Native American Tales

Coyote Dances with a Star

Coyote Dances with a StarCoyote Dances with a Star

Cheyenne

Coyote has always bragged about himself. He thinks he can do anything or be as powerful as anyone else, even the Great Mystery Power, but he is not. He’s Coyote.

One day Coyote decided that he could dance with a star. He called to the star to come closer so they could dance together, and the star did. They danced for a while, but Coyote became tired and wanted to go back to Earth. The star told him to hold on a bit and they would get closer to the Earth. Coyote thought he was close enough and just let go. This was a bad decision. Coyote fell for ten winters. He fell flat.

The Great Mystery Power had given Coyote several lives. Coyote was able to puff himself back up again, but it took many winters. For a bit, Coyote was ok, but once again, he started bragging that he could dance with stars. He saw a star with a tail and called to it that he wanted to dance. The star came down low and Coyote grabbed on. They whizzed around really fast. Parts of Coyote were worn away, so much so that bits were scattered here and there and Coyote’s right arm finally broke off with the hand still attached to the star.

The bits of Coyote had fallen back to Earth. The pieces eventually found their way back to one another, but it took many winters. Finally, Coyote was all back together, except for that right arm. He asked the Great Mystery Power about it and it told Coyote that he would have to wait for the star to come back around, which it did once in a hundred lifetimes.

Observations

The second star was most undoubtedly a comet. Some comets have been circling the Earth for a long time and the natives could have known about them. One that comes around once in a hundred lifetimes is not a comet I am familiar with, but there are several that are well documented, granted “once in a hundred lifetimes” could also be an exaggeration.

Themes

Sometimes you just don’t have that much power. You don’t have the power to do that thing you think you have the power to do. It’s disappointing, I know, but sometimes your milkshake just can’t bring all the boys to the yard. We can do lots of things, especially if we put our minds to it and we’re stubborn, but we have our limits.

Overall

Oh that Coyote, always getting into things.

Weigh In

What is a thing you said you could do, but you really couldn’t?

Do you think Coyote was successful and unfortunate, or not successful at all?

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