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Native American Legends

A Coyote Story

An Ojibwa Legend

This is a traditional story from the Ojibwa.

Coyote was walking along a lake and saw a flock of ducks, which put him in the mood for a good duck dinner. So he stuffed a bag full of grass and walked past the ducks, stepping lively and singing a catchy tune. "Where are you going?" asked one of the ducks.

"I am going to a circle," replied Coyote. "What's in the bag?" asked the duck.

"Songs that I am bringing to the circle," replied Coyote.

"Oh, please sing your songs for us," the ducks all said. "I'm very busy"

"Please please, please, please ..." "I'm running late ," "Please, please ,please please..."."Oh, alright.

I'll sing a song for you, but I need your help. All of you stand in three lines. The fattest ones in the front, those in the middle who are neither fat nor thin, and the thin ones in back.

All of you close your eyes and dance and sing as loud as you can. Don't anyone open your eyes or stop singing, because my songs are very powerful and if you do that you may go blind! Is everyone ready?" "We are!" replied the ducks, and they fell into lines and began dancing and singing along with Coyote's tune.

Coyote moved up and down the line, thumping the ducks on the head and stuffing them into his bag. The ducks were singing and dancing so hard that no one could hear the thumps or know what was happening.

This would have gone on till none were left, if not for one scraggly duck in the back who opened his eyes and saw what was going on. "Hey, he's going to get us all!" cried the scraggly one.

At this, the other surviving ducks opened their eyes and made their getaway. Coyote wasn't too upset; he already had a lot of ducks in his bag. He went home and ate good for a good while.

The ducks went home and mourned their dead, and gave thanks to The Great Duck that one of them had been wise enough to open his eyes, and that the rest of them had been wise enough to listen to the one who gave warning.

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