Chukfi Rabbit’s Big, Bad Bellyache, “What’s Better Than Butter?”

Many of the Choctaw Indians live in Oklahoma and Mississippi, their original homeland. Author, Greg Rodgers, discovered this tale while looking for his own ancestral information in the Oral History Archives in Oklahoma and revived the story for all to enjoy today. Illustrator, Leslie Stall Widener, also has an emotional connection as when she was young girl, she explored her grandmother’s allotted land due to her Choctaw ancestry. Enjoy an old story that doesn’t get old:

Introducing Our Featured Friend: Chukfi Rabbit’s Big, Bad Bellyache
told by Greg Rodgers, illustrated by Leslie Stall Widener

“Chukfi, Would you like to help build me a house?” asked Ms. Possum. . .
“Oh, I’m just so sorry,” said Chukfi Rabbit, “I’m much, much too busy on that day.”
“But I didn’t even say which day.”

However, Chukfi quickly agreed to help when he learned that Ms. Shukata Possum was making a delicious dinner with fresh homemade butter for all who helped!

The next day, Chukfi disappeared by the river while the others were busy digging, sawing, sweeping and hammering. He told Chula Fox he was sick but would try to help soon, but really he had snuck the fresh homemade butter down to the river to have just a taste. Well, one lick turned into handfuls until the butter was gone!

Chukfi came back just in time to see all the work done. In spite of his full tummy, he ate dinner in fear they would discover it was he that ate all their butter. When everyone napped after dinner, Chukfi found a bite of butter on his fur and put it on bear’s nose. EVERYONE blamed Nita Bear for stealing the butter UNTIL . . .

“Then his tell-tale belly began to shake and tremble. His tummy rumbled and before he could even get his paw up to cover his mouth, which is, of course, always good manners, he let out a great, but . . . BRRRUUUHPPP! . . .
The others had already smelled Chukfi’s big, bad butter breath.”

Chukfi was so full, he couldn’t even hop away. He rolled into the river and although he got away from the others, he suffered from a big, bad bellyache for weeks.

“But Ms. Shukata did get a nice, new house. And everybody did feel real happy about that, as helping others is always more joyful than even the best butter ever.”

Inviting You To Become FRIENDS with Chukfi:

A Little Lesson Plan for School, Home, or Story Time

Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share

F- How did the other friends feel when Chukfi didn’t do his part of the work?
How do you feel when someone in your group doesn’t do his/her part of the work?

R- Can you relate to Chukfi when he didn’t want to do the work but wanted to enjoy the reward? Most of us can! What can help you next time you don’t feel like doing a job?

I- Imagine that you get to have a special food reward after doing a project. What treat would you chose?

E- Explore the Choctaw culture by reading about when and where the Choctaw Indians settled, their language, food, religion, and traditions.

N- Navigate your way through this story by filing in a plot line appropriately:

D- Develop a different conclusion/resolution to the story. How else could the story end and still have a good moral lesson?

S- Share your time and talents this week by helping others. Start by helping your family! Then look to see if a neighbor, friend, or acquaintance needs help. Remember, “helping others is always more joyful than even the best butter ever.”


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