Tale of Coyote And The Six Brothers

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An old woman lived alone with her seven sons. They were all good hunters and kept her busy preparing the game that they killed. One day the oldest son went out to hunt and did not return. After several days his dogs came back, but he did not come. The second son decided to go to search for his brother, and so he took the dogs and started out. After several days the dogs came back, but the second son did not come. The third son decided to go after his missing brothers. Again the dogs returned alone, and the brothers did not come. The fourth, the fifth, and the sixth sons in turn went to search for their missing brothers, but each time the dogs came back alone. The youngest son wanted to go, but his mother could not give him up, for she feared that he, too, would go, never to return. One day, after the brothers had been gone a long time, the little boy saw a raccoon in a tree. He asked his mother if he could not take his bow and arrow and kill it. She said that he could, and gave him his bow and arrow. He chased the raccoon from one tree to another until it had led him far into the thick timber. Finally it ran down a hollow tree and he climbed the tree to get it out. While he was in the tree he heard some one speak, and, turning around, he saw a little old woman standing by the tree. “Throw the raccoon down here, and I and the dogs will kill it,” she said. He threw the raccoon down and the old woman killed it and one of the dogs. Then she said, “There is another raccoon in the tree.” He pulled out another raccoon and threw it down. She killed it and another one of his dogs. He saw another raccoon in the tree and he pulled it out, and again she killed it and another dog. He continued to pull raccoons out of the tree until he had pulled six, and each time the old woman killed the raccoon and another dog. As the boy was about to pull the seventh raccoon out, it spoke to him and said: “Boy, when you get me out, throw me just as far as you can. I will run away and the old woman will chase me. While she is chasing me, you must jump and run home as fast as possible. She has already killed all of your dogs, and she will kill you next. She is a witch, and is the one who has killed all of your brothers. You must run from her.” The boy said that he would, and then he threw the raccoon just as far as he could. While the old woman was chasing it he jumped out of the tree and started to run home. The old woman killed the raccoon, then returned to the tree, and when she found the boy gone she was angry, and started after him as fast as she could run, but he was too far ahead, and she could not catch him.

When the boy reached home he told his mother all that had happened. That night he had a strange dream, in which he dreamed that he met Coyote, and Coyote told him that his brothers were not dead, but were with some bad people who made them work so hard that they would soon die if they did not get away, and Coyote promised to help him rescue his brothers. The next morning he told his mother his dream, and she told him that his dream would probably come true. That very afternoon the boy went out to hunt, and while he was walking along he met a man, and the man told him the same thing that the man in the dream had told him. The boy returned to his home and the man went on through the timber until he met Flying Squirrel. He was one of the bad people’s slaves and had to work for them. Coyote, for he was the man, began to talk to Squirrel and asked him about the bad people. Squirrel told him that the bad people made slaves of all of the people that they could catch alive, and that they ate all that they killed. Coyote asked about the six brothers, and Squirrel told Coyote that they were slaves like himself and could not get away, but had to work. Coyote said that he would like to help them and that he thought he could, for he was very cunning and had a good deal of power. Squirrel told Coyote if he could only find some way to kill the wicked chief that there would be no more trouble. Coyote said that he thought he could plan to kill him if he could only get to him, but that he lived across the river and had no way of getting across. Flying Squirrel said that he would take him across if he thought he could hold on to his tail as he flew. Coyote said that he could, and so they started. When they were almost to the other bank Coyote let go Squirrel’s tail and fell into the water. He hid in the tall grass until he thought of a plan. When he had made up his mind what he was going to do, he turned into a nice, new corn mill, and floated out on the water where he would be in plain sight. Soon a woman came down to the river to get some water. She saw the mill and tried to get it, but could not. She ran back and told the chief about the nice, new mill, and asked him to get it for her. He told her that he was afraid it was Coyote, or some one trying to play a trick on them, but the woman said that it could not be anything but a fine corn mill and that she wanted it. The chief sent some one to get it, and then all of the women came to pound their corn in the new mill. They used it for several days, and all thought it was the best mill they had ever had. One day some one put some fine sweet corn in it, and after she had ground a little while all of her corn was gone. She ran to the chief and told him. He said that the corn mill was Coyote, as he had feared, and he told the people to bring it to him. They brought it, and he placed it on the big log where he always speared people with his long, spiked nose. He raised his head high, then dropped it, and his nose stuck in the log so that he could not get loose. The corn mill had rolled off the log and turned into Coyote. He grabbed the chief by the head and held him there while he called all the slaves to come and kill him. With the others came the six brothers. After they had killed the chief, Coyote told all that they were free, and to go to their homes. The six brothers returned to their home, and ever after that whenever they killed any game they always left some for Coyote.



MLA Source Citation:

Dorsey, George A. Traditions of the Caddo. Washington: Carnegie Institution. 1905. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 30 August 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tale-of-coyote-and-the-six-brothers.htm - Last updated on Aug 10th, 2013


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