The Traditions of the Hopi by H. R. Voth
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68. THE COYOTE AND THE BLUE JAYS. 1
Halíksai! A long time ago the people lived in Oraíbi. West of the village, at Íshmovala, lived the Coyote and his wife. They had six children and the Coyote used to go and hunt rabbits for his children. One day he went hunting again and found a little cottontail rabbit, which he chased. The rabbit ran into the hole, which the Coyote could not enter. "How shall I get this rabbit out now?" he thought to himself; then somebody came along; it was the Badger. "You get this out for me here," the Coyote said, "I want this rabbit for my children to eat." So the Coyote sat down and waited while the Badger scratched a hole until he reached the rabbit, whereupon he pulled the latter out. The Coyote was very happy. "Thus," he
said, "on your account my children will have something to eat." Then the Coyote took the rabbit in his mouth and ran home with it, being very happy. When he arrived in his home the little Coyotes wrangled over the rabbit, tore it to pieces and devoured it, some of them getting something, others not, so they remained hungry.
The next morning both the Coyote and his wife went out in search of food again, the latter ascending up to the village, and ran past the village on the west side, then by the north side, turning northward over the mesas. Not finding anything, she finally entered the woods north of the village. All at once she heard something in the trees, and, looking up, she saw some Blue Jays in the tree. The Blue jays were dancing in the tree and she coveted them. They said to the Coyote: "We are having a dance here, you come and be with us and assist us." "I would like to," the Coyote said, "but how shall I get up there?" "Why, we shall lend you some of our wings, tails, and feathers," the Blue jays said. "All right," she said. So they took off some of their wings, tails, and feathers and put them on her legs. They then told her that she must dance and sing just the same as they did, and then they again began to sing.
The Coyote now having wings ascended and danced with them. When they had finished the song they all flew away, the Coyote with them, and alighted on some other tree. This they repeated in all three times. They then flew up high into the air, the Coyote with them, and when they were very high up they all surrounded the Coyote, each one saying: "This is my tail, this is my wing, these are my feathers," and then tore out all the feathers that they had loaned the Coyote. When they had torn out all the feathers the Coyote began to fall downward to the earth. When she reached it she was dead.
Her children still had nothing to eat. When the Coyote father saw that his wife was not coming home he concluded that he would go and hunt her. Following her tracks, he ascended to the village, passed the village on the west side, and when he reached the north side of the village the dogs of the village noticed him and pursued him. He at once left the footprints of his wife and ran back to his children. So after that the little Coyotes had no mother. The Coyote then afterwards hunted food alone for his children, and that is the reason why so many Coyotes have to look out for their food alone.
196:1 Told by Wikvaya (Oraíbi).
Next: 69. The Coyote and the Eagle