin turned around slowly and came face to face with the leader of the wolves. As he looked for some sort of escape, he noticed that there were more coming out of the forest and slowly surrounding him.
"Um, I just have some plain ole hominy spoons. Nothing that you could possibly be interested in I'm sure!"
"I'm not so sure..." said the leader of the wolves. "Those sure look a lot like wolf ears to me. I'm not sure if you know this or not...but we lost one of our brothers a few days ago and we found him missing his ears. There was talk about how a terrapin killed him and took them. I didn't believe it was true until I saw it with my own eyes..."
Mr. Terrapin was in trouble. He was cursing his big mouth. The rest of the wolves kept getting closer and closer to him until they snatched him up. If Mr. Terrapin was going to make it out of this, he needed to act fast.
"Hey, boss, I know! Let's boil him in one of our clay pots!" suggested one wolf.
"Go ahead," said Mr. Terrapin mustering every bit of fake bravado he had. "I'll just kick the pot to pieces."
"Well, maybe we should just burn him in the fire..." said another wolf.
"HA!" laughed Mr. Terrapin. "I would put that fire out so fast you would be disappointed you put all that effort into making it."
"I KNOW!" yelled another wolf. "We'll throw him into the deepest hole in the river and drown him!"
"NO! YOU FIENDS! I can think of no worse death than that! PLEASE! I'll do anything as long as you do not do that!" cried Mr. Terrapin.
"Haha!" laughed the wolves. "No! This will be your punishment! You will get no mercy from us!"
And with that, they threw Mr. Terrapin into the river. Mr. Terrapin had been waiting on this. He dove under the water and disappeared. This is the story of how the Mr. Terrapin outsmarted and escaped from the wolves.
Author's note: I chose to write my story about the The Terrapin's Escape. The terrapin was trying to get dinner from the possum in the original story when the wolf intervened. The possum threw down a large persimmon(or a bone) and killed the wolf with it. The terrapin took the wolf's ears and used them as spoons when dining with other animals. He did this to get free meals from others and to gain their admiration. He does this for a while and it puts a huge target on the terrapin's back. Other wolves hear of this story and make a plan to kill the terrapin. They catch him and take him prisoner. They then hold a meeting and decide what to do with the terrapin. This part of the story follows closely along with the original. I chose this story because it reminded me of the Jataka I wrote about earlier in Week 4. I chose to make the terrapin out to be clever in this story because in the other one I omitted the part about how the turtle persuaded the men to throw him in the lake. I really like how turtles (and terrapins) are portrayed in these stories as cunning and clever.
Bibliography: Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney (1900).