Indigenous Wiki

Indigenous Stories

How The Coyote Was Deceived By The Wren

Categories : Hopi , Hopi Stories

Halíksai! A long time ago, when they were living in Oraíbi, the Coyote Woman lived at Íshmovala. She had four children. She always went hunting mice and other little animals, which she brought to her children and fed them to the latter. She went to the spring, Flute Spring (Lâ'nva) and Dawn Spring (Taláova), after water for her children, but as she had no water vessel she brought the water in her mouth. When she had given one of the children to drink she would run again and get some more for the other children until they were all satisfied. In that way she was feeding and watering her children.

One time she again went after water to the Dawn Spring, filling her mouth very full. When she returned she saw a Wren sitting on a rock, and when she came near the bird, the latter was jumping up and down from one rock to another singing as follows:

Calapongki, cholo, cholo,
Calapongki, cholo, cholo,
Riuw, riuw.

When the Coyote saw it she had to laugh, and spilled the water from her mouth. "Now then, why are you dancing there that way that I had to laugh and spill my water; I shall have to get some more," whereupon she ran back to the spring to get some more water. When she came back with her mouth full she thought that this time she was not going to laugh, but when she arrived at the place where the Tû'chvo was dancing and saw the latter dance and heard him singing in the same manner, she again had to laugh, saying: "Poáh," by which she again spilled the water. But this time she was angry and said: "Why are you dancing and singing here that way that I have to spill this water? My children are thirsty and they will die. Now, I am going back to get some more water, and if you are doing that still when I return and I spill the water again, I shall devour you." Hereupon she returned to the spring to fill her mouth again.

While the Coyote was gone the Wren slipped out of its skin and dressed up a stone with the skin so that it looked like a Wren. This artificial bird he put up where he had been sitting and he himself slipped under a rock, waiting for the Coyote. When the latter came along the Wren began singing the same song from under the rock. The Coyote began to laugh, saying: Poáh" and spilled the water. She was now very angry. "Now then," she said, "you are still singing that way here and I am going to devour you," whereupon she grabbed the stone dressed in the bird's skin and crushed it. She broke all her teeth so that the blood was streaming from her mouth. She ran back to the Dawn Spring in order to wash her face, but as she stooped over the water she saw someone with a bloody face staring at her.

She at once left the spring without having drunk any water, and ran to Spider Spring, where she was scared away in the same manner. From here she ran to Dripping Spring (Shívukva), where she met with the same disappointment. Hereupon she ran to Hotvâl Spring (Hótvâlva). Here again she was scared away by the face staring at her, and without daring to drink she rushed away westward to the Grand Canyon. Arriving at the rim of the Canyon she jumped into the canyon and perished.

Go Back To: Hopi Nation