Coyote and the Jack Rabbit People
1Long ago Coyote said:
"I wish I was walking along with it moist under my feet." He went on
with it moist under his feet as he had wished. "I wish I was walking
with water to my hips," he then said. The water came to his hips as
he wished it would. "I wish I were swimming across with only my back
above the water," he wished again. It happened that way.2
When he was on the other side of the river he lay down as if he were
dead, near the place where the people came for water. Soon a
Jack-Rabbit Girl came for water. She filled her vessel and started
to return to the camp when she saw Coyote lying there dead. She
began shouting, "The person you hate to see is lying here dead." The
rabbits all came running there and danced. They sent word inviting
everyone to come to the dance. All kinds of living people came
there, among them Skunk.
When all the people were dancing, Skunk sent his fluid into their
eyes so that the people, one after another, fell down dead, but
Coyote ran off. Skunk pulled the bodies together and made a round
pile of them. Coyote suggested to Skunk that the one who should beat
in a race around the small hill standing near, should eat them all.
They, two, started to race around the hill but soon Coyote lay down
right where he was and Skunk ran on by himself. While he was doing
that Coyote ran back and ate all the flesh, leaving only the bones.
When he had eaten them, he started to run around the hill. When
Skunk arrived there was nothing there but a pile of bones. As Coyote
came running Skunk inquired of him what had happened to the meat
that had been piled there. Coyote replied, that the name of this
place was Meat Separates, and that it was food for poor people.
Skunk threw the bones away and accused Coyote of having eaten the
meat. As evidence of this, he called attention to the condition of
Coyote's belly as he lay there. Then they were angry at each other.
Rabbits were throwing their eyes up. Coyote ran
there and said, "Cousin let me do it too." They refused, but Coyote
repeated his request. The rabbits helped Coyote get his eyes out and
he threw them up. They fell back again and he repeated the process.
Then the rabbit said, "Let his eyes hang on the tree." The next time
Coyote threw his eyes up they caught and hung in the tree. Coyote
had no eyes and Rabbit made eyes for him of pitch.
Long ago Fox was stealing. He was crawling through a
small hole in the bottom of the fence. The farmer put a figure made
of pitch in the hole. Fox was walking around in the night and saw
this figure of pitch. "Get out of the way and let me pass," he said.
"There are many watermelons." The figure moved from side to side. He
went up closer to it. "Go on," he told it. It did not go. When Fox
started through, the figure slid from one side to the other. "It is
not a person," he said and started to go in. Move away he told it.
It did not move away. He struck the pitch. His hand stuck there. "I
will strike you with my left hand," he said. His left hand stuck to
the figure. " I will kick you with my right foot," he threatened.
When his foot stuck he said he would kick him with his left foot.
When his left foot was fast he said he would switch him hard with
his tail. His tail stuck fast. "I will bite your head off," he said.
He bit him and his teeth stuck fast.
The man came and found him hanging to one side of the figure. He
took Fox to his house and tied him to a stake while he heated water
to scald him. Coyote came along and asked Fox why he was there. Fox
said he was waiting there while they brought something sweet for him
to eat. " Cousin, let me take your place," Coyote said. Coyote let
himself be tied up and Fox went up on the top of the ridge to watch.
The man brought out the hot water and poured it over Coyote's back
so that the hair came off. Coyote went trotting off until he came
where Rabbit sat by some water.
Coyote, coming up behind, saw Rabbit and caught him. While he was
holding him with his teeth, Rabbit said, "I will tell you
something." The moon was to be seen reflected in the water. Rabbit
told Coyote that there was some gold lying in there and that was why
he was sitting there drinking the water. Coyote looked and said,
"Why it is so, isn't it?" "Cousin, you drink the water here and I
will drink over there." Rabbit did not drink any of the water. He
only pretended to do so, but Coyote drank a large quantity until his
belly became very large. Rabbit ran away from him. " I will kill you
some time somewhere," Coyote said.
A long way off a rock was standing up. Rabbit was standing against
it. Coyote saw him standing there and was about to knock him down.
"Wait for me, Cousin," Rabbit said, "I will tell you something."
"The sky is falling," he told him, " look up here." Coyote looked up
and said, " It is so, isn't it?" "We had better stand against the
stone." Coyote stood against it and Rabbit ran away. " Wherever you
are I will kill you," said Coyote.
Some distance away Coyote was catching grasshoppers when one sat
down in his mouth and talked to him. "Smooth the spines of that
cactus and I will eat it," he said. "Some other people will come to
me and because of that I shall not be able to eat well." " Go over
there by the water and I will eat it," Coyote said. " Because the
girls come there to get water, I will not be able to eat well." "I
will eat there where the dry wood is set up on end," Coyote said.
"Because they come after wood I cannot eat there very well," it
said. Then he opened his mouth and the grasshopper flew away.
Sack and Pot as Man and
Long ago they say Pot was a woman and Sack was a
man. As these two were walking together they came where there was a
sheer cliff with no way down. Pot jumped over and was broken. Then
Sack jumped over, too, but landed safely. He repaired the pot and
they walked on.
As they traveled they came where a fire was burning over a large
territory. Pot went right in, walked through the middle of the fire,
and came out the other side. She stood at the edge of the fire. Sack
went in and began to blaze there before he had gone far from the
edge of the fire. Pot went in after Sack and brought him out and
repaired him. Pot was not burned at all.
They walked on until they came to a river. Sack waded across to the
other side. Pot went in but filled with water in the middle of the
river and sank. "My wife is drowned," Sack said, and he wept.
The Loaf, the Cloth, and the Hide5
Long ago they say an old woman was living with her
daughter's son. He went away to work. He made a chair and was given
a loaf of bread for his work.6 He was taking it
home to his grandmother when he came to the house of another old
woman. She invited him to eat and he did so. After supper she
invited him to spend the night there. During the night the old woman
stole the boy's loaf and substituted another which he took to his
grandmother. They ate the bread together.
When it was gone and they were about to die of starvation his
grandmother told him to go and work again since they were about to
starve. The boy went there again and made two chairs. He was given a
table cloth for his wages. He was told to spread the cloth and call
for any food or sweets he wanted and then stand with his back to the
cloth. He took the cloth and started home with it. He went to
another old woman's house where he was invited to eat. When he had
eaten he was asked to stay all night. During the night the woman
stole the table cloth and put another in its place. He went to his
grandmother the next morning. When he came to the camp he spread
down the cloth and standing back to it called the names of the
dishes he wanted. When he turned to the cloth there was nothing on
it. No food was there.
Then his grandmother told him to go and work once more. He went
again and made two chairs. For wages he was given a hide and told
that it would do quickly whatever he told it to do. On his way home
he came to the house of the woman again and was invited to eat. He
refused to eat, but demanded his loaf of bread. The woman said she
had not seen his bread. The boy told her she was not telling the
truth and again asked that his loaf be given him. The woman again
said she had not seen it. He told her to hurry and took the hide he
had been given from his pocket. "My hide," he said, "that person
stole my loaf from me. Get it back for me." He dropped the skin and
a black man jumped up from it. He drew a sword and said to the
woman, "Give him back his bread and table cloth quickly." The woman
cried and ran around. She gave them back to the boy who went home to
his grandmother with whom he lived. " Good," she said. They lived
A rich man had a good many people working for him. "Where does the
boy get so much?" they said. Another chief told his men to go over
there and get that man. They went after him. When the boy came there
they put him in jail. The chief told him that after two nights he
would be hung. Then the priest asked the boy what good thing he had
left at his house. He replied that his wife was there and beside he
had a hide. They told him that he was to be hung in one hour. His
wife came bringing the hide. One hour of the time he was to be hung
his wife came in the jail bringing the hide. He told his wife
good-bye. He took the hide with him when he went to stand on the
gallows. He told the hide to strike the chief who wanted to kill him
with lightning and to kill all the people. It struck them with
1 Told December, 1905, by Skinazbas,
chief of the San Carlos.
2 The Sia account gives a reason for the wish;
Coyote was weary from a long journey Stevenson, (a), 149.
3 Told in 1905 by Frank Ross, a Chiracahua Apache,
living with the San Carlos. A widely distributed story: Matthews,
89; Stevenson, (b), 153; Wissler and Duvall, 29.
4 Told at San Carlos in 1905 by Sidney Smith, a
Tonto Apache who was living with the San Carlos Apache.
The narrator seemed not aware that the story was of other than
5 This is a European story well known to
Spanish-speaking peoples. The recorded tales have as rewards a
snake, a donkey, and a stick instead of those here mentioned.
6 The loaf was supposed not to decrease.
Carlos Apache Mythology
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Myths And Tales From The San Carlos Apache, 1918