Native American Legends
The offended rolling stone
A Pawnee Legend
Coyote was going along, and as he had not had anything to eat for
some time he was very hungry. In the evening he went to a high hill
and sat down. Early the next morning he started again. He came to
a big round stone.
He took out his knife and said: "Grandfather, this knife I
give to you as a present. I want you to help me to get something
Coyote went over a hill, and there in the bottom was a village
of people. He went into the village and he could see meat hanging
on poles everywhere in the camp. He went into one of the tipi's
and the people in the tipi roasted a piece of meat for him. just
as he was about to taste of the meat he thought of his knife and
said: "Why did I give my knife to that stone? I should have
kept it and then I should have been able to cut the meat without
having to pull it with my hands." He asked to be excused and
He went to where the stone was. He said: "Grandfather, I will
have to take back this knife, for I have found a village of people
with plenty of meat." He went over the hills and into the bottom,
but there was no village there. Coyote went back and returned the
knife to the stone. He went back over the hills and there saw the
village and he entered one of the tipi's.
They placed before him some meat. He began to chew the meat. He
thought of his knife. He went back to the stone, and as he took
the knife the stone said: "Why do you take the knife away from
me? I am now going to kill you."
Then the stone ran after the Coyote. Coyote ran and came to a den
of Bears. He told the Bears that a person was running after him
and he asked them to help him. The Bears said that they were not
afraid of anything. They asked what the thing was, and he said it
was the stone. The Bears said: "Keep on running. We can not
do anything with the stone."
The stone was close to Coyote when he came up to another den of
Mountain-Lions. They also told Coyote to pass on, as they could
not do anything for him. After a while Coyote came to a Buffalo
standing all alone, but when the Buffalo found out that it was the
stone running after Coyote he told him to pass on.
At last Coyote came to a place where the Bull-Bats stayed. Coyote
said: "Grandchildren, there is a person running after me."
The Bull-Bats then said: "Enter our lodge and remain there."
When the stone came rolling up it said: "Where is that person
who came here?" The Bull-Bats did not reply and the stone became
Then the Bull-Bats said: "He is here and we are going to protect
him." The Bull-Bats flew up and then down, and they expelled
flatus on the stone. Every time they did this a piece broke off
from the stone. The largest Bull-Bat came down and expelled flatus
right on the center and broke the stone into pieces. Then the Coyote
was told to come out and go on his way.
Coyote started off, and when he got over the hills he turned around
and yelled at the Bull-Bats and said: "All you big-nosed funny
things, how you did behave to that stone." The Bull-Bats heard
it and did not pay any attention, but he kept on making fun of them.
Then the Bull-Bats flew up in a group, and came down, and with their
wings they got the stones together again and started it to rolling,
and said: "Go and kill that fellow."
The stone then ran after Coyote and Coyote tried to get away, but
he could not. At last he gave out. He jumped over a steep bank and
the stone was right behind him. As Coyote struck the bottom, the
stone fell on him and killed him. This is why we used to find dead
coyotes in the hills and valleys.
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