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Native American Legends

Coyote and the Mice

An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown

Not many animals liked Coyote. Some thought he was foolish and others thought he was boastful. The mice didn't like him because he was mean to them.

One day when he was out walking, Coyote saw the Mice making lots of noise and rushing around under a tree.

"Quick! Quick! Throw that rope over the branch!" cried one. "I need a bag! I need a bag now!" cried another.

They scurried around, tripping and falling over each other as they tied small bags onto the ends of several ropes, then threw the other ends over the branches.

"What are you stupid mice up to now?" asked Coyote. "We haven't got time to stop and talk Mr Coyote," squeaked one mouse, throwing a rope over another branch. "Haven't you heard? North Wind is on his way. He's going to throw hailstones as big as a bear's paw at all the animals! We're going to climb into these bags and pull ourselves up under the branches, so the hailstones can't hit us."

Fearing the hailstones, Coyote said "I'll join you." All the mice stopped dead in their tracks. "Ohhh! I don't know about that," they squeaked. "If you don't let me, I'll be mean to you again," shouted Coyote.

"Alright. You can join us," squeaked the mice. "But you'll have to get your own bag and rope because we don't have anything big enough or strong enough to hold you." "No problem," said Coyote. "I've got everything I need at home". "Then hurry Mr Coyote, because North Wind will be here any minute."

Coyote rushed off home. The mice waited until he was out of sight, then fell over squeaking with laughter. When they saw him coming back they picked themselves up and pretended to tie more bags.

"You must wait until last and pull yourself up, Mr Coyote, because you are too heavy," said the mice. "No. I'll go first," said Coyote. "North Wind is fast and could get here before I'm protected. If all of you hold the end of the rope you can pull me up."

The mice shook their heads doubtfully. Coyote yelled "do it, or I'll be mean to you!" "Alright," said the mice. Coyote got into the bag and the mice tied the rope around the top of it. A mouse picked up a small stone and threw it at the bag.

"Ouch," said Coyote "I felt a hailstone already. Quick, get me up under the tree!" The mice pulled on the rope until Coyote swung off the ground. Then they tied the end of the rope around the tree trunk.

The mice picked up stones and threw them at the bag. "Ooowww! Ooowww!" howled Coyote. "The hailstones hurt." "Be brave Mr Coyote. The storm will pass soon," said the mice. And they picked up bigger stones to throw at the bag."Ooowww, my head! Oooww, my back!" howled Coyote. Finally they stopped throwing stones and one of the mice said, "North Wind has gone now, we can come down."

When Coyote's bag was on the ground and the rope untied, Coyote slowly crawled out onto the ground, all battered and bruised. "I thought I was going to die," he said. "They must have been the biggest hailstones ever!"

Coyote felt the ground. It was dry. He looked up at the blue sky and there wasn't a cloud to be see. "How could this be? We've just had a hailstorm," he said.

"We tricked you, you dumb old Coyote," yelled the mice as they scurried off into their holes, laughing.

"I'll get you for this," howled Coyote, feeling his sore head. "But not today". "Ooow, my sore head. Ooow, my sore back. Ooow, my sore nose" he cried as he slowly hobbled home to bed.

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