Manataka American Indian Council






Coyote and His Sons

Wintu Legend



[The little ones he is killing are the children of the squirrels, rabbits and birds - grouse and foolshen]

Coyote had two children. He killed little ones whenever he saw them. Wherever he found them playing he killed them. He sneaked up on them wherever they went and killed more and more. He went on killing.

All the people came from everywhere and gathered.

"Some kind of persons seems to be killing my children; who could be killing by children?" someone said. "Do you know who it is?"

"No," said the others, "But the same person is killing everywhere. We have seen his tracks. Those tracks we saw must belong to him, the killer of our children. Let's catch him alive and kill him, too, before he kills more!"

They watched for him. They saw him leaving his own children in a hole in a log. He went and killed. He fed the little one to his children. The people watched Coyote from the north and south. Again he killed. He killed a little one and took it to feed to his own two boys. He fed them again.

Then Coyote left to go hunting. He went hunting again.

The people who were watching ran and found his children lying in the log. They captured the two boys. They took them. They killed the two. The killed the two boys and took them home. They wrapped them and tied them up above in a house. They had killed the two boys.

Coyote was hunting again. He made his kill and, when he was going to feed the boys, they were missing. He could not find them. There was blood where they had been killed.

"Someone must have found the two and killed them here," he said. He tracked; tracked for a long time; tracked everywhere. In some places the tracks were visible, in others they were not.

He tracked and tracked. He tracked to the house of those people. That's where the tracks ended. Inside the house the boys had been tied up.

Coyote entered, smiling and talking politely. He was not afraid, but smiled. He was friendly. He went in. He looked around everywhere, sat down, and talked to the people. "This is a nice house," he said. "It is very nice. I guess I will build a house, too, some day, just as nice."

He looked up. "How is this all built up above?" he asked. "I want to look at it so I can build a house just like it." He walked around everywhere. He went in further and further, and took a good look up. He saw the two dead boys tied up. He said to himself, "They must have killed them here. They brought the two here and tied them up." It brought tears to his eyes. Tears fell from his eyes. He cried.

The old woman and man who lived there saw it. They said, "You are crying, aren't you?"

"No," he said. "Something fell into my eyes. I have something in my eyes."  He wiped his eyes.

"Yes, you are crying!" said the old woman. "Why are you crying?"

"I am not crying. Something fell in my eyes. When I looked up at the house something fell in my eyes." He left. He went home.

The people heard him walking that night. The next morning they rolled up a log. They rolled it to one side of the house. They propped it up ready to fall.

That night he returned. He walked around at night and climbed up. He hung onto the log, climbed up, and the log fell. The log fell down. He broke both his legs. Both his legs were broken. He crawled. He was bleeding. He was in  pain. He crawled into the bushes. He did not get far and lay down in the bushes to sleep. He tried to sleep but could not. He was in pain.

The people had heard the log fall in the night, and when daylight came, they rose. "Let's go see," they said. They looked around and saw that the log had fallen. They tracked. There was blood. There was a large amount of blood.  Coyote had crawled there. They crept along, tracking, tracking.

They found him lying there. They found Coyote lying there. "What's the matter?" they asked. "Why are you walking around at night? The log fell on you because you were going around in the night instead of the daytime. If you walk around at night, logs fall on you."

"I came back because I was lost," he replied. "I could not find the door. I came for the door but could not find it, and the log fell on me. My legs are broken."

"You saw your two sons, didn't you?" the people said. "They were tied above.  That is how you killed those children. You took them and fed them to the two. Now we are getting even with you. You killed many of our children. We only killed two of yours. You killed many of ours. You killed our children.  And now, as for you, we will tie you in that tree there. We will tie your hands behind your back, tie you up in the tree, and leave you to die. You asked to die when you killed our children. Die then! Die with your children! Your children died for our children! We will tie you up to die. We will tie you tight in that tree. You won't be able to move."

Coyote stayed there. He lasted for three days and died. They dug a hole and put him in it. They put the two boys on top of him. They threw rocks in the hole. They covered it all with dirt. They buried the three coyotes.



In My Own Words. Stories, songs and memories of Grace Mckibbin, Wintu [1884-1987]. by Alice Shepherd, 1997.

From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories




Coyote and Cloud

Wintu Legend



The people gathered for a big time. They came from everywhere and gathered.  The people gathered for a big time in the spring. Many danced and they all ran races; short distance, but not long distance races.

Coyote and Cloud were at the races with all the others.

Coyote said, "I don't want to run a short race. I can beat all of you at that; I want to run far."

Cloud said, "I could race against you since no one else wants to. I'll race with you and I can beat you."

Coyote said, "You can't beat me; I'm fast. I can beat everyone when I run. I'll beat you even if we run a great distance," he said to Cloud.

Cloud said, "Okay, let's race then!"

They were on their way to a place south to begin the race. They were going south to race. Coyote said, "Okay, I'll race with you no matter how far.  I'll beat you."

Cloud said, "Let's go then!"

Coyote said, "I won't go fast or run as long as we're only going south. I'll get there. Wait for me! If we're going to race, I won't run to the starting point. I'll race after I get there."

Four people were going to watch the two runners.

Coyote was already going very fast, all by himself. He was running north and going out of sight. He was no longer visible from the south. Cloud was going slow, going slow. Coyote went north a long distance. He looked back for Cloud and did not see him. Cloud was not visible when he looked back.

Again Coyote looked back. He said, "What the heck is going on? Is that Cloud ever going to get here? Let me continue running and when I get there, I will wait for him in the North."

Coyote ran on. He went fast and kept on going, running and running. He ran for a long time, for several days.

When he looked back, Cloud was still not visible. He went north, north, north, and then looked back. Cloud was now gliding along.

Just now, far off to the south! Coyote said, "What the heck! He'll never get here. He's just now visible down south. I'll be looking for him when I get there."

Coyote went north again and was getting close to the goal. When he got close, Cloud approached. Coyote looked north and south, but did not see Cloud. He looked north again, and there was Cloud, already lying crosswise.

Cloud had already arrived. Coyote lost. Cloud had arrived and was looking for Coyote. Cloud said, "I am here already, and I was looking for you. You were supposed to come in first, but you did not. You lost; I got here and beat you."

Coyote said, "When I looked back for you, you weren't coming and weren't visible. I have been looking for you for a long time.

Cloud said, "I looked for you here where we were supposed to come to. We were not supposed to look for each other, but come here north where those four are waiting to see who arrived first. It's clear that I'm the one who came in first," said Cloud.

Coyote said, "I would have been here already if I had not waited for you, and I would have won." Cloud said, You were supposed to wait if you arrived here first. You should have stayed here is you came in first, not waited somewhere else further on. "You are lying because you lost. I beat you," said Cloud. "How do you like that; lying!" Cloud said to Coyote.

"I'm not lying and I would have beaten you if I had not looked back," said Coyote. "You weren't even visible. I did not want to come here alone." Cloud said, "We were not supposed to wait for each other, but see who came in first, and those four were going to tell us which one of us was the winner."

The four people gathered and said, "When Cloud was going to race, we knew he would win even before he was lying crosswise at the goal, because Cloud cannot be beaten by Gray Squirrel or anyone else. Lightning is the only one who might beat Cloud. Cloud has beaten Coyote."

Coyote lost everything he bet. He had only his clothes left. He did not have anything else. He lost. He lost it all.

In My Own Words. Stories, songs and memories of Grace Mckibbin, Wintu [1884-1987]. by Alice Shepherd, 1997.
From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories



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