ALL the animals with which the Tée-wahn are familiar--the buffalo (which they used to hunt on the vast plains to the eastward), the bear, deer, antelope, mountain lion, badger, wild turkey, fox, eagle, crow, buzzard, rabbit, and so on--appear in their legends and fairy tales, as well as in their religious ceremonials and beliefs. Too-wháy-deh, the Coyote, 1 or little prairie wolf, figures in countless stories, and always to his own disadvantage. Smart as he is in some things, he believes whatever is told him; and by his credulity becomes the butt of all the other animals, who never tire of "April-fooling" him. He is also a great coward. To call an Indian here "Too-wháy-deh" is one of the bitterest insults that can be offered him.
You have already heard how the Coyote fared at the hands of the fun-loving Bear, and of the Crows and the Blackbirds. A very popular tale is that of his adventure with a bright cousin of his.
Once upon a time Too-wháy-shur-wée-deh, the Little-Blue-Fox, 1 was wandering near a pueblo, and chanced to come to the threshing-floors, where a great many crows were hopping. just then the Coyote passed, very hungry; and while yet far off, said: "Ai! how the stomach cries! I will just eat Little-Blue-Fox." And coming, he said:
"Now, Little-Blue-Fox, you have troubled me enough! You are the cause of my being chased by the dogs and people, and now I will pay you. I am going to eat you up this very now!"
"No, Coyote-friend," answered the Little-Blue-Fox, "don't eat me up! I am here guarding these chickens, for there is a wedding in yonder house, which is my master's, and these chickens are for the wedding-dinner. Soon they will come for the chickens, and will invite me to the dinner-and you can come also."
"Well," said the Coyote, "if that is so, I will not eat you, but will help you watch the chickens." So he lay down beside him.
At this, Little-Blue-Fox was troubled, thinking how to get away; and at last he said:
"Friend Too-wháy-deh, I make strange that they have not before now come for the chickens. Perhaps they have forgotten. The best way is for
me to go to the house and see what the servants are doing."
"It is well," said the Coyote. "Go, then, and I will guard the chickens for you."
So the Little-Blue-Fox started toward the house; but getting behind a small hill, he ran away with fast feet. When it was a good while, and he did not come back, the Coyote thought: "While he is gone, I will give myself some of the chickens." Crawling up on his belly to the threshing-floor, he gave a great leap. But the chickens were only crows, and they flew away. Then he began to say evil of the Little-Blue-Fox for giving him a trick, and started on the trail, vowing: "I will eat him up wherever I catch him."
After many miles he overtook the Little-Blue-Fox, and with a bad face said: "Here! Now I am going to eat you up!"
The other made as if greatly excited, and answered: "No, friend Coyote! Do you not hear that tombé 1?"
The Coyote listened, and heard a drum in the pueblo.
"Well," said the Little-Blue-Fox, "I am called for that dance, 2 and very soon they will come for me. Won't you go too?"
"If that is so, I will not eat you, but we will go to the dance." And the Coyote sat down and began to comb his hair and to make himself pretty with face-paint. When no one came, the Little-Blue-Fox said:
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''THERE THEY STOOP SIDE BY SIDE.''
"Friend Coyote, I make strange that the alguazil does not come. It is best for me to go up on this hill, whence I can see into the village. You wait here."
"He will not dare to give me another trick," thought the Coyote. So he replied: "It is well. But do not forget to call me."
So the Little-Blue-Fox went up the hill; and as soon as he was out of sight, he began to run for his life.
Very long the Coyote waited; and at last, being tired, went up on the hill--but there was no one there. Then he was very angry, and said: "I will follow him, and eat him surely! Nothing shall save him!" And finding the trail, he began to follow as fast as a bird.
just as the Little-Blue-Fox came to some high cliffs, he looked back and saw the Coyote coming over a hill. So he stood up on his hind feet and put his fore paws up against the cliff, and made many groans, and was as if much excited. In a moment came the Coyote, very angry, crying: "Now you shall not escape me! I am going to eat you up now--now!"
"Oh, no, friend Too-wháy-deh!" said the other; "for I saw this cliff falling down, and ran to hold it up. If I let go, it will fall and kill us both. But come, help me to hold it."
Then the Coyote stood up and pushed against the cliff with his fore paws, very hard; and there they stood side by side.
Time passing so, the Little-Blue-Fox said:
"Friend Too-wháy-deh, it is long that I am
holding up the cliff, and I am very tired and thirsty. You are fresher. So you hold up the cliff while I go and hunt water for us both; for soon you too will be thirsty. There is a lake somewhere on the other side of this mountain; I will find it and get a drink, and then come back and hold up the cliff while you go."
The Coyote agreed, and the Little-Blue-Fox ran away over the mountain till he came to the lake, just as the moon was rising.
But soon the Coyote was very tired and thirsty, for he held up the cliff with all his might. At last he said: "Ai! how hard it is! I am so thirsty that I will go to the lake, even if I die!"
So he began to let go of the cliff, slowly, slowly--until he held it only with his finger-nails; and then he made a great jump away backward, and ran as hard as he could to a hill. But when he looked around and saw that the cliff did not fall, he was very angry, and swore to eat Too-wháy-shur-wée-deh the very minute he should catch him.
Running on the trail, he came to the lake; and there the Little-Blue-Fox was lying on the bank, whining as if greatly excited. "Now I will eat you up, this minute!" cried the Coyote. But the other said: "No, Friend Too-wháy-deh! Don't eat me up! I am waiting for some one who can swim as well as you can. I just bought a big cheese 1 from a shepherd to share with you; but when I went to drink, it slipped out of my hands into the water. [paragraph continues]
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'''HOW SHALL I GET IT?' SAID THE COYOTE.''
Come here, and I will show you." He took the Coyote to the edge of the high bank, and pointed to the moon in the water.
"M----m!" said the Coyote, who was fainting with hunger. "But how shall I get it? It is very deep in the water, and I shall float up before I can dive to it."
"That is true, friend," said the other." There is but one way. We must tie some stones to your neck, to make you heavy so you can go down to it."
So. they hunted about until they found a buckskin thong and some large stones; and the Little-Blue-Fox tied the stones to the Coyote's neck, the Coyote holding his chin up, to help.
"Now, friend Too-wháy-deh, come here to the edge of the bank and stand ready. I will take you by the back and count weem, wée-si, p'áh-chu!, And when I say three, you must jump and I will push-for now you are very heavy."
So he took the Coyote by the back of the neck, swaying him back and forth as he counted. And at "p'áh-chu!" he pushed hard, and the Coyote jumped, and went into the deep water, and--never came out again!
222:1 Pronounced Coy-óh-ty.
223:1 He is always a hero, and as smart as the Coyote is stupid. His beautiful pelt is an important part of the costume worn in many of the sacred dances of the Tée-wahn.
224:1 Pronounced tom-báy. The sacred drum used in Pueblo dances.
224:2 In all such Indian dances the participants are named by the officials.
228:1 Of course chickens and cheeses were not known to the Pueblos before the Spanish conquest; and the cheese is so vital a part of the story that I hardly think it can be an interpolation. So this tale, though very old, is probably not ancient--that is, it has been invented since 1600.