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Native American Legends

Coyote and Crow

A Yakima Legend

Coyote traveled through the country, fighting monsters and making the world ready for the new people, the Indians who were to follow. He crossed the Cascade Mountains and came into the Puget Sound country. He was hungry, very hungry.

He saw Crow sitting on the peak of a high cliff, with a ball of deer fat in his mouth. Coyote looked at Crow with this fat and thought how good it would taste. Becoming hungrier and hungrier, he wondered how he could get the fat for himself. He thought hard. Then he laughed.

"I know what to do. I know how I can get the fat from Crow."

Then coyote came close to the base of the cliff and called. "Oh, Chief! I hear that you can make a good noise, a pleasing noise with your voice. You are a big chief, I know. You are a wise chief, I have heard. Let me hear your voice, Chief. I want to hear you, Chief Crow."

Crow was pleased to be called chief. So he answered, "Caw!"

"Oh, Chief Crow," called Coyote, "that wasn't much. You can sing better than that. Sing a good song for me, Chief. I want to hear you sing loud."

Crow was pleased again. So he opened his mouth wide and called from the cliff in a loud voice, "C-a-a-w!"

Of course the ball of deer fat fell down from Crow's open mouth.

Coyote grabbed it quickly. Then he laughed.

"You are not a wise chief," said Coyote. "you are not a chief at all. I called you 'Chief' just to fool you. I wanted your deer fat. I am hungry. Now you can go hungry cecause of your foolishness."

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