The Flying Rabbit
As told by Doug Williams to Julie Kapyrka
Years ago, my friend Norman Knott, who I was teaching to hunt and fish, asked me how to snare rabbits. I said, “Okay, let’s go over to Moore Lake swamp, there are plenty over there to catch.”
So we struck out. Once we were in the swamp I showed him how to do it – put the snare and the little sticks down and showed him how as the rabbit jumps ahead it would snare itself. Once he seemed familiar with all that I said, “You go down this path and I will go down this one, and wherever you see rabbit tracks put down some snares.”
We made our snares out of copper wire that we used to get from Whetung’s General Store. So away he went and set some snares and I went my way and set quite a few.
We came out of the bush and went home. I told Norman I would see him in the morning to check our snares.
Norman showed up early the next morning, really early. At that time of the year daylight did not come until 7am to 8am. Well, he was at my house at 4am! He couldn’t sleep, he was so eager to check the snares. I said, “Oh it is early! But okay, let’s go.” I had to find a couple flashlights and I gave one to him.
We got to the site in darkness. It was very dark at that time of year. So Norman went his way and I went my way.
I was checking my snares and happy to see that I had a few rabbits. I came across one snare that was broken and mangled. There was blood and some tracks – something happened here that indicated a fight of some sort.
I continued on when all of a sudden deep in the swamp I saw something going through the spruce and cedar bush flying at about 10 feet high. It looked like a white rabbit flying through the bush!
I got scared and thought: Oh no, it’s the spirit of WABOOSE (rabbit) coming to tell me not to over-harvest. It really freaked me out but I continued to finish checking my snares.
I got three rabbits and was happy because this would make a good soup or a stew and my Grandma made amazing food.
I returned to where I met Norman. He had a couple rabbits for his family and he was really happy that he now knew how to snare rabbits.
I said, “Norman, I have something to tell you. I saw a flying rabbit!”
Norman says, “C’mon, you’re pulling my leg?!”
“Yes! I saw a flying rabbit.”
“Well, how do you explain that?” asked Norman.
Suddenly there was a movement in a tree nearby. We both looked, and there was a great-horned owl perched on a spruce branch eating a white rabbit…and then I understood.
I couldn’t see the owl in the dark, and because it has silent wings, I couldn’t hear the owl. And I remembered the mangled snare. And that is how I saw a rabbit fly.
I have seen many animals of all types do mysterious and wondrous things…but that is another story.