Rabbit & Coyote


And so, it seems, he started out again. Suddenly, a Cottontail jumped up at his feet. In no time he overtook and caught it. "Wait, wait, wait, My Cousin, first let us tell each other something!" that Rabbit said. "No, you will run away from me!" Coyote said. "I will sit at your feet while we are telling each other," he said. "All right, then!" Coyote said. "What is it you are going to tell me?" Coyote asked.

"The arrow of a human being, from where does it move out, My Cousin?" Rabbit said.

But Coyote said: "It moves out of his mouth!"


The Rabbit said: "No, it moves from over his shoulder."

"No, it does not. It moves out of his mouth!" he replied.

"No, My Cousin, I ought to know it very well, as he (the human hunter) carries it around me (where I hide). Therefore it moves out over his shoulder," he said.

At the same moment he jumped up across his shoulder. You should have seen how he grabbed any old way-but in vain! Then he took after him. Just when he was about to overtake him he kicked a rotten stump of yucca against him. The Rabbit did this, just when there was no place to escape. You should have seen Coyote roll over with that rotten yucca stump! Meanwhile, it seems, he was running on over there, and ran with all his speed towards a hole. When at the edge of a bluff he had very nearly overtaken him, he ran into the hole.
In this way, it seems, by running too far, he (Coyote) plunged down over the bluff and landed right at the base of it. "Hm!" he said, "that surely was very unfortunate!" Then, it seems, he returned up above where the Rabbit had run into the hole. He was looking into the hole when he could see the white spot of his rear end close-up. "I must smoke you out!" he said But the Rabbit asked:

"What with?"

"Oh, with dodgeweed," Coyote said.

"That I usually eat!"

"Then with cedar!"

"That I usually eat!"

"Then with pinon boughs!"

"That I usually eat!" the Rabbit said

"Then positively, with sagebrush!"

"That I usually eat," Rabbit said

"Pinon pitch it will be! I will smoke you out with that! That is settled," Coyote said.

"Ouch! This time I will surely die!" Rabbit said.


And so he looked for pitch and brought a great amount of it. Then, it seems, he built a fire at his entrance with slim twigs. You should have seen that smoke twist into the hole where he was and watch Coyote blow it. "It is getting unbearable, My Cousin! Get closer and blow it (get it over with) I am in a dying condition (and shorten my suffering)," said Rabbit. And thus when the pitch which he had brought had caught fire, he (Rabbit) kicked it against him. You should have seen it splash into his face! "There ought to be a splash when (something soft) hits my face!" said Coyote. From his face (so treated) he wiped all the hair (adhering to the pitch) "What do you think of that!" Coyote said. Pgs. 38-39

Navajo Coyote Tales;1993, Father Berard Haile, O.F.M

Rabbits are hunted or trapped for their meat. Originally the fur was braided with yucca, and served as a rude covering or wrap. The fibula of the rabbit is still used in preparing a ceremonial whistle. Pg. 141

An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navajo Language; 1910, The Franciscan Fathers.