Native American Legends
A Cochiti Legend
At Gamatsika Rattlesnake and Coyote lived. Coyote came in and said,
"Shall we invite each other to a great feast?" Rattlesnake
said, "All right; you be the first to call me." "All
right. Tomorrow I shall start to make my paper bread." In three
days the old Coyote went out to find sheep. He found one and killed
and brought it home. Night came, and he put the meat to cook. In
the morning he set the food out, the paper bread and meat, and went
out to call Rattlesnake to the feast. He came to Rattlesnake's house
and said, "I have come for you." "All right. Let
us go and have your feast." They started to the house of Coyote.
Coyote ran fast. They went in, Rattlesnake after Coyote. Coyote
said, "Come in and have a seat. You shall have your feast."
Rattlesnake turned around and coiled himself on the floor. At last
he said, "Thanks, old Coyote, but this is not what I eat. I
eat sacred meal, and pollen." "What would you eat? for
this is the feast I have cooked for you." "No, thank you."
Rattlesnake went out and went home.
In the morning it was his turn to make a feast. He prepared his
food as Coyote had. The third day came and Rattlesnake went out
to hunt. "I had better get some meat," be said. "I
will get two chickens for Coyote likes them. That will be the best
for the feast." Everything was ready, and Rattlesnake went
to the house of Coyote to invite him to the feast. Coyote said to
himself while he waited in his house, "Oh, I remember that
Rattlesnake has a rattle on the end of his tail. I ought to have
something, too." He went and found a dancer's gourd rattle.
It was too heavy. So he tied on corn husk. He went into Rattlesnake's
house and said, "Good morning." "Good morning,"
said the snake. "Sit down." Coyote waggled his tail but
not a sound could he make. Coyote went four times around the feast
Rattlesnake had set out (i. e., coiled himself four times). He kept
his eyes longingly on the feast, but at last he said, "Thank
you, but that is not the kind of food I eat. I only eat corn meal
and pollen." Rattlesnake was angry. She got ready to strike.
She cried, "You are mocking me. You ought not to have tied
husks on the tip of your tail. I have my rattle there because that
was the way that I was born." Coyote was still smacking his
lips for there were chickens in Rattlesnake's feast, but Snake came
toward him and he had to run away fast to his house. He felt very
sorry that he had lost his chance at the chickens, but he said,
"If I go back to Rattlesnake's house be will kill me. I must
stay where I am."
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