Tale of Coyote’s Eyes Are Replaced By Buckeyes

One time Coyote was out hunting something to eat, and on his way he heard a noise and he said to himself, “I think those are some Turkeys that escaped from me some time ago. They will not get away this time, for I will kill them before I get home.” And so he made up his mind to go and see what they were doing, and to catch them. When he went to the place, he found Ducks playing about in the water. When they saw Coyote coming they knew him at once, for they had often heard about him. They came out of the water and stood on the bank, and when he came up they asked him if he would like to play with them. He said, “Yes, that is just what I want to do, and I will show you some of my tricks after you show me some of yours.” They debated what to play, and one of the Ducks spoke up and said: “We will play in the water. We will take one man and take his eyes out and let him dive into the water just as long as he can hold his breath, and as soon as he goes under the water we will throw his eyes into the water after him, and when he comes out from under the water his eyes will be in their place. How do you like that?” the Duck asked Coyote. “That is all right,” said Coyote. “Well, we will commence now.” The first Duck had his eyes taken out, and then he dived into the water and his eyes were thrown in after him, and when he came up he had them in their place. Then another took his turn, and so on until every one of the Ducks had tried, and then Coyote’s turn came. His eyes were taken out and thrown into the water after him, and he came out with his eyes in their place. The Ducks were given power to do most anything that they wanted, but they had the power to do each thing only once. Coyote wanted to try the trick once more, but the Ducks did not want him to try it again, for they knew that their power was limited to one time. Coyote kept begging them, and finally the Ducks let him try the trick again, and so they took his eyes out and he dived into the water. The Ducks knew that they could not put the eyes in place again, and so they flew away and left Coyote. While he was going along he was talking and crying. He was asking some one who had greater powers than he to help him out of his trouble and to give him eyes again. Finally a man found him and he told him that he would help him all he could, and told him to wait there until he returned. He went off to find something with which to make Coyote some new eyes. He was gone for a while, and when he returned he had some green buckeye balls.

He told Coyote to be brave once more, that he was going to hit him where the right eye was with the buckeye ball, and then where the left eye was with another ball, and then he would be able to see; and so he did, and thus Coyote’s eyes were restored.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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