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p. 37

The Wax Monkey

IN A CERTAIN part of the Yaqui region lived a farmer who had many watermelons ripe in his field. He noticed that every morning some of his best, his prettiest, and his largest watermelons were missing. Finally he said, "I would like to know who it is that is eating my watermelons."

So he set to work to make a monkey out of wax. When he finished it, he put it in the middle of his field. "Here you will stay," said the old man to the wax monkey. "If some thief comes along, don't let him get away." He planted the wax monkey there and went away to sleep in tranquility.

During the night, Coyote went into the field to eat watermelon. When he saw the wax monkey he said, "Get out of here and leave me alone so I can eat watermelon." Since the monkey didn't answer, Coyote became very angry and said, "If you don't go away I will beat you." The monkey didn't move, so Coyote raised his hand and hit

p. 38

the monkey on his head, and his hand stuck there. This made Coyote even more angry and he said, "If you don't let me go I will hit you in the stomach with my other hand!" And he struck the monkey in the middle with all his might. His hand went right through and stayed stuck in the stomach of the wax monkey.

"Aha!" shouted Coyote, "then I'll kick you!" And he kicked him with one foot, then the other. Both feet stuck. He then beat his head against the wax monkey and his head stuck. Finally he struck him with his tail and it also stuck.

Early in the morning when the farmer came to his field he found every part of Coyote stuck to the wax monkey. He put the thief into a cage and set a large clay olla full of water on the fire. When the water was boiling, he threw it over Coyote and burned off his fur.

It is said that Coyote ran around naked until he died and the buzzards ate him.

Next: The False Beggar