How Possum Got Her Pouch

Drawn by Tosh Bibb

    One time, Possum was going along visiting, enjoying herself. In those days, Ms. Possum almost always had her children with her. This one time, she put them in a hollow tree and didn't take them around with her. That one day, in the beginning of time
while she was out enjoy herself, taking a little rest from looking after her little Possum babies, she started back home and heard a strange noise, a cluttering going on, a clattering of racket in her little tree house.
    She got there, looked up and it was the Bats --Lots of Bats...!  The Bats had picked up her little babies and were holding them, dancing around, sporting and having a good time.  The poor little Possum babies they were all upset and didn't know what to think.  The Bats were just holding them out by their little fore feet, bouncing them up and down and dancing around and around--having a good time laughing and giggling while the poor little Possums were just hurting all over from fear.
    Mama Possum was a small little animal who still had her furry tail in these days. She just did not quite know what to do. She tried to chase the Bats away but they just flew off with her babies then they came back and danced right in front of her.  Aela, she was very upset. She sat down on the road side and began to cry very badly.*
    Soon,  Ms. Turtle came along and said, "Why, Miss Possum!  What's the trouble?  What's the matter with
you?"  Mama Possum quickly explained how the Bats had her babies, were playing with them and roughing them up and making great sport--just scaring her babies to death.
    Well, the Turtle looked about and said, "Well, we'll sit here awhile and be calm and quite.  Soon the Sun will be up and the Bats will be tired.  They'll put your little babies down go about their way. Then, we shall fix that problem."  "Oh," said the Possum, "How shall we fix that problem?"
    Well, pretty soon it began to get light.  As the Sun started upon his journey, all the Bats put the little Possums down, left the little babies alone, and went on back to where it is that they spend their daylight hours asleep.  Turtle got real busy. She nipped and tucked at Mama Possum's belly, sewed a little stuff here and there, stitched a little stuff over and under and 'round about and soon, she had put a great big pocket on Mama Possum's belly.
    Then, Turtle picked up all the little baby Possums, dusted them off and brushed off the dirt and smoothed down their cute little fur and curled their little tails around in a little loop.  One by one, she put them all in Mama Possum's pocket and said
to her, "from now on you shall carry your babies in this possum pouch. After that, Bats and the other animals will not bother your babies. I'm glad that I could help you with this matter."
    The Mother Possum said to the Turtle, "Thank you very much.  You're very slow but wise and your wisdom helps us
all."  So that's how the Bats caused the Possum to have a pouch.  This is one way the Creek elders tell this story.

*If you catch them at a fortunate time, you just may be able to pursuade Mary, Kate or Sakim to sing the little song that the Bats sang when they danced with the baby possums.