Native American Tales

How Coyote Got his Cunning

How Coyote Got his CunningHow Coyote Got his Cunning


Kareya made all the animals of the world, but they were all equal in power. He told the man who he had mad to make arrows of all sizes. They were to go from largest to smallest. The man was then to give out arrows to the animals; the animal getting the largest arrow would be the most powerful.

All the animals wanted the largest arrow, Coyote more so than others. He plotted to stay awake all night instead of sleeping so he could be the first animal to receive an arrow. He pretended to sleep for a while, but got very tired. He tried pacing. He tried doing a few other things. He finally cut two small sticks to prop his eyelids open; he thought this would work, but instead, his eyes closed over the sticks and he fell asleep. Coyote’s eyes were actually stuck shut because of this.

Coyote awoke in the morning to find that all the arrows had been given out and only the smallest was left. The man pulled the sticks out of Coyote’s eyes, but the other animals made fun of Coyote for what had happened to him. The man prayed to Kareya about Coyote and Coyote was given extra cunning as a result.


I don’t know that coyotes are any more cunning than any other animal. Maybe they seem that way. Some animals definitely seem to be smarter than others. Horses seem smarter than cows, but maybe the cows are just playing it cool?


Sometimes it doesn’t pay to try to get ahead of everyone else and sometimes you get something additional when you come out last. These are only sometimes things and it’s difficult to tell when you should hold back. Maybe you shouldn’t try for first place this time, but how are you to know? Maybe the exertion and stress from a particular endeavor is too much, but how are you to know that before you start? Sometimes it’s only from experience that you can know certain situations won’t necessarily turn out well for you, but how are you to know if it’s the first time you’ve ever had that experience?

Coyote couldn’t have known that staying awake to beat everyone else would be so difficult because this situation had never happened before. It was true that he ended up with a little something extra in the end because he ended up last, but that doesn’t always happen.


Coyote probably would have had a better chance in things had he gone to sleep.

Weigh In

Do you think Coyote deserved what he got or was this poor timing in finding his personal limits?

Do you think coyotes are particularly cunning?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s