The Coyote Legend

It was a hot day in the middle of July. All of the animals were thirsty. Among them was a thirsty coyote. The coyote staggered to a nearby watering hole. When he reached the water he leaned forward to take a drink but recoiled when he saw an ugly creature staring back at him from the pond. He decided to scare away the creature by showing it his teeth, but when he leaned forward  he saw a shaggy dark creature with long fangs glaring back at him. The coyote was afraid of the  creature in the water, so he ran off to another watering hole he knew of that wasn’t far away. When he reached the pond, the coyote saw a rabbit drinking, he thought to himself: “if that small defenseless rabbit can drink from the pond without fear, so can I.” Upon seeing the approaching coyote, the rabbit sped away from the pond. When the coyote leaned forward thirstily to drink, he saw that the creature from the previous lake had followed him. The coyote reeled backwards, and noticed that as he did, the creature disappeared, the coyote thought this was strange, and waited for the water to become still, then he leaned forward again, and when the creature reappeared in the still water, the coyote used his paw to disrupt the water. The coyote always thought he was handsome and cunning, like his relative the wolf, but he now realized that he was not at all.

This story was used to teach Numu children not to act like the overly confident, mischievous coyote. It also taught the children not to act in an undesirable way for fear that they would end up  publicly embarrassed, like the coyote in the story.