Opossum

 
 
    There was a very beautiful girl whom all creatures wanted to marry, but for a long time none of them was successful.  By and by the Opossum went to try his fortune with her, and on the way he picked up all the papers he could find and put them into his pocket.  When he got to the girl's house he took these papers out and began looking then over and laying them down one after another.  The people asked him what he was doing, and he said, "I was a soldier and these papers represent my pension-money."  When they heard this, the girl's people thought this person must be very rich, and at once they let him have her. 
 
When the other animals heard what had happened, however, they were very angry.  At that time the Opossum had a long bushy tail like that of a skunk.  The animals crept up during the night to the house where the Opossum was sleeping, and put a caterpillar into his tail, which ate off all of the hairs.  About daybreak the Opossum woke up, and, finding what had happened to his tail, he was so ashamed that he went out and climbed up to the top of a tree.  By and by the girl woke up also, and finding that the Opossum was not by her side, went out of doors and hunted all around for him.  Finally she discovered him up in the top of the tree and she called out, "Come down!  What are you doing up there?"  But the Opossum would not move; and at last his wife said, "If you don't come down, I will shake you down."  As he still refused to move, the girl picked up sticks, stones, and any other things that she could find, and threw them at him.  Some of these hit him, and finally one struck him on the head, and he started to fall.  His tail, however, wrapped itself about a limb, and he hung from it head down.  Since then, an opossum has always been able to hang from a limb by its tail.