Native American Tales

Coyote Places the Stars

Coyote Places the StarsCoyote Places the Stars


There were five wolves and Coyote would often follow them around and observe what they were doing. They would always look up at the sky and stare, but they would never tell Coyote what they were looking at. They finally told him that they say two animals up there, but couldn’t get to them. Coyote said he knew how to get them into the sky.

He shot an arrow up into the sky, and then another, which shot into the first arrow, and so forth, and so on, until there was an entire ladder. Coyote and the wolves climbed for several days before getting up into the sky where the animals were. The animals turned out to be bears and the wolves sat down to watch them. The bears did not attack. Coyote thought it was a pretty picture so he left it there and now it’s the big dipper.

Coyote went on to arrange other stars in the sky and brag about it.


You do have to wonder how certain things got in the positions they’re in. The stars are far away, but how in the world did they get there in the first place? Some of them are awfully close to one another as it appears from down here. How was there enough room?

The Big Dipper is a famous constellation that has many stories for why it is, in many American stories, there are bears involved, just like this story.


Don’t trust Coyote. He’ll leave you up in the sky to sit for eternity with bears.

Coyote is like one of those people whom you should always be suspicious of when they offer help. There is always some ulterior motive or always something that will go wrong, or both.


He did a good job though, the stars are pretty.

Weigh In

What constellation would you make if you could?

Do you think Coyote did a good job with the stars? Would you change anything?


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