The coyote is a small prairie wolf found in North America. An integral part of many native American Indian myths, he is the trickster god who is sometimes good and sometimes bad. In this Navajo legend, he is fearless, brave and helpful. But do not be fooled, he is not always like that!
One day, the Coyote was walking across the great prairie, when he met an old woman. “Good day, where are you headed to?” she asked him.
“Oh… nowhere really… just walking around,” said he. “Well, don’t go that way... There is a giant out there who is eating everybody...”
“What do I care? I’m not afraid of any giant” he answered. Of course it helped that Coyote had never seen a giant before. “He should be afraid of me...”
“He is bigger and closer than you think...” warned the old woman.
For some reason the Coyote was under the impression that the giant was someone like a big moose and could be dealt with whatever his size. Saying goodbye to the old woman, he went along whistling merrily. On the way, he found a large tree branch. I can use this as a club to kill the giant, he thought to himself. Swinging the club he continued to walk on, whistling.
Soon he came across a cave right in the middle of the path and walked in. After a while, he saw a woman crawling on the floor.” What happened?’’ he asked her.
“I’m starving... I have not eaten for days. I can’t even walk. What is it that you carry in your hand?” she asked.
“It’s a club… to kill the giant with...” replied the Coyote.” Do you happen to know where he is hiding?”
The woman, despite her own sorry state, began to laugh. “Are you joking? In case you haven’t noticed it, you are already in the Big One’s stomach!”
“But I didn’t even see him!”
“That’s because he is so huge. His stomach fills this entire prairie. You can’t see his whole body with your eyes. That cave you thought you walked into is his mouth,” explained the woman.
Coyote threw away his club and walked on. He saw more people who looked half dead. “What is wrong?” he asked them. “We are all trapped in the giant’s stomach and haven’t eaten for days,” they said.
“Not a problem we can’t solve, why don’t we just cut these walls and eat? If it is the giant’s belly, it must be all flesh and fat!”
Coyote took out his hunting knife and cut up large chunks of flesh and fed the starving people. He made his way back to the first woman he met and gave her some meat too.
“Thank you,” said all of them. “Now we have to find our way out!’’
“Not to worry,” said the Coyote cheerfully.” We have to find his heart and I shall stab him to death,”
“There,” said someone, “Can you see that volcano up there? That is
the heart!” So the Coyote began to cut the volcano.
“Ouch...” shrieked the giant. “Is that you, Coyote? Stop hurting me. I’ll open my mouth and you can leave.”
“Okay,” said the Coyote but continued to cut. “Listen up! When I cut off the heart, he will scream in pain and open his mouth... just make a dash for it then everyone!”
The Coyote managed to cut the heart and blood began to flow like a river. The giant groaned with pain and as his mouth opened wide, all the folks ran out before it closed forever. One little wood tick got trapped but Coyote managed to pull him out.
“Oh, no!” cried the wood tick,” I’m all flat!”
“Be happy my friend, you are alive!” laughed the Coyote.