Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coyote's Eyes....a Pima tale (Arizona)

When Coyote was traveling about one day, he saw a small bird. The bird was hopping about contentedly and Coyote thought,

"What a beautiful bird. It moves about so gracefully."

He drew nearer to the bird and asked, "What beautiful things are you working with?" but the bird could not understand Coyote.

After a while the bird took out his two eyes and threw them straight up into the air, like two stones. It looked upward but had no eyes. Then the bird said,

"Come, my eyes. Come quickly, down into my head." The eyes fell down into the bird's head, just where they belonged, but were much brighter than before.

Coyote thought he could brighten his eyes. He asked the bird to take out his eyes. The bird took out Coyote's eyes, held them for a moment in his hands, and threw them straight up into the air. Coyote looked up and called,

"Come back, my eyes. Come quickly." They at once fell back into his head and were much brighter than before. Coyote wanted to try it again, but the bird did not wish to. But Coyote persisted. Then the bird said,

"Why should I work for you, Coyote? No, I will work no more for you." But Coyote still persisted, and the bird took out his eyes and threw them up. Coyote cried,

"Come, my eyes, come back to me."

But his eyes continued to rise into the air, and the bird began to go away. Coyote began to weep. But the bird was annoyed, and called back,

"Go away now. I am tired of you. Go away and get other eyes."

But Coyote refused to go and entreated the bird to find eyes for him. At last the bird gathered gum from a pinon tree and rolled it between his hands and put it in Coyote's eye holes, so that he could see. But his eyes had been black and very bright. His new eyes were yellow.

"Now," said the bird, it "go away. You cannot stay here any longer."

(from Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest by Katharine Berry Judson published in 1912)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Long ago when the Earth was new, there were ten suns in the sky. The ten suns all rose at the same time, so the Earth was a very bright place. But it was also very hot; very hot indeed!
It was so unbearably hot that people, animals and plants suffered and died. The people who were left wanted to find a way to kill some of the suns to reduce the light and the heat so it was more comfortable.
Eventually, they found a man who they thought could do the job. He was an archer, a very famous archer.
His name was Dan.

Every day, Dan would shoot at the suns; he shot one arrow at every sun, on the hour every hour. As the days passed, Dan became more and more accurate and the suns became more and more nervous. They didn’t want to be punctured! One day, the suns decided they had had enough of dodging arrows and took themselves off to a world where their light and warmth would be better appreciated.

Of course, without the suns’ rays it was very dark and very cold on the Earth.
Nothing could live in the darkness and the people, animals and plants began to die. The people realized how stupid and selfish they had been and were very sorry. They begged the ten suns to come back and shine their light and heat on the Earth.
But nothing happened.
Day after day, the people shouted, prayed, set off fireworks, sang songs and lit bonfires.
Still nothing happened; the suns stayed away.

One day, a cockerel thought he would try his drumstick at bringing the suns back.
He began crowing as loudly as he could. He crowed and crowed and crowed.
Now, it’s a well-known fact that suns have very sensitive hearing and the racket that was coming from the Earth did nothing for them. Nothing at all except for one sun. It was tone deaf and was strangely attracted to the noise the cockerel was making. The sun peered over the eastern horizon to better hear the cockerel’s calling. The closer the sun crept the more the sun liked the sound. Eventually the sun rose completely in the sky and it listened and it really did like the cockerel’s song!

The light melted the darkness and the Earth warmed up. The people were amazed and, there and then, made a bargain with the cockerel that he should start crowing early every morning to attract the sun into the sky.
In exchange, the people would look after and feed the cockerel and his hens forever or, for as long as the cockerel sang for the sun.

And that, ladies, gentlemen, and children of the world, is why cockerels crow every morning.
Not just to attract the sun, but to ensure there’s an ample supply of corn.
Once a cockerel makes a bargain you can be sure it’ll be kept.

story found here