Native American Legends
The Fox and the Porcupine
A Jicarilla Apache Legend
As Fox was going along he met a Porcupine, Tson, which he overheard
saying, "I shall search for pêc'-ti, a stone knife, with
which to cut up this meat."
"What are you saying?" asked Fox, springing out of the
"I said that I must hunt for pêc'-ti for arrow-heads,"
"That is not what you said."
"It was," insisted Porcupine.
" Where is that meat?" asked Fox, and then Porcupine
admitted that he had killed a Buffalo.
Porcupine had commanded a Buffalo to carry him across a river.
"Don't shake your head with me, or I shall fall," said
he, as he sat between the animal's horns.
The Buffalo told him that, if he was afraid there, he had better
crawl into his anus. In that safe retreat Porcupine was carried
across the river.
He repaid the service by gnawing the vitals of the Buffalo until
it fell dead near where the Fox had come upon him. Fox was not disposed
to allow Porcupine to retain possession of the Buffalo.
"Come," said he, " whoever can jump over the Buffalo
can have it. You try first."
Porcupine jumped, but only landed on the top of the carcass, over
which Fox, of course, leaped with ease. "Now the Buffalo is
mine. You can sit over there and see me cut it up."
After cutting up the meat, Fox hastened away to summon all the
foxes to a feast. Porcupine carried the meat piece by piece into
a treetop, so that the foxes, when they came dancing in joyful anticipation,
From a safe position in the tree Porcupine told the foxes that
he would throw them down some meat if they would lie down, close
their eyes, and cover themselves with their blankets.
They were hungry, so they obeyed the instructions of the Porcupine,
who, as soon as their eyes were closed, killed them by throwing
down the sharpened ribs of the Buffalo.
One little fox at the end of the line had a ragged old blanket,
through which he peeped in time to see and to dodge the rib hurled
at him. This fox survived the massacre, and begged Porcupine to
give him some meat.
The Porcupine gave him some small pieces at first, and then invited
him to come up and eat his fill. The Fox accepted, and, when he
could eat no more, asked where he could go to relieve himself.
The Porcupine directed him to the end of a branch, whence he easily
shook the Fox, which fell to the ground and was killed, but sprang
up alive again at the moment when the first tuft of hair was blown
from the putrefying carcass by the wind.
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