The Theft of the Pine Nuts
One day the coyote decided to go pine nut tasting. He summoned the north wind to blow so that he could find the nuts. As the cool breeze came from the north the coyote stuck his nose in the air and sniffed. He could not smell anything! Coyote summoned the wind from the east to blow. Again the coyote found no sent in the breeze from the east. A little worried, coyote summoned the wind to blow from the west. Yet again there was no sent. Finally, coyote summoned the wind from the south. As this breeze blew in, coyote grew excited as he was able to smell something good. “I smell the pine nuts from the south!” Coyote said as he headed in that direction.
When Coyote reached the place where the pine nuts grew he came across some children. All of the children were happily feasting on the pine nuts that they gathered. Coyote asked the children to share, but they would not give him any of the delicious nuts. Coyote moved onto the camp, but the people there did not want to share either. They said, “Coyote is no good. Give him no pine nuts and he will grow thin, not thick.” They gave him mashed up nuts that were so thin they slipped right out of his mouth.
Coyote returned home hungry. He told his brother Wolf about what happened. Wolf spread the word that there is good food to eat in the south and that everyone should gather at his camp. They met and talked about how they were going to get this good food to eat.
The group traveled together toward the south where the pine nuts grow. When they got to the place coyote had been, they tried to play hand games with the people. The people knew what they came for, so they hid their pine nuts.
Coyote asked Mouse to search in all of the small places for the nuts. Mouse looked inside the house, under the dirt where the pine nuts were cooked, but he could not find a thing. He searched all night. As the sun was starting to rise, Mouse found the stash hanging way up in a bow. Mouse came down and told his friends what he found. Coyote asked the birds if they could peck into the bow. The yellow woodpecker flew up to where the mouse found the stash, made a peck, and the pine nut bag fell out! Coyote grabbed the bag and the group ran out.
The people ran after the group and killed everyone they caught, but they could not find where the animals hid the nuts along the way. This hawk ended up with a pine nut. He changed half his leg into a rotten-smelling leg so when he was caught they tossed him aside. Eventually, the people returned to their camp because they couldn’t find their nuts.
Now all of the animals gathered with the nuts that they hid. The wolf spread his blanket so all of the animals could empty their nuts. The wolf tried to take all of the pine nuts. However, coyote thought they should share, so he ate all the pine nuts. Wherever coyote spewed his saliva is where we find juniper trees growing today. This is why the coyote eats juniper berries in the winter!