Saturday, December 03, 2005

Jamba Dunn

How Coyote Lost His Life
for Grandfather Effraine

Coyote was always hungry. So insatiable was his hunger that the animals of the
hills had to call a special meeting.
"We have a serious issue," said Hawk.
"What can we do?" asked Crow.
"Coyote's medicine is strong, but if we don't act, my children will never eat.
Coyote has cleared the plains of mice and sparrows."
"Coyote has eaten all of the berries off the manzanita. My family is also
starving," exclaimed Squirrel.
"I have a plan," said Hawk in a low, rusty voice. She gathered together all of
the animals to whisper her design. The animals listened carefully and agreed on her
course of action.
Next day, Coyote slinked back into camp with an empty gourd and a rumbling
stomach. "I am hungry," he shouted. "Come out, come out…” he started, before the
loveliest smell overwhelmed him into silence. It was the odor of cooked meat and fish,
berries, oysters and cornmeal—all of the food from their winter storage. Bounding
deeper into camp, Coyote discovered the other animals, dressed in their finest skins,
dragging a funeral sled containing the body of Wren and a cornucopia of food.
Coyote inquired.
"Wren has gone home," whimpered Squirrel.
“Gone home?”
“Passed away,” said Crow.
“Passed away?”
“Dead!” said Hawk, cuttingly.
“Too bad, too bad,” said Coyote, now wringing his hands together and eyeing the
cooked meats. “However, it looks like I’m just in time. My gourd is empty.”
"We have prepared this burial feast to help her in the afterlife,” said Squirrel.
Coyote blinked with a look of misunderstanding.
“We’re going to burry it,” said Hawk.
As soon as the image became clear in Coyote’s mind, he sank to his knees, bit the
end of his tail out of frustration and released a low groan. He was ravening for the
food. He wanted to leap forward and eat it all only, he wasn’t sure he could overpower
all of the animals present.
They were now halfway through the forest on their way to the bluffs above the
shoreline. Coyote caught up with Rabbit who was trailing behind.
"You are supposed to be the fastest animal of them all,” he said to Rabbit. “I’ll
bet you my tail you couldn’t hop on over and take a nice strip of meat without being
“I’m happy with my tail,” said Rabbit. “That bushy thing you wear would only make
me trip and fall.”
Next in line was Crow.
"Say, why don't we eat the feast," whispered Coyote to Crow. "I am sure Wren won't
mind if we have just a nibble."


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