Manataka American Indian Council









Coyote Steals Sun's Tobacco

Apache / White Mountain Story

Slim Coyote was living with the Indians. One day he started out to the Sun's house. When he got there. Sun was not at home His wife was there and Coyote talked with her.


"nde (man) " he said, "Where is my cross-cousin, the Sun."

Sun's wife said that he had gone out and was not home yet.


"I came to talk with him about something," said Coyote.


Then Coyote saw Sun's tobacco bag  hanging up on the side of the dwelling.


"I came to smoke and talk with my  cross-cousin," said Slim Coyote, "so give me a smoke while I am waiting for him. He won't mind, he is like my cross-cousin  Coyote was talking to Sun's wife as if she were his mother-in-law. [Coyote's behavior and assumption of kinship here is ridiculous and amusing to Apaches.


First he treats Sun as a  cross-cousin; second he addresses Sun's wife by a mother-in-law term but  does not observe  avoidances, etc.]  Sun's wife handed him the tobacco bag.  Coyote took it and filled a little buckskin bag that he had with him. This  little bag he hid on him. Then he rolled a cigarette. This way he got off with a lot of Sun s tobacco without Sun's wife knowing. He hung up Sun's bag again.


Then he told Sun's wife, "I came to talk with my cross-cousin but he  hasn't come back yet, so I guess I won't wait after all." Coyote started home.

Pretty soon Sun came home. "Who has been here and gone again?", he asked.  


"Somebody who said he was your cross-cousin " answered his wife. (She tells in full what happened.)


Sun was very angry. "I'll get that fellow," he said. 


He went out to the front  his house where Black Wind Horse was tied, and  saddled him up and set off after Coyote. This Black Wind Horse could fly and when he traveled he made a noise like lightning. A light rain  started to fall and covered up Coyote's tracks, but Sun could still see the ashes from  Coyote's cigarette, and he followed him by this It kept on raining Pretty soon the tobacco Coyote had with him, started to grow. boon it was  putting out leaves; then flowers. At last it got ripe and dry and the wind scattered  the seeds all over When bun saw this, he gave up chasing Coyote and went home.

When Coyote got back to where he was camping with the people (Apaches), he  kept his tobacco for himself and would not give any to the others. The people kept asking Coyote for a little smoke, but he would not give them any  at all. The People got together and held a council about Coyote and how they could get his tobacco away from him. They decided to pretend to give Coyote a wife. They told a young boy to dress up as a girl and pretend he was going to be Coyote's wife. They told him just what to do.


Then they told Coyote,"We are going to give you a wife.


"Then Coyote said, "You are trying to fool me." 


"No, we are not lying," they said, "We are going to give you a wife."


They set up a new wickiup for Coyote and got everything ready. They told the boy  who was to dress as a girl not to let Coyote touch him till just before dawn, so that Coyote would not find out the truth. They made a bed in the new wickiup and Coyote felt so good he gave them all his tobacco. Just about dusk the boy dressed as a girl went over and sat down beside Coyote in his new wickiup.


Slim Coyote was so excited he could not stand up, but just kept crawling around on the ground. Coyote was impatient and he said, "Why don't you come to bed ? Let's hurry and go to bed; I want to go to bed now." 


The boy just sat there and wouldn't do it. After a while, when Coyote had said this several times, the boy lay down by Coyote but not close to him.

Coyote said, "I want you to lie close," and he tried to touch the boy.


But the boy said, "Don't!" and pushed Coyote's hand away.


This kept up all night and the boy would not let Coyote do anything. Just before dawn Coyote made a grab and caught hold of the boy's manhood.


He let go right away and jumped back. "Get away from me; get back from me; you're a boy, not a girl," he said.


Then Coyote got up and called the other people. "You lied to me," he said, "You didn't give me any wife at all." "Give me my tobacco back," he yelled, but they would not do it.


This is the way the people first got tobacco.

Told by Francis Drake
From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories.