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Native American Legends

A contest for wives

A Cochiti Legend

At Amatsushe they were living; Old Coyote and Old Coyote Woman lived on one side of the hill and Old Beaver and Old Beaver Woman lived on the other. They visited each other every night. One night it was snowing, deep, and Old Coyote said to his wife, "I shall go to Old Brother Beaver to invite him to go hunting, and to make plans for exchanging our wives."

When Coyote got there, he called, "Hello." Beaver answered, "Hello, come in and sit down." They sat together by the fireplace to smoke. Coyote said, "I came to tell you we are to go hunting. If we kill any rabbits we'll bring them to our wives. I'll bring mine to your wife, and you can bring yours to mine." "All right," Old Beaver agreed. "You go first," said Coyote. "No, you go first. This is your invitation; you invited me," Beaver insisted. "All right, I shall go early in the morning." Coyote said to Old Beaver Woman, "In the morning I am going hunting for you." "All right. I shall sing the song so that you will kill many rabbits."

Old Beaver Woman started to fix the supper. She wanted it ready for his return. Old Coyote was gone for the whole day. It was evening, and he did not come home at all. Sitting near the fireplace, Old Beaver Woman waited and waited. She started to sing her song: Old Coyote, Old Coyote, come sleep with me, Come and have intercourse with me, Ai-ooai-oo. Old Beaver said, "What are you singing about? He won't kill anything, for he isn't any hunter." Coyote killed nothing, and Beaver Woman waited and waited but Coyote never came.

Next day it was Old Beaver's turn to go hunting. He went to tell Old Coyote Woman that she must wait for him, for he was going to hunt rabbits for her. "All right," she said. And he killed so many that he could hardly carry them. In the morning Beaver came into Coyote's house and said, "Old Coyote Woman, here are the rabbits." She took them and said, "Thank you, thank you, Old Man Beaver." They went straight into the inner room, and Old Man Coyote was left by himself in the front room. He was very angry. They gave him his supper, and when he had finished, they went in to bed. Old Man Beaver started to have intercourse with Old Coyote Woman. Old Coyote Woman cried out, and Old Coyote called out, "Old Beaver, don't hurt my wife." Old Coyote Woman answered, "Shut up, Old Man Coyote! It's because I like it that I'm crying out." When he had finished, Old Man Beaver came out. He said to Old Coyote, "We won't keep bad feelings against each other; this was your plan. I shall always wait for you at my house whenever you want to visit me." And they were as good neighbors as ever.

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