WHY BISON LOOK THE WAY THEY DO

By Elissa and Caitlin

Long long ago, far far away, there once lived a mother bison and her baby girl bison, named simply Bison. They lived on the Great Plains of North America.

Bison had a bit of bravery, a lot of cleverness, and was always nice to the other animals.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday she visited Sky Spirit after she had finished roaming the plains and doing her daily chores. She was responsible for making a fire with her fire-breathing breath, getting four buckets of water with her spongy orange starfish tail, and making sure their territory was safe by scaring away mean animals with the cave spirit tattooed on her brown hip.

One day Bison decided that she did not like her hot fire-breathing breath, her spongy orange starfish tail, and the cave spirit tattoo on her brown hip. She decided that after she was done with her chores, she would roam through the Plains and ask Sky Spirit for a non-fire-breathing mouth, a brown short tail that did not have a starfish on it, and a hip that did not have a cave spirit tattoo on it.

Finally Bison was done with her chores, so she started roaming through the Plains. She found Sky Spirit on the other side of the prairie. She asked him for a non-fire-breathing mouth, a brown short tail that did not have a starfish on it, and a hip that did not have a cave spirit tattoo on it.

Sky Spirit listened and told her that, in order for her to have those three things, she would have to do four clever tasks.

The first clever task would be to get a tail from a prairie dog who lived in the North Plains. The second clever task would be to get an antler from a pronghorn from the East Plains. The third clever task would be to get a tooth from a coyote from the West Plains. The fourth clever task would be to get a claw from a badger in the South Plains.

Bison wrote these four tasks down. Since she was already in the South Plains, she started looking for a badger. After ten minutes of looking and searching, she finally spotted a boy badger. Bison was so big, it was hard for her to think of a plan to get the claw from the badger. But since Bison was very clever, she thought of a plan to get the claw.

Her plan was to get the badger out of his tunnel, which is his house, and ask him if he would like to know how to make good hot stew.

Bison started right away to put her plan into action.

Bison walked up to the tunnel and called, "Badger! Would you like to know how to make good stew?"

Badger called out, "Yes... yes please. Huh huh huh."

"Come outside and I'll show you."

So Badger came outside.

Bison told Badger, "To make good stew, you need one badger claw."

Since Badger wasn't very smart, he gave up one of his badger's claws. Badger sat down and waited patiently for his stew, but Bison ran away with the claw and said, "See ya. Wouldn't want to be ya."

Bison went back to her house and put the claw in a secret place. Then she looked on her list and went to the West to get a tooth from a coyote.

Bison traveled to the West Plains. It took her about ten minutes to get there. Bison started looking over the ten mile-wide plain.

After a few minutes she spotted a coyote walking UP a hill. She got a leaf and put it on the tip of the hill and SPIT on it to make it slippery. Then she spotted a huge boulder at the bottom of the hill and hid behind it. She watched as Coyote slipped on the leaf and rolled down the hill, and knocked his tooth out on the boulder.

When that happened, Coyote howled, "Ow! Ow! Ow!"

Bison caught the tooth and ran back to the South, got home, and put the tooth with the claw. Bison looked at her list and said, "Next stop is the East Plains!"

So she started galloping off to the East. She was there in five minutes. Now she started to walk all over the Plains to see if she could spot a pronghorn. After a couple of minutes of walking and searching, she finally found a group of pronghorns. First she had to think of an idea to get an antler. Her idea was to get a pronghorn from the group to climb up an oak tree (that wasn't too far away) and make him jump off the oak tree head first.

So she casually walked up to the head of the group (which was a male pronghorn) and was about to say something when she noticed the male pronghorn's face. It looked like he was very cautious. Bison knew that was not a good sign, but a bad one. She knew she would have to be extra clever.

She started galloping to an oak tree that wasn't too far away and ran up it really high and fast. The pronghorn, forgetting that he could not climb trees, started climbing up the tree. But when he almost got to Bison, he slipped and fell head first. When he hit the ground, one of his antlers broke off. Boy, was he mad!

Bison jumped down from the oak tree. She grabbed the pronghorn's antler and hurried off to the South. She went home and put the antler with the claw and the tooth.

Then she looked on her list, and saw there was one more thing to do. That was to get a tail from a prairie dog in the North Plains.

So she traveled off to the North Plains to get a tail from a prairie dog. It took her seven minutes to get there. She started browsing around until she could find a prairie dog. Finally, after several minutes, she spotted a prairie dog with a little tail. Her plan was to get the prairie dog to play a tricky game. The object of the game would be to get the prairie dog's tail off of him. She would do that by tying the prairie dog's tail with a rope she had with her. Then she would tell him to run off while she pulled on the rope until his tail came off. So she started to get to her plan.

She spotted a prairie dog and asked him if he wanted to play a game. The prairie dog said he did.

So she said," First I need to tie your little tail to my rope and I'll pull on the rope while you run off. Then you can have a turn and do the same to me."

Since the prairie dog was very dumb, he agreed to play. So Bison started tying up his little tail. Then she told him to start running. The prairie dog ran and ran, until his tail came off. Bison grabbed the tail and ran off with it. She ran off to the South and gathered all of her four clever prizes. Then she went through the plains and gave the four things to Sky Spirit.

Sky Spirit examined the four things and said to Bison, " Very well, Bison. I shall give you a non-fire-breathing mouth, a brown short tail that does not have a starfish on it, and a hip that does not have a cave spirit tattoo on it."

Sky Spirit made Bison spin around three times with her eyes closed, and told her to make a wish out loud. So that was just what she did. When she opened her eyes, she had a non-fire-breathing mouth, a brown short tail that did not have a starfish on it, and a hip that did not have a cave spirit tattoo on it.

When she opened her eyes she had a non-fire-breathing mouth, a brown short tail that did not have a starfish on it, and a hip that did not have a cave spirit tattoo on it.

And that is why, to this day, bison have closed mouths that do not breathe out fire, brown short tails, and plain brown furry hips.