Music: People of Peace by R. Carlos Nakai
Coyote was traveling, and came to Amtkane', about five miles below Missoula, where a large rock is standing on the edge of a high cliff. It moves
when it is pushed. Here lived the Mountain-Ram who killed people. He invited passers-by to push the rock over the cliff. When they failed, he invited
them to look over the cliff at the sheep on the rocks below. Then while they were looking, he would push them over, and thus killed them.
As Coyote was passing, Bighorn shouted to him. Coyote went up and asked him what he wanted.
He saw that Coyote was armed; so he said, "You have bow and arrows. I should like you to shoot those sheep among the rocks below."
Coyote went to look at them. Then Bighorn pushed him over, and he was killed on the rocks below.
Later Fox came along, and jumped over him. Then Coyote moved, rubbed his eyes, and said, "I must have slept a long time."
Fox answered, "You were dead. I told you not to come here."
Coyote said, "I will be revenged."
Coyote went the same way; and as he was passing, Bighorn shouted as before. Coyote asked him what he wanted.
Ram said to him, "You have bow and arrows. I want you to shoot these sheep."
Coyote went cautiously to the edge of the cliff, and pretended not to see the sheep. Bighorn pointed them out, but Coyote said he did not see them.
Ram leaned out over the cliff to show them to Coyote, and the latter shoved him over and killed him. He said, "Had you kept on living and doing this
way, you would have exterminated the people."
|Coyote and Mountain Sheep
A Pen D'Oreille Legend
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|Coyote and the Skukula'na Woman
A Pen D'Oreille Legend
Coyote was traveling, and went up Bitter-Root River. There he saw a number of women dancing among tall grass on the bank. He approached,
crossing a ridge. He heard them singing, "He goes up the ridge."
He said, "They have noticed me. They mean me."
When he went down over the ridge, they sang, "He goes down the ridge."
Coyote thought, "They refer to me."
He went down and joined the women. They took him by each hand, and danced him towards the river. They said, "We are going into the water.
Coyote said, "Let me go. My clothes will get wet. I will take them off."
They answered, "You need not mind. It does not matter about clothes in the other world where you are going."
They took him into the water and dragged him up and down until he was drowned. They left his body on the bank; and Fox came along and brought
him to life by jumping over him.
Coyote said, "I shall get even with these women."
He went back and found them dancing in the same place. He set fire to the grass all around them, and they ran together to get away from the fire.
When they saw that it would reach them, they rushed through and ran for the river. As they passed through the fire, they were scorched.
Coyote transformed them saying, "You shall be Skukula'na, and people shall put you into the fire and eat you." For this reason these shell fish appear
as if burned on one side.
There was a huge rattlesnake-monster which occupied the Jocko valley. Its tail was at S.nlpo' (Come-Out or Emerge), a place near Evero; and its
mouth, at Skul'lo', near Ravalli. Its stomach was near Jocko. It swallowed people without their knowing it. They walked into its mouth, and passed
on to its stomach, thinking they were going through a valley, and not knowing they were inside a monster. When they reached the stomach, they
became sick, and before long died.
Coyote was traveling with Fox and reached that district. The people told him of the monster, and he said he would go and kill it. Coyote's cousin Fox
who was his traveling companion, advised him not to go, because he would be killed. Coyote, however, started; and when near the monster's head,
he cut two long tamarack poles, and carried them along on his shoulder. He thought, "I will use these in case he tries to close his mouth on me." He
passed through the monster's mouth without knowing it. When he reached a place near Arlee, he saw a number of people in all stages of dying. He
asked them what they were doing there; and they answered, "The monster has killed us." He said, "Where is he? I am looking for him. I don't see
anything here to kill you." They answered, "You have been swallowed. You are in its stomach now." Then he placed his poles upright. Therefore two
tamaracks grow at this place today, not very far from there he saw the monster's heart hanging down.
Coyote was wearing a sharp arrow-stone fastened upright on his head. He began to dance; and whenever he jumped up, the dagger pierced the
heart. Thus he kept on dancing until he had killed the monster. Its heart may still be seen in the shape of Butte, near Jocko. Coyote supported its
mouth so that it could not close, and opened its tail. The cut he made may be seen as a canyon near Evero. Thus Coyote made it possible for people to
pass through without hindrance or harm. When he had finished, the valley was as we see it today.
|Coyote and the Snake Monster
A Pen D'Oreille Legend
|Coyote in Idaho
A Pen D'Oreille Legend
Near Spokane one day, Coyote and Fox were traveling together on their way north. When they reached a river, Coyote said to Fox, "I believe I'll get
married. I'd like to take one of those Pen D'Oreille women for my wife."
So they decided to go in search of the Chief of the Pen D'Oreilles. They soon located him with his tribe, and Coyote approached him with a gift of
"Chief, I would like very much to have one of your tribal women for my wife. Can we talk about which one you would choose for me?"
"Now Coyote, you know we do not approve that our women intermarry with other tribal members. So you cannot have one of our Pen D'Oreille
women for your wife."
Coyote and Fox left the Chief. Coyote became so disappointed with the Chief's decision, he began to rage to his partner, Fox.
"Soon the Chief will be sorry for his refusal. I'll make a big waterfall here in his big river. Forevermore, salmon will not be able to get over the falls to
feed the Pen D'Oreilles."
Since Coyote had the power for his wishes to be granted, the great falls immediately formed as he proclaimed. That is how the Spokane Falls began.
From there, Coyote walked north to Ravalli. Soon he met an Old Indian Woman camped close by. Old Woman said to Coyote, "Where are you
"I am on my way to travel all over the world."
"Well, you had better go back and not stay here," Old Woman said to Coyote.
"Why should I turn back and not stay here for a while? I am looking for a wife."
"Because there is a Giant here who kills everyone passing through this valley," replied Old Woman.
"But I am strong. I will fight him and kill him instead."
So Coyote did not heed Old Woman's warning and started walking on the trail again. He noticed a large tamarack tree nearby on a hillside.
"I'll put an end to the Giant with a hard blow from this tree. That's the way I'll kill him," Coyote said to himself. So he pulled the tamarack tree from
the ground and swung it onto his shoulder and continued his search for the Giant.
Soon Coyote saw a woman who seemed nearly dead. He asked, "What is the matter, are you sick?"
"No, I am not sick," she replied.
"I am going to kill the Giant with this tamarack tree," said Coyote.
"You might as well throw the tree away. Don't you know the Giant already sees you and you are already a tasty bite in the Giant's belly?"
Coyote took her advice and threw the tamarack tree up on a hillside where it is still growing near Arlee, a little station on the Northern Pacific
Railroad. All of what was Jocko Valley now fills the Giant's belly.
As Coyote traveled on from there, he observed many people lying here and there. Some were already dead, others seemed about to die, or were
"Tell me what is the trouble with all of you people," asked Coyote of an Old Woman with her eyes open.
"We are all starving to death," she answered.
"How can that be, when I can see plenty to eat here, lots of meat and fat?" said Coyote.
Then Coyote attacked the Giant and cut away large chunks of grease and fat from the sides of the Giant and fed all of the people. Soon all became
"All of you people prepare to run for your lives. I am going to cut out the Giant's heart. When I start cutting, you must all run to O'Keef's Canyon or
to Ravalli," called out Coyote.
With his stone knife, Coyote cut out the Giant's heart. The Giant called out, "Please, Coyote, let me alone. Go away from here. Get Out!"
"No I won't go away. I'm going to stay right here until I kill you," said Coyote.
Then he cut out the Giant's heart. As he was dying, the Giant's jaws began to close tightly. Woodtick was the last one to escape from the Giant's belly
when Giant's jaws closed. But Coyote caught hold of him and with all his strength pulled Woodtick out of the Giant's mouth.
"We can't help it but you will always be flat headed from your experience," said Coyote as he left and started again on his world trip.
From there the traveler continued on to what is today Missoula, Montana. Coyote walked along between Lolo and Fort Missoula when he thought
he heard someone call his name. But he could not see anyone. He trotted forward again, and heard his name called again. He stopped and when he
looked into the woods, he saw two women sitting down beside a river.
Coyote swam across the river, and went up the embankment to the women. They were very good looking women, thought Coyote, maybe he could
marry one of them. He sat down between them, but they stood up and danced down to the river.
"Wait for me," called Coyote. "I'll go swimming with you." He took off his jacket beaded with shells, denoting that he was a great Chief.
"We don't want to wait, we are having a good time dancing," replied the two women as they danced on into the river. When Coyote joined them, they
pushed him down into the water and tried to drown him.
Later, Coyote's partner, Fox, appeared from around a bend in the river, looking for something to eat. When he looked into the river and saw
something lying on the bottom, he said, "This must be my partner, Coyote!"
Fox pulled out the object, and when he was sure it was Coyote, he made a magical jump over him and brought Coyote back to life.
Coyote said, "Oh, I must have had a long sleep."
"You were not asleep, you were dead," replied Fox. "Why did you go near those women, you had no right to be near them, they are from the Shell
Coyote climbed partway up the hill and set the grass on fire. Later it was discovered that the women could not escape, and died in the fire. Today
some shells have a black side, because they had been burned at the same time.
|Coyote, Wren, and Grouse
A Pen D'Oreille Legend
Once Coyote met Wren (tseska'n), and laughed at his small bow and arrow.
He said, "You can't shoot far with those."
Wren answered, "Yes, I can shoot far. If you go to that distant ridge, I will shoot you while you are there."
Coyote laughed, and said, "That ridge is so far away that we can hardly see it."
Soon afterwards Coyote was walking along this ridge, and Fox was following him. He had forgotten about his talk with Wren. Presently he heard
something coming, and Wren's arrow struck him in the heart. He gave two jumps and fell dead. Fox pulled out the arrow, and jumped over Coyote,
who came to life, and said, "I must have slept a long time."
Fox said, "You were not sleeping, you were dead. Wren's arrow struck your heart. Why do you fool with Wren? You know he can shoot better than
any one." Coyote took the arrow from Fox, and said, "I shall get even with him."
Some time after this, Coyote met Wren, and proposed to gamble with him. He said, "I have an arrow which looks like yours. Now you have a chance
to win it back." They played a game of throwing arrows. Coyote beat Wren every time, and won all his arrows. Then he won his bow, and later all
his beautiful clothes. Wren was left practically naked. Coyote went off singing, "Alpano'n e Kalispe" ("I won from the Kalispel"). Wren followed him
at some distance.
Coyote passed by the lodge of Willow-Grouse, who had ten young children. Their parents were off in the hills. Coyote asked the children, "Who is
They answered, "Toxto'xtu'su" (Flying- Past-Head).
He laughed, and said, "No, that cannot be his name." He asked the name of their mother; and they answered, "Toxto'xtusepu'scEn" (Flying- Past
He laughed, saying, "No, that cannot be her name." He went into the lodge and dug a small hole near the fire. Then he said to the children, "Carry
those red bearberries into the hole, and watch me cook them for you." They did so, and crowded around the edge to watch him. He pushed them into
the hole, and threw earth and hot ashes on top of them. When they were cooked, he went on.
Their parents came home, and, finding their children dead, they cried. Wren came along, and asked them why they cried. They told him.
Wren said, "I have a grudge against Coyote, too. I want my things which he won from me. If you can get them back for me, I will restore your
children to life."
Coyote was then passing over a high ridge, close to a steep cliff. Grouse made a detour, and hid ahead of him on the upper side. When Coyote was
opposite them, one flew out suddenly at his head. He bent back over the cliff to avoid it. Then the other flew between his legs. He lost his balance and
fell over the cliff. Grouse hastened, and plucked him as he was falling. They plucked away his bow and arrows and quiver and clothes, and gave
them back to Wren, who then revived the Grouse children. Coyote was killed by the fall; but Fox found him, and brought him back to life by jumping