Gateway to the Classics: The Red Indian Fairy Book by Frances Jenkins Olcott
The Red Indian Fairy Book by  Frances Jenkins Olcott

Coyote the Proud


In old days Coyote was bright green, and how he came to be the colour of dust, was this way:—

One day he was walking along looking for something to eat, and he came to a lake. And there he saw a little bird with ugly grey feathers. It was bathing in the lake, and when it came out on the bank, all its feathers fell off and left its skin bare.

After that, the little bird jumped into the lake again, and came out covered with beautiful bright blue feathers! It hopped about and sang:—

"This water is blue!

And blue I am too!"

"Little Bird," cried Coyote, "you are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! Tell me how you changed your ugly feathers for these bright blue ones."

"I went into the lake four times in four days, and sang a magic song," said the little bird, "and the fourth time, my feathers all fell off. Then I jumped in a fifth time, and these beautiful ones grew all over me."

"Little Bird," said Coyote, "teach me your song, for I also wish to be blue."

So the bird taught Coyote its song, and he jumped into the lake and bathed four times in four days. The fourth time all his hair dropped off. Then he jumped in again, and his hair came back a beautiful bright blue.

Well! He was proud! And as he walked along he looked about on all sides to see if any one was admiring him. He even examined his shadow to see if it was blue. And of course he did not look where he was going, and suddenly he hit a stump, and rolled over into the dust.

He rolled and rolled, and when he got up he was all dust-coloured! And that is the reason why ever since that day all Coyotes have been the colour of dirt.

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