- Feb 1, 2002How Coyote Got His Cunning
Kareya was the god who in the very beginning created the world. First
he made the fishes in the ocean; then he made animals on land; and last
of all he made man. He had, however, given all the animals the same
amount of rank and power.
So he went to the man he had created and said, "Make as many bows and
arrows as there are animals. I am going to call all the animals
together, and you are to give the longest bow and arrow to the one that
should have the most power, and the shortest to the one who should have
So the man set to work making bows and arrows, and at the end of nine
days he had turned out enough for all the animals created by Kareya.
Then Kareya called them all together and told them that the man would
come to them the next day with the bows, and the one to whom he gave
the longest would have the most power.
Each animal wanted to be the one to get the longest bow. Coyote schemed
to outwit the others by staying awake all night. He thought that if he
was the first to meet the man in the morning, he could get the longest
bow for himself. So when the animals went to sleep, Coyote lay down
and only pretended to sleep. About midnight, however, he began to
feel genuinely sleepy. He got up and walked around, scratching his
eyes to keep them open. As time passed, he grew sleepier. He resorted
to skipping and jumping to stay awake, but the noise waked some of the
other animals, so he had to stop.
About the time the morning star came up, Coyote was so sleepy he could
not keep his eyes open any longer. So he took two little sticks and
sharpened them at the ends, and with these he propped his eyelids open.
Then he felt it was safe to sleep, since his eyes could watch the
morning star rising. He planned to get up before the star was
completely up, for by then all the other animals would be stirring. In
a few minutes however, Coyote was fast asleep. The sharp sticks pierced
right through his eyelids, and instead of keeping them open, they pinned
them shut When the rest of the animals got up, Coyote lay in a deep
The animals went to meet the man and receive their bows. Cougar was
given the longest, Bear the next longest, and so on until the next to
last bow was given to Frog. The shortest was still left, however.
"What animal have I missed?" the man cried.
The animals began to look about, and they soon spied Coyote lying fast
asleep. They all laugh heartily and danced around him. Then they led
him to the man, for the Coyotes eyes were pinned together by the sticks
and he could not see. The man pulled the sticks out of Coyote's eyes
and gave him the shortest bow. The animals laugh so hard that the man
started to pity Coyote, who would be the weakest of them all. So he
pray to Kareya about Coyote, and Kareya responded by giving Coyote more
cunning than the other animals. And that's how Coyote got his cunning.
-A tale reported by E.W. Gifford in 1930.
If anyone wants me to send this to them with a lighter background for
printing purposes let me know.
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