How Coyote Stole Fire

Long ago the world was young and warm. Summer and Autumn were the only
seasons and it was never cold. Coyote enjoyed this weather very much, and was
very surprised one day to notice that it was changing. As the days went by, the air
grew cooler and cooler. Coyote knew that poor Man could not stay warm in the
coming days, because he had no fur. So Coyote decided to help Man. He knew of
three Fire Beings that lived far away in the mountains. They had captured a piece of
the sun and they guarded it jealously. If Coyote could just get a tiny bit of it, then
Man would have a piece of the sun to keep warm through the long Winter season.
So Coyote walked for many miles until he came to the mountain of the Fire Beings.
When the Beings heard someone nearby they leapt to their feet and looked out
through the brush with red, gleaming eyes.
“What’s that? What’s that I hear?” one hissed. ”
“It is no one,” another growled. “Just a miserable Coyote.”
They sat back down and paid Coyote no more attention. For the rest of the day he
sat quietly in the grass and watched everything that they did. Coyote noticed that
there was always a Fire Being on guard, except for early in the morning. Just before
dawn, when the cold winds were blowing in, the Being who was watching the fire
would take a few moments to wake up another.
“The next morning, when the Fire Being went to wake his sister, Coyote was
waiting. Coyote leapt into the camp, snatched up a glowing piece of the fire and
rushed down the mountainside.
The Fire Beings jumped to their feet and screamed in rage as they chased after him.
They almost caught him, but just as they were about to overtake him, he threw the
piece of fire away from himself. The Beings barely touched the tip of Coyote’s tail,
but it was enough to turn it white. And Coyote tails have had white tips ever since.


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