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Denys Branham Storytelling, SLIS 5400 December 5, 2002 - page 4 / 7





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possessions. Meanwhile the mother of the birds is on his trail. Coyote is acting more and more strangely. When the mother of the birds catches up with him and persuades the villagers to kill him, the baby birds are released. Their fluttering about inside of him had apparently driven him mad.

Say, Pedro Miguel, translated by Fernando Peñalosa and Janet Sawyer. The Rabbit and the Coyote. Retrieved December 2, 2002, from Maya Culture—Traditional Storyteller’s Tales, Maya Village Life Now Web Site: http://www.kstrom.net/isk/maya/mayastor.html Story Synopsis: “Uncle Rabbit” repeatedly tricks the coyote in this tale. First he leaves Coyote holding up the mountain, and then he convinces Coyote to drink all the water in the lake to get the cheese, which is in reality a full moon, reflected on the water. There is no reason given as to why the rabbit is tricking Coyote. The story ends with Rabbit walking off and Coyote abandoning the effort in a great deal of physical distress.

Character Analysis: Coyote’s character is complex. As will be shown later, certain tribes portray some aspects of his character more than others. Coyote is a creator, a friend of the animals, a hero, a trickster, a predator, and more often than not, an imitator of everything he admires. Even at his worst, Coyote is given a bigger than life persona.

In the Lord of the Animals, Coyote is the creator of all the animals and finally man himself. In Coyote Places the Stars, Coyote has the power to move the stars around to create the constellations. He is a friend to the animals in this story as he is in The Fire Race in which he helps the people to obtain fire. Coyote needs the help of the Great Spirit to become a hero to the Pomo people in Coyote and the Grasshoppers. The Spirit Chief Names the Animal People demonstrates Coyote’s desire to imitate the other animals as he yearns for any name other than his own, which is of course Sin-K-Lip’ or the Imitator. He is however, given magic powers by the Spirit Chief and serves as helper to the Spirit Chief.

Gerald McDermott’s Coyote shows Coyote at his worst as an imitator. One calamity after another befalls him as he tries to imitate the other animals. Coyote’s tricky ways again land him in big trouble in Coyote Steals the Blanket. Ignoring Hummingbird’s advice, Coyote in his own greedy arrogant way takes a blanket and soon finds himself chased through the canyons by a boulder sent by the spirit of the great desert. His greediness again results in his demise in Coyote and the Bird Woman. The mother of the baby birds he has eaten follows Coyote as he tricks one village after another into giving him their belongings. Finally she rallies the villagers to kill the ornery Coyote and free her little birds. Borreguita and the Coyote and The Rabbit and the Coyote show Coyote as a slow-witted predator tricked by the smaller animals time and time again. Trickster, creator, friend, hero, imitator, greedy predator; Coyote is all of these

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