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Legends and Stories of the Okanagan

Coyote Learns More Tricks

as told by Josephine Shuttleworth

The Coyote was strolling on his way once, in the time of long ago, looking for things he could see, as he yet keeps an eye out for chickens. He came to the cave of Mr. and Mrs. Bear. Looking around, he could see nothing to eat. “Such a bare place,” he thought, “they’ll never have a bite for the Coyote.”

The Bear was quite a mind-reader, as those who know him say he is yet. “Don’t worry,” he told the Coyote, “we’ll have something for you.” Then he sharpened his knife, which was a sign, the Coyote said, that in after days men would never think to sharpen their knives until just before they began to do their carving.

The Bear put a woven tule sack down on the floor. He cut some slices from Mrs. Bear. Then he rubbed lightly over the wound he had made and healed it completely. Next he cut a steak from himself, rubbed himself lightly and was as good as ever once again.

Mr. and Mrs. Bear boiled the meat in birch bark baskets with water and hot stones. When it was cooked they set it out for the Coyote and he started to eat. When he had eaten all he possibly could, the Bear told him that he might take the rest home. The Coyote wrapped the meat up in a tule sack and started on his way home. “Come over to my house tomorrow for your tule sack,” he called back.

Mr. Bear knew there was something up, for the Coyote was only an imitator; but the next day he went back for the sack at once. The Coyote, however, insisted that he come inside, so he did. Then the Coyote began to sharpen his little knife and began to cut some meat from his wife. She couldn’t stand it, and fell in a dead faint.

“Stop,” growled the Bear, “those are Bear tricks, never the Coyote’s!”

But the Coyote was not to be stopped. He cut a little slice from himself – not nearly enough, and when he rubbed it, it would not heal.

Mr. Bear, still growling, took his own knife and cut a steak from himself. He handed it to Coyote. “Don’t be so mean to your wife,” he said, as he went out.

The Coyote only smiled. Then he cooked the bear steak over his fire and settled down to enjoy a hearty meal.