In the morning of time when the earth was new and the faint light of the sun stayed low in the sky, the people and animals of the world lived apart from one another. The animals lived by themselves in vast forests and the people lived by themselves at the edge of them. It stayed that way for years but the numbers of people grew larger and larger and from time to time they had to travel into the dark forests where there were no clear paths to follow. Some people got lost and frightened and it wasn’t long before they were blaming the animals for their fear. They even made plans to drive the animals out. Now most of the animals meant no harm to the people but being forced from their homes frightened them and they started to scare the people on purpose just to keep them away. Soon everyone was afraid to go anywhere in the forests at all.


Overseeing all of this were wise spirit animals who knew that the people and the forest animals only saw half of what was before them, the half that made them afraid, and they knew that both sides would have to see things a little differently if the forests were to become peaceful again. They knew that they needed to help so a Great Council of all the spirit animals was called to share ideas and to find a solution.


The large black bear led the meeting and, after much discussion, it was decided that one of the animals was needed to create good paths and to act as a guide to keep the people from becoming lost and frightened.


“Who among us will you pick?” asked several of the animals in unison. “Who is qualified to make paths or lead the people?”


“A wolf could lead,” a wolf voice said loudly from the middle of the council. “The wolf is fearless and powerful and would make a strong guide.”


“Yes,” the black bear replied, “the wolf is strong and powerful but the people are already afraid of wolves and would most likely stay off the paths if wolves were there.”


“What about the eagle?” an eagle voice asked from above the council. “Eagles see great distances very clearly and eagles don’t scare people.


“That’s true,” answered the bear, “but eagles fly too far above the ground to make clear paths with clear signs for the people to follow.”


“What about the rabbit?” a small rabbit voice asked from the very edge of the council gathering. Chuckles and whispers were heard among the other animals. “A rabbit?” they laughed. “What do rabbits know about being fearless guides for the people?” Some giggled so much that they rolled on the floor howling and holding their sides.


The little rabbit summoned all of his courage and stepped right into the middle of the council circle. With an even stronger voice, the small rabbit replied, “Well, for starters, rabbits create paths every day and know them by heart. People like rabbits and rabbits can teach people not to be afraid of paths in the dark forest. Rabbits can teach people to find their way and be brave!


“Ha!” exclaimed the wise owl. “How can a small timid rabbit teach anyone about being brave? Rabbits are not fierce and powerful.”


“Most of us,” he said putting his beak close to the rabbit’s twitching nose, CHASE rabbits!”


More laughter filled the gathering but the rabbit stood very still and faced the owl first then each animal one by one.


Finally with great courage, the rabbit said, “What you say is true. Rabbits are small creatures who are hunted every day by you wolf, you eagle and you owl. But we do not leave the forest in fear to live safely elsewhere. We stay here and live among our enemies every day. We have learned to hop swiftly out of danger by darting left and right or we confuse you by running in ever widening circles until you are tired and give up. We thrive in great numbers in spite of you. We have a great deal to teach people about being brave. I have many reasons to be afraid at this very moment but I am standing here before all of you.


The council gathering became very still. Not an animal could dispute the truth that the little rabbit had spoken. The fearless rabbit just looked from one animal to another and waited for any of them to challenge what was said.


At last, from the center of the council, the great black bear spoke in a booming voice. “The rabbit it shall be! Rabbits are chosen to create paths and guide the people!”


Each animal nodded in agreement. “Congratulations rabbit and good luck,” each said as they filed past him on their way out of the council. The little rabbit was about to leave as well to begin his new job when the great bear called out.


“Come back little rabbit. There is more that you must know.”


The rabbit returned and sat before the bear listening intently.


“Being a guide on the paths for the people will not be as easy as you might think,” he began. “The forest animals travel the paths that already exist but the people will need new paths to take them to many more places. You will have to appear before the forest rabbits and teach them all about marking new trails and leaving fresh footprints that the people will be able to see. As a spirit animal you can’t make footprints. You will need to put something between your great magic and the ground you must walk on. You are going to need shoes.”


“I need shoes” the rabbit asked in disbelief.


“Yes, you need shoes,” the great bear replied. “You need rabbit shoes to leave rabbit footprints for all to follow.”


Curious and excited, the little rabbit thanked the great bear and hopped off. He knew that he had a big job before him and he didn’t know much about making shoes but the other animals were eager to help. Together they designed a special shoe to be worn on different paths so that people could have lots of choices but still always find their way. Before long, the day arrived for the rabbit to begin his great new journey. He packed the shoes, said goodbye to all his friends and left the spirit world not knowing when he would return.


The rabbit was very successful.



The paths he created were very clearly marked with his shoes and they were easy for the people to follow. The people were unafraid to travel near animals to new places and the animals saw that the people no longer tried to harm them. They both changed the way they saw each other the forests became peaceful once again.


Years went by and the people told stories that following rabbit’s footprints had brought them good fortune. But they didn’t know about the shoes and they thought instead that it was the rabbit’s foot that created the paths. Eventually they began carrying the rabbit’s foot as a charm to bring them luck, and, because of this misunderstanding, there were fewer rabbits and finally less luck in the world.


That is until now.


Now is the time to tell everyone the news.


“The luck was never in the rabbit’s foot. It was always in the rabbit shoes!”