Tale of Coyote Dives For Meat

One time when Coyote was out hunting she killed a big deer. She cut the deer up and hid it in a tree while she went home to get her children to come and help her carry the meat home. Wild-Cat saw her kill the deer and hide it, and as soon as Coyote was gone he stole the meat and climbed a tree on the bank of the river, where Coyote could not see him. After a little while Coyote returned with all of her happy and hungry children. They looked every place for the meat. The children were angry at their mother and said that she had lied to them. While they were abusing her, she saw the reflection of the meat in the water, and, thinking that it was the meat, she told her children to sit still while she dived for it. She told them that it had fallen into the water, but that she could very easily get it if they would only be quiet and wait. She dived and struggled in the water, reaching for the meat, but never getting it. Finally she sat down upon the bank to rest, wondering how she could dive deep enough to get the meat. After she had rested she told the little Coyotes to bring her some stones. She tied the stones about her neck and dived again. The Coyotes waited a long time for their mother to come up, but she did not come. After a while they saw some excrement on the water, and they laughed, for they thought it was the meat their mother had thrown up. When they laughed Wild-Cat laughed at their foolishness. They looked up in the tree, and there saw Wild-Cat and all of the meat. Wild-Cat told them that their mother was drowned. Then they began to cry, but Wild-Cat told them not to cry, that he was going to come down and take care of them. He climbed down and brought the deer meat with him. He gave the little Coyotes all they wanted and then took them home. After that, whenever he killed any game he always took some over to the Coyote children, and fed and cared for them until they were grown.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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