Coyote and Skunk


Coyote started from his home at Huerfano Mountain.  He started out at noon on a cloudless day.  It had become frightfully hot.  He was trotting right along, but stopped suddenly, looked up and said:  "It certainly is hot!  I wish it would become cloudy for me!"  At once clouds appeared.  "I wish a person could trot along with a little sprinkle!" he said.  Immediately he was trotting while it sprinkled on him.  "I wish it would rain some more on a person," he said.  And really, he was trotting along with more rain falling upon him.  "I wish a person could trot along with water oozing from between his toes!" he said.  And according to his wish the water was actually oozing between his toes as he trotted on.  " I wish a person could trot along with water reaching his ankles!" he said.  As he had wished, he was trotting in water which reached his ankles.  "I wish a person could trot along in water the depth of his arm!" he said.  And as he had wished, he was trotting in water the depth of his arm.  "I wish a person could trot along with water in line with his spine only!" he said.  And as he had wished, he was trotting along with the water in line with his spine.  "I wish a person could trot along with only his ears extending out!" he said.  And as he had wished, only his ears extended out as he trotted on.

"I wish it would float a person down now!' he said.  Straight away he began floating.  "I wish a person could float out to a prairie-dog colony!" he said.  He floated out towards a prairie- dog colony.  "I wish a person could land on debris!' he said.  As he had wished, he landed on debris.  The water had all moved away.  He lay there without the least sign of life in him.  Shortly there after a Skunk passed nearby on his way to water.  "Look here, My Cousin, come over here to me," Coyote said.  Skunk went to him.  "The hated one has actually died,' you will tell about me, My Cousin," he said.  "He has been washed ashore, worms are eating him,' you must tell about me!  Under me you will bury four wooden clubs!" he said.  And immediately he buried those four desired clubs under him.  "'He is worm-eaten,' you will tell about me!  Sprinkle rush grass around my anus and my mouth!" This Skunk did, then he started back and returned home.

"That hated one is really dead, he has been washed out!" Skunk said.  "What could kill that thing!  You speak as one telling a lie!""  Nevertheless, let one of you go and see!"  Skunk said.  So the Jack Rabbit Started out and came there.  When he got there he found Coyote lying there with no sign of breath in him.  After merely taking a look at him he started back and reached home.  "Nevertheless let two of you go!" and two started out.  When they came there he lay there with not the least sign of breath in him.  The two went home again.  "It is true, he is dead, he was washed ashore," they said.  Well, let three of you go just to make sure!" Immediately they went there but, as before, found him laying, with not the least sign of breath in him.  "It is true, that the hated one is dead; he is wormy," they said upon returning.  "Nevertheless let four of you go!" was said.  Immediately four started.  "Walk around him very carefully!" he said to them.  Again they came over there and found not the least sign of breath in him.  "Well, it is true, he is really dead, he is wormy," they said upon returning.  When they returned here they said:  "There can be no doubt about it, the hated on is really dead!"  "In that event we ought to celebrate fortunate favor by a dance!  Tell the people round about to gather!  It was said.

The news was then spread among the people, who gathered in great numbers.  Living beings of all kinds came together.  From here they moved in a mass and came to the place where he lay.  There they began their movements, encircling him while singing.  "Little Prairie-dogs are dancing in a circle, little Prairie-dogs are dancing in a circle," were the words of their song.  Suddenly the Skunk said: "People ought to be looking upward when they dance!" But he had urinated upward and the urine had fallen in the eyes of those who had raised them.  You should have seen all the doubling up, all around!  The supposedly dead Coyote jumped up and snatched up the clubs mentioned.  And how he used these on them.  Some of them reached safety they say.

And so he has killed frightfully many.  "Where can we roast them in ashes, My Cousin?" he said.  They carried them to the slope of a nearby hill.  They dug four trenches in which they built a fire with small sticks.  When these were burnt up, they raked them into the ashes at these four places.  Then, suddenly Coyote said  "let us run a foot race, My Cousin, around Crystal Mountain!"  "No I cannot run fast, my limbs are short", Skunk said.  "Just the same we will run the race, My Cousin!" he said again.  "No my limbs are short," he said.  "Oh no, we will run the race just the same, My Cousin," Coyote said.  "No i cannot run fast, my limbs are short," Skunk said.  "Oh no, we will; run the race just the same!  You run ahead (and have an advantage), I will follow!" Coyote said.

Immediately Skunk started out.  Not far away there was a ridge over which he ran.  It so happens that there was a Badger hole, into which he immediately crawled.  The entrance he closed with dodge weed.  Quite a time elapsed before Coyote came running along over the ridge.  He had made a fire, and raising smoke he was coming along.  He dashed close by the Skunk without seeing him.  After he had gone, the Skunk came out.  In the distance, that Coyote was floating around Crystal Mountain.  And so Skunk started back and returned to the place where they had covered the small animals with ashes.  Immediately he took out all those that had been placed in the center.  At the edges he put scrubby little prairie-dogs back into the trenches.  Those taken out, he packed up to a high rock shelf, where he sat, eating them.

Meanwhile the Coyote we speak of was coming along in the distance.  It was a sight to see him constantly moving his head in every direction and raising smoke as he ran along!  And so, it seems, he returned.  Having accomplished this, he lay in the shade on his back, rubbing his chest with moist soil.  "Wonder what became of that Cousin of mine! Wonder how far back the poor fellow is trotting along! There simply is not anybody to compete with a person the way I finished that run!" he said.  "No short-limbed fellow can expect to compete with my running," he said.  "I may as well rake them out! I must have gotten hungry.  Who knows when he will ever come along!" he said.  With that he picked up a stick, poked out one of those little prairie-dogs and made it appear as a black spot (getting smaller) in the distance where he threw it.  "I could not eat any of the others if I ate that!" he said.  In vain he was poking around in the four trenches. "There is not a thing, look at that!" he said.  He gathered up the castoff small prairie-dogs again.  "You did this, Urinator!  Who but you would do this! You did this, I am positive!" he said.

Coyote then began to track Skunk.  He found his tracks up to the base of the rocks, then lost them.  In time Coyote discovered Skunk and said:  "My Cousin, give me some of my food back to me!"  The spine from which the meat had been cleaned, leaving the bone only, he threw down to him.  You should have seen him pounce upon it!  "It usually is my good fortune to get this!" he said.  And you should have heard that gees gees sound!  Again, he threw down the mass of intestines to him.  My, how he pounced upon it again!  "This string usually drops my way!" he remarked.  Without chewing it he swallowed it.  Then Skunk threw one of the hides down to him, again.  "This fluff usually drops my way!" he said.  One of the heads, too, he threw down to him.  You should have seen him take after it!  "This, which makes a crunching noise, usually drops my way!" he said.  Up to this point the full count was made.  From there Coyote started to return into the Rock Canyon and arrived at his cornfield where, just in the surroundings of it, he was looking for tracks, they say.

Navajo Coyote Tales,  Father Berard Hale,  The Curly To Aheedliinii Version,  Pgs. 27 thru 30