Tale of Coyote Becomes A Buffalo

While Coyote was out hunting something to eat he met Buffalo, who was very powerful among his tribe. He was eating grass and looked fat and well fed. Coyote asked him if he would give him power to turn into a Buffalo and eat grass as he did. Buffalo said: “Yes, I will give you the power which was given to me by the Great-Father-Above, but when I give you the power you must not use it every chance you get, but only when very necessary.” He told Coyote to stand facing the other way and not to move, but to be brave as he was. Coyote stood still, wondering what was going to happen to him. Buffalo began to throw up dirt with his hoofs and to act very angrily. He told Coyote to keep his eyes closed. Then he made a plunge toward him, and when he was about to strike him with his horns, Coyote jumped out of the way, and Buffalo passed him without touching him. He did this the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth times, but the seventh time he stood there without moving. He could hear Buffalo coming at him, but he stood there awaiting what would happen to him. Buffalo struck him and rolled him under his stomach with his horns and threw him up into the air. When he came down on his feet he was turned into a very young Buffalo. He began to eat green grass at once. Then the old Buffalo told him that if he wanted to turn into a Coyote again, he must find a Buffalo wallow, roll himself over two or three times, and then he would arise a Coyote. Again Buffalo cautioned him not to use his power too often, telling him that the power was good for only seven times, and he also told him that he must not give the power to any one else, especially to any of his own race. Before they parted the real Buffalo told Coyote to change back into a Coyote, and he did so, and then they both went on their way. Before Coyote had gone far from Buffalo, he wanted to try his power to see if he could use it alone. He did, and became a Buffalo. During that same day he tried his power three or four times, and before he had met any one he had tried it six times, and had turned himself into a Buffalo for the seventh time. While he was a Buffalo he met one of his own people, a famous Coyote, and so he went up to him and said: “Do not you want me to give you some of my power, so that you can eat grass as I do? You look as though you were very hungry.” “Yes,” said Coyote. “Well, all right,” said Coyote-Buffalo. “Go off a short distance from me and stand there and face the other way. Do not run, but be brave as I am. Close your eyes. Now, I am ready,” and so he started at him, but the other Coyote jumped out of the way every time until the last time came. Then Coyote stood his ground, and Coyote-Buffalo rolled him under his stomach, and they both went up in the air and came down on their feet. They were both Coyotes, and they stood looking at each other for a time; then they separated and went off.

Caddo, Legends,

Dorsey, George A. Traditions of the Caddo. Washington: Carnegie Institution. 1905.

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