Why the Mink Smells
The Mink was such a great thief that at last the animals held a council about the matter. It was decided to burn him, so they caught the Mink, built a great fire, and threw him into it. As the blaze went up and they smelt the roasted flesh, they began to think he was punished enough and would probably do better in the future, so they took him out of the fire. But the Mink was already burned black and is black ever since, and whenever he is attacked or excited he smells again like roasted meat. The lesson did no good, however, and he is still as great a thief as ever.
--- Excerpt from “History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees”
by James Mooney