Native American Tales

Coyote Kills the Giant

Coyote Kills the GiantCoyote Kills the Giant

Flathead

Coyote was walking along one day when he met Old Woman. She told him he better stop going that way or he would meet a giant who killed everyone. Coyote said he was not afraid of giants, but took a big stick in hopes of killing the giant.

He went along whistling and came to a big cave, right in the middle of the path. He saw people looking around and also looking depressed. They were starving. He told the first woman that he met that he was going to kill the giant, but she told him that he was already in the giant. He had just walked into its mouth, thinking it was a cave.

The people inside were starving, but Coyote told them that if they were really in a giant they could cut flesh from the walls and eat it. Coyote tried it and it worked. The people said there was no way out, but Coyote determined to find a way out. He found the giant’s heart. He told everyone to go up near the giant’s mouth. The giant would open his mouth before he died and everyone should run out then. Coyote stabbed the giant in the heart and made for the exit. The wood tick was the last one out and he became flat. Coyote told him that he would be that way forever and that he would get over it.

Observations

I have read this story before, or something very similar. I want to say I read a Stephen King book where there was something almost exactly like this going on at one point. Maybe not inside of a giant, but there was a very similar situation.

Themes

This is a story of perspective. This giant was so giant, that Coyote walked into his mouth without noticing. I’m sure ants crawl on us without really knowing what we are. Maybe they just think we’re a tree? If there really was a giant that giant, would we notice? Could we tell? What if the giant was so giant that our entire universe is like a speck on one of his nerves? We only know what we can comprehend. If we can’t comprehend something, we can’t know it.

We all loosely get the idea of space, but space seemingly goes on forever and we just can’t comprehend that. How does something not end? The giant in this story is very much like that. We just can’t comprehend the idea of a giant or an animal being so big that we could walk into its mouth as if it were a cave. If we encountered something like that, we could only equate it for what we knew, a cave, and not a gigantic creature. The idea that the cave was a mouth, never even crossed Coyote’s mind.

Overall

Be careful when you walk into a cave.

Weigh In

Do you think you could recognize a giant, giant?

If you found yourself living inside of a giant, what would you do?

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