Small Number and the Four Rabbit Holes

Small Number and the Four Rabbit Holes

Written by Veselin Jungic & Mark MacLean 
Illustrated by Bethani L'Heureux

My name is Small Number. This is a story that I heard from my grandmother and that she heard from her grandmother. It is about a coyote, a raven, a rabbit, and the four rabbit holes.

Translations

  • English

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Story Transcript

 

My name is Small Number. This is a story that I heard from my grandmother and that she heard from her grandmother. It is about a coyote, a raven, a rabbit, and the four rabbit holes.

Every day Coyote goes hunting. Coyote leaves his den in the early morning, makes a big circle through the forest and comes back to the den in the evening.

At the very edge of the forest there are four rabbit holes in a straight line, a few steps apart from each other. Since Coyote is very hungry in the morning, he always checks only one rabbit hole before entering the forest. “This rabbit is very smart, but I will catch him one day,” says Coyote. But, many days have passed and Coyote couldn’t catch the rabbit.

One morning, when once again Coyote couldn’t find the rabbit, he heard Raven laughing from the top of the tree, “Cr-r-ruck, Cr-r-ruck, Coyote! The rabbit is smarter than you are! Cr-r-ruck, Cr-r-ruck!”

Coyote was very hungry that morning and Raven’s words made him angry, “Maybe the rabbit is smarter than I am, but I am much smarter than you are!”

“Cr-r-ruck, Cr-r-ruck,” laughed Raven. “You are an old, hungry, and angry Coyote who cannot catch the rabbit.”

“Let me see how smart you are. If I tell you that every night, the rabbit sleeps in the hole that is next to the hole where he slept the previous night and if you keep checking only one hole every morning, in how many days will you catch the rabbit?”

Coyote looked at Raven, then looked at the rabbit holes, and then looked up at Raven again. “Raven, you think that you can trick everyone, but you just told me how to catch the rabbit,” said Coyote and slowly entered to the forest.

Question: In how many days will Coyote catch the rabbit?

Credits and Acknowledgements

Written by: Veselin Jungic, SFU and Mark MacLean, UBC
Voice: Bethani L’Heureux of the Cree Nation
Illustrator: Bethani L’Heureux of the Cree Nation
Sound: David Brigden, Simon Fraser University
Music: Barry Cardinal of the Bigstone Cree Nation
Animation: Angela Meyers, Vancouver, BC, and David Convery, Vancouver, BC,
Producer: Veselin Jungic, Simon Fraser University
Director: Angela Meyers, Vancouver, BC

Special Thanks To:

  • Betty Wilson of the Tla’amin Nation
  • Ozren Jungic, Ottawa, ON
  • Pam Borghardt, Coquitlam, BC
  • Participants of the Math Catcher Workshops
  • Department of Mathematics, Simon Fraser University
  • Department of Mathematics, University of British Columbia
  • Faculty of Science, Simon Fraser University
  • Office for Aboriginal Peoples, Simon Fraser University
  • Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences
  • The IRMACS Centre, Simon Fraser University

Acknowledgment: The story “Small Number and Four Rabbit Holes” is inspired by the puzzle “Are you smarter than a cat?” published by Alex Bellos in The Guardian on July 3, 2017.