Átsé Hashké dóó Náshdóí (Coyote and the Wildcat)

Note: The Navajo (Diné) word for "Coyote" is Mąii, but the Dine’ word for the "Coyote" (of Navajo mythology) is Átsé Hashké. The Diné word for "Wildcat" is Náshdóí.

On one of his many journeys, Coyote came upon a wildcat. It was sleeping peacefully on a large flat rock that had been warmed by the sunshine.

Coyote sat down and looked at the sleeping wildcat. "What can I do to him?" he asked himself. "Ah, I know! I'll push his long nose in; I'll push his long tail in, and I'll pull his short legs out into long ones ... That will be a joke on him. He won't know what's happened."

Carefully, not making a sound. Coyote crawled across the sand and up to the wildcat. Before the wildcat knew it. Coyote had pushed in its face and tail and pulled its short legs out into long ones. Then Coyote took a sharp stick and pulled some of the wildcat's intestines out, and, using his special magic, he quickly made a fire and cooked the intestines over it.

"Hey, Cousin, wake up! Wake up!" he called to the wildcat. "I've some good food for you to eat." The wildcat awakened and looked around. He smelled the meat cooking. It smelled good to him. "This is very kind of you Cousin." he said, "Where did you get the meat?" "The human beings gave it to me." Coyote lied "Come on. Eat some. I've already had my fill." The wildcat ate all of the cooked intestines and licked his lips, saying how good they were.

Coyote rolled on the ground and laughed. "You were eating your own intestines," he told the wildcat.

The wildcat began to feel sick at his stomach. He tried to spit out what he had eaten. "I didn't swallow them. I didn't swallow them," he told Coyote.

Coyote went away laughing at him, and the wildcat was very angry. "I'll get even with him!" he declared.

He began following Coyote. Everywhere Coyote went, the wildcat followed slinking through the trees and hiding in the rocks. Several times he tried to surprise Coyote, and the fourth time his plan worked.

Coyote was asleep after a night of hunting. The wildcat crept up beside him without making a sound. Very gently he stretched the coyote's nose, then his ears, and, after that, his tail. That's why coyotes have long noses, ears, and tails.

Then the wildcat took a sharp stick and pulled out some of Coyote's intestines, which he roasted over a little fire nearby.

Coyote was as trusting as the wildcat had been. He ate the food offered to him. Then the wildcat laughed at him, telling him he had eaten his own intestines.

Coyote clutched his stomach crying, "But I didn't swallow them. I didn't swallow them," just as the wildcat had done.

The wildcat left him there, spitting and mumbling.

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URL: http://www.lapahie.com /Coyote_Wildcat.cfm
Creator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr.
Dated Created: 12/04/2011
Version: 2.0
Updated: 05/17/2014
Curator(s): Harrison Lapahie Jr.
Resource(s): Coyote Stories of the Navajo People, Navajo Curriculum Center Press, 1974 School Board, Inc. Rough Rock Arizona
Questions/Comments: Harrison Lapahie Jr.

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