Tale of Coyote Hunts Geese

Coyote was once a man and lived with the people. His great-grandfather named him Coyote, but because he did wrong the people came to dislike him and began to call him coward. The reason the people did not like him was because he was always scheming and trying to cheat some one. One time he went out to visit his best friend, and when he arrived at his friend’s lodge he found that his friend had been feasting on white geese. “Where did you get these white geese?” “Well,” said his friend, “I catch them every evening near the lake. Would you like to go with me this evening to catch a few of them?” “Yes,” said Coyote. His friend then said: “You go on home and come back this evening. We will then go together and I will show you where the geese always come in the evening, and I will see that you have a good time, too. “Oh, you do not have to show me how to get them; I can get them all right. All you have to do is just to show me where they are,” said Coyote. “All right,” said his friend, and Coyote was pleased, for he thought he was going to have a very fine, fat bird for supper that evening. He danced all the way from his friend’s home to his own. As soon as Coyote was out of sight the friend began to carry out ashes from the fire and place them near the lake, where he formed them in the shape of white geese. Just before it was evening he went out and put some coals under the ashes, and in a little while the coals burned up, but the fire could not be seen from the outside. When Coyote came to his friend he found him laughing and feeling in high spirits. “Well,” said Coyote, “are you ready to go and catch a few white geese? I am ready to make a long jump and I think I can get two at once.” “Well,” said the friend, “I am ready, too. We will go now.” They started out, and as they approached the place the friend began to go slowly, taking the lead, and when they came to the place he pretended not to see the first pile of ashes. Finally Coyote saw the first pile, came closer to his friend and began punching him in the back. Both stopped and Coyote said: “I guess I will have to kill this first one, and if I catch him I will take him for my supper.” “All right,” said the friend. Coyote began to get down next to the ground, going nearer and nearer to the pile of ashes. When he was about to jump, the friend began to laugh. Coyote paid no attention, but jumped on the pile of hot ashes and burned himself. He began to run from the place. He was burned so badly that he ran until he killed himself.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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