Page:Journal of American Folklore vol. 12.djvu/615

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Some Coyote Stories from the Maidu Indians. 267


(The Coyote stories here given were collected as part of the work of the C. P. Huntington Expedition during the summer of 1899, among the " Koyoma" or Maidu of the higher Sierra in the vicinity of Genesee and Taylorsville, Plumas County, Cal. The Maidu, both of the Sierra and of the Sacramento Valley, have a large number of such stories in addition to others of a more serious nature, in which the Coyote acts as a marplot to the plans of Kodoyanpe, the Creator.)


Long ago the Coyote and the Grizzly Bears had a falling out. There were two Bears who had a couple of small birds, called Pit- sititi. Whenever the Bears went down to the valley to get berries, they left these two birds at home. Once, while the Bears were away, the Coyote came to the Bears' camp, and asked the two little birds whether the Bears gave them enough to eat. Said the little birds, " No, they do not ; we are always hungry." The Coyote then asked whether there was any food in the camp, and the birds told him that there was, the Bears keeping a large supply on hand. Said the Coyote, " If you will show me the food, I will get up a fine dinner, and then we can all eat." The little birds agreed, and the Coyote prepared the food, and all had a great feast. When they were all through, the Coyote took up a small stick from the ground, thrust it into his nose to draw blood, and then with the blood marked a red stripe on the heads of the birds, and said, " When the Bears come back and ask you two who did this, say, 'The Coyote did it. Then the Coyote went off down the hill into the valley where the Bears were picking berries, and shouted from the side-hill, " Get out of there! That ground belongs to my grandmother." Then he went back up the hill to his own camp.

The two Bears came home, and when they saw the birds, asked them who had been there, and painted their heads with red. The two little birds answered that it was the Coyote. The Bears were very angry. They wanted to have their revenge, so they set out for the Coyote's camp. Before they reached it, however, the Coyote had made all his preparations to receive them. He let the fire go out, cluttered up the camp with filth, then lay down beside the fireplace, and blew the ashes up into the air, so that they settled

1 Published by permission of the Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

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