Sacred-Texts Native American Navajo
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 At the time Coyote danced to make the corn grow, the story of the Great God Coyote commences. This is where Coyote first used his power given to him by the gods. At a Yeibache, yé’i·bičai, the people will dress up a poor man to look and act like Coyote. First Man told him to do many things. The other gods had the power, but they did not have the knowledge. First Man and First Woman were jealous of the others trying to grow corn and did not give them the knowledge to grow corn. They sent Coyote to go and make the corn grow. First Man and First Woman are themselves not to do such things, but they will have a hand in such things and send Coyote as their representative. Towards the end of the life of Coyote, he became almost mad with his power and it was taken from him because of this.

p. 107

 After Coyote got the pollen from the corn, he went to White-Rock-Staying-in-the-Open. He walked along to where this was and found many animals there, especially prairie dogs. He wanted something to eat, especially prairie dogs. He said, “I wish it would get cloudy. I wish the clouds to spread all over the place,” and they did. He said, “I wish it would begin to rain a few drops for I am too hot.” Anything he wanted to say would happen.

 Coyote got the power which he had from Supreme Sacred Wind, White Bead Woman, the Sun, Talking God, Cailing God, the Moon, the Earth, the Heaven, the Darkness, the Dawn, the Blue Twilight, Yellow Twilight, White Twilight, and all the Wind People (the four main gods and the lesser ones). Coyote then wished, “I wish it would get wet under my feet and water come from beneath my toes.” This too happened. “I wish it would get muddy,” and the water began to rise.

 “When it gets up to my ankle, then to my knee, then half way up to my body, then my back, water comes around to my neck, my ears, and the water will come up to my head.” Each of these things he wished. Coyote then said, “I wish that the water would overflow on me.” With this he began to float and the water took him to where the skunk got his water. This, too, Coyote wished for. Coyote floated to the place called Where-the-Twigs-are-Washed-off-the-Side. As he waited along came a skunk with a water bucket and the cup rattled inside the bucket. He told the skunk his plan and promised to share the meat.

 He told the skunk to get four wooden clubs and put some seeds from a plant on Coyote’s ears and rear to make him look as if he were dead. Coyote told skunk, “When they are dancing, hit me with a stick, but not too hard, whenever they stop dancing. Don’t let anyone else do this. If they hit me, they will hit too hard.” Coyote was planning to get lots of food. Skunk did as Coyote told him and went into the camp telling all the animals that Coyote was dead.

 No one would believe the skunk, but everyone was curious. They decided to send out someone to see if the story were really true. Rabbit was sent out to where Coyote had died. The rabbit looked at him from a distance for he was afraid, but he saw the seeds and went back and told everybody that Coyote was dead. If these seeds had not been put on the carcass of Coyote, there would be no one who would decay in these later days.

 The second time a deer was sent to see if what had been said by rabbit before was true. The deer did the the same as the rabbit had done. p. 108 Always the people sent someone who could get away from Coyote quickly. (This story will cause it to rain or snow. F. G. will not tell the important name of the Thunder that will make it snow or rain as Coyote did in this story.) The antelope went and all happened as it had before. The mountain sheep went, and did the same things and said as before, “It is the truth.” Everyone back at camp argued and said it was or was not the truth. Once again they sent someone and this time it was a cottontail. He was told to look everywhere and look at Coyote very carefully to see if he were really dead. “It is true, he is dead,” the cottontail said when he returned. (“This story is part of the Emergence Myth and not a fairy tale. At this time Coyote had all of his power, while during the fairy tales he is only a witch,” F. G.) The cottontail had put his head to Coyote’s heart, but the fur was blowing back and forth because of the wind. It was hard to tell if he were really dead or not. The cottontail crawled all over Coyote’s body. All the people did not care if cottontail was eaten up and that is why they sent him.

 All of the animals, the gophers, mice, squirrels and all of the others, finally gathered and began to beat their drums. The drums were made out of clay pots with water inside and buckskin over the top. All the animals had a Happy Dance around him. They knocked a piece off the edge of the pots as they celebrated. If they had not, they would have been killed. If this were to happen at a Squaw Dance, it is an omen of evil. They were too busy hitting the drum and hit too hard. That is why it was broken. The drumming was driving all of the witchcraft and evil away and that is why it was done. When there is a squaw Dance, there is a basket turned upside down and hit like these people did.

 The skunk was saying, “Dead witchcraft,” as he hit Coyote. All of the people danced in a four row circle. The skunk hit Coyote with a club every time they stopped dancing. The skunk said to the people. “Give me a chance to sing, and everyone look up in the sky and don’t look, but close your eyes.” Skunk put his rear end in the sky and put it (his scent bag) into the circle four times. The fourth time he blinded them with his protection. The skunk got his poison at the gambling cave, and it was given to him for protection at that time. This is the reason for skunk having his poison for if this had not happened there would be no blind people now.

 Coyote jumped up and said, “This is no time for witchcraft to die. Who ever heard of witches dying?” He took his four sticks buried underneath him in the dirt, and using two of them, started killing all of the big animals. The skunk had the other sticks and tried to kill all of the little p. 109 animals. Some of the fleeter animals escaped, however. The animals that were killed were gutted and a fire was built. After the fire died down and only the hot coals were left, the animals were pushed inside.

 Resting after their work, Coyote thought of a way to cheat skunk out of his share of meat. So he said, “Skunk, while we are waiting for the meat to cook, let us have a race to give us a good appetite.” The one who was to get back first won the most animals. They decided upon a distance to run when Coyote again said, “Skunk, you go first for you are not as good a runner as I am.” So off skunk went, and when he was out of sight, he went to a badger’s hole, climbed inside and pulled brush over the top of it.

 Pretty soon he heard someone running. As he peeked out he saw Coyote running by with a fire brand of cedar tied to his tail so he could run faster. After Coyote had gone by, skunk went back to the fire and took out all the large animals. These he carried to the top of a large rock and later put all the small ones back in the fire to fool Coyote. After skunk had finished, Coyote came back and laid down to rest. He lay in the shade with sand on his chest to cover him and to cool himself off.

 After he rested he poked around for the cooked animals, but only found a mouse which he threw to the east. Each time he pulled out a small animal he threw it in one of the four directions, one to the south, then west and finally to the north. The tails of the large animals had been left in the coals so that he found these, too. As he pulled on the tails to pull the animals out of the fire, the tails came out. “These animals are really tender.” Coyote thought, “very tender.”

 At last, when he found nothing, he looked around and saw the tracks of the skunk. Now Coyote knew what had happened and he begged skunk for food, but skunk merely laughed. Coyote was still very hungry, so we went back and ate all the small animals. As he ate, skunk dropped the bones from the large animals down on Coyote’s head.1

p. 110

 After his terrible experience with skunk, Coyote traveled on and soon came to a hogan. There he met a girl called Changing Bear Maiden, č’ikę́h šaš náλe·hé. He looked at her and right off said he wanted to marry her. She told him that the one who married her would have to be able to be killed for four times. He went outside after this and hid his heart and circulatory system in the brush. When he came back into the house, he said, “I can be killed four times and I will still not die.”

 She killed Coyote with a club and took his body outside and threw him away from the house. After she entered the hogan, he came in behind her. She killed him for the second time and then did the same with him as before. Once again as she went into the house, he was following her. The third time she cut him into two pieces and threw him outside, but he was still alive. The fourth and final time she cut up his body into little pieces and ground it up on a grinding stone. As she took the pieces outside, she threw some to the east, some to the south, some to the west and the rest she threw to the north.

 Once again Coyote came back into the hogan and said, “Now you are mine.” There was no regular Navaho ceremony for this marriage, but it was binding anyway. Later Coyote and the girl had intercourse in the hogan. Just as they had finished, Changing Bear Maiden’s five brothers came back from a hunt with much meat. When they came into the hogan, Coyote hid behind some goods. The fire was burning and they said, “It smells like Coyote has been urinating on this. Throw it out and bring in more wood.” The brothers went out and cut some wood outside and brought it back. They built a fire, but they could still smell Coyote (urine) and said, “Coyote has been around here.”

 Again they went out and cut some branches higher on the tree, but the same things happened as before. Higher and higher on the tree they p. 111 went, and finally on top of the tree they got more wood. They built a fire four times. During a ceremony there should be four new fires built with wood from branches on a tree because of this. At last Coyote jumped out and said, “What were you saying, my brothers-in-law?” The men did not want Coyote for their brother, but they could do nothing about it.

 The next day the boys got ready to go hunting again. They did not want to take Coyote, but had to take him because he had married their sister. They soon came to a canyon where the boys said a prayer, and they crossed over the canyon using a rainbow. Underneath, in the canyon, lived the Spider People. The boys crossed over this canyon and went down into another canyon where it came to a point. As they hunted they had much luck and killed many mountain sheep.

 At this time the mountain sheep had two rolls of fat where their horns are now. Coyote wanted the fat for it was a delicacy. The brothers told him no. Coyote kept asking and asking and finally gave up and said to the fat, “Change slowly to bone, to bone, to bone, to bone,” and it did. After hunting all day they had all the mutton they wanted. After they had cleaned all the sheep, the brothers had a sing and pushed the meat together into a small bundle the size of your thumb.

 They told Coyote as he left for home, “Whatever you do, do not open this package.” They gave him the song or prayer to sing to get over the top of the canyon by using the rainbow spectrum. These brothers were gods for they could go over rainbows. When Coyote had left them and was a short distance away, he set the bundle down and opened it. It began to grow and grow. Soon it was too heavy to lift, so he just picked up a part of the meat and took it to the rainbow. He said the prayer, but it would not work for he had disobeyed and thus was punished. He walked along the edge of the canyon to try and find a way out.

 Down below in the canyon Coyote saw the Spider People moving around. Some of them had wanted to marry the Changing Bear Maiden, but they had been refused by her. Coyote made fun of them because of this and because of their having skinny legs and fat bodies. All of the Spider People became angry, and the Grandfather Spider made a corral around all four sides of Coyote. The old man spider crawled up behind Coyote and made a corral around him while he was busy insulting the rest. The fence had been built like a spider web.

 Coyote thought he could out run all the spiders. He ran away and jumped over the first fence, then over the second and third, but the fourth one he could not jump over. At last the spiders ran him down. The p. 112 grandmother ran him down and killed him with a club. If Coyote had known they had fenced him in, he would have hidden his heart and thus would not have been killed. Coyote had to be killed for he went crazy with his power. These spiders were gods, and according to what Coyote did there are always some big shots who make mistakes, even today.

 Coyote could be killed because he did not leave his heart and blood system in the bushes that time. Before this time he was able to stay alive for he kept them hidden. Spiders with all colors were all over him. Coyote had many colors on his hide. The spiders took off his skin and gave it to some of the birds and animals, and that is why these animals have these colors on their hides or skins today. Even now some birds have a red stripe down their head (woodpecker) and some with black heads. This was the end of Coyote God for he went wild with his power and had all of his power taken away.

 The body of Coyote lay outside and soon began to change into red coyotes as they are today. The main Coyote Gods were sent in all directions, one to the east, a black one, a blue one to the south, a yellow one to the west, and a white one to the north. The Coyote to the east said, “When I yell, all coyotes on the earth will, too.” A piece of Coyote God, one quarter, was thrown to the east and became the Black Coyote. Another quarter was thrown to the south and he said, “When any of us yell (in the four directions) all coyotes will, too.” The other half of Coyote that was left was thrown in the other main directions. These four Coyotes were and are in charge of all the coyotes on earth.

 The fecal material, dirt and hide of Coyote God turned into another grey coyote which is not a god coyote. This is the story before the gambling cave and this human coyote was the one who was gambling in the cave. From this time begins the origin of the fairy tales of Coyote. When the brothers came home to Changing Bear Maiden, they told her about what had happened. She was very unhappy because Coyote was killed. In the short while she had known Coyote, he had taught her many things and had given her some of his power. She felt that her brothers were the cause of his death.

 With the knowledge Coyote had given her, she set out to destroy them. They knew that she was going to do this and so tried to escape. They hid their youngest brother in the inside of the hogan in a hole with a rock over the top of it. One brother went to the east, one to the south, one to the west and the fourth one to the north. She followed them and turned into a bear and killed the one to the east, then the one to the south, west and finally the north. She searched all over but could not find her fifth and p. 113 youngest brother. She finally returned to the hogan and urinated on the floor and said, “Whatever direction the urine takes will be the direction my brother went.” The urine stayed in a puddle in the middle of the floor so she knew that her little brother was under the ground. She began to scratch in the dirt and soon found a stone slab and pulled it out. There was her brother, and she said, “Come out, brother,” and he did.

 She offered to take the lice off of his head and so he agreed. He sat with his back towards her while she looked for the bugs. He glanced at the wall and saw the shadow of a bear with its mouth wide open. He jumped up and said to her, “What is the idea?” She replied, “Oh, I am just trying to get rid of your lice for you.” He saw her do this four times and then he escaped following the Holy Wind’s orders. He found where she had hidden her vitals, like Coyote had done, and plunged a knife into them. The girl fell down dead. The Wind told him to stop the blood from her heart and body coming together. Had he not done this Changing Bear Maiden would have come back to life. Thus ends the story of Coyote and Changing Bear Maiden.



p. 109

1 Frequently, as has been mentioned before, names, places and stories were not told in the original narration of the story because of the belief that power-loss would result. However, in the reading back of the original writing of the story to the informant, additional stories were given with the explanation that since the other medicine men would not tell, then the informant would. It is extremely difficult, at times, to differentiate between the sacred myth, the animal tales or the origin myths of the many ceremonies. A story was given at this point of the myth, which in the p. 110 comparison of published material, should belong here. The informant believed this particular story to be neither a part of the sacred myth or an animal tale. In short, this story tells about the feigned death of Coyote because of his desires and designs upon his daughter. Coyote tells his wife he is about to die and that she and the family will meet a man who looks similar to him in their wanderings. All this happens, and obeying Coyote’s last wishes, the daughter marries the stranger, who is actually Coyote, and soon has a child. The deception is discovered and the child is thrown into a badger hole and later is progenitor of the Utes and Paiutes. An additional story continues with the adventures of Coyote’s child which is the origin myth of a witchcraft curing ceremony called Owl-Raised-Utes, which has not yet been published.