4. Coyote and Turtle
Coyote was again at home.
Coyote spoke thus to his wife:
"Make some food for me.
When you have made some food and I have eaten, I will leave you again.
They are asking for me over there at Turtle's camp." he said to his wife.
His wife quickly went about preparing food for him.
Soon she had prepared all the food for him.
"Now eat." his wife said to him.
It lay on the ground before him.
He quickly began to eat.
She had roasted corn for him.
She had put it down before him for him.
He sat there eating.
He was chewing roasted corn.
He was chewing it fast.
It was not fast enough for him.
With roasted corn still in his mouth he rushed for the door.
He coughed with the corn [in his mouth].
[The corn] flew down his throat.
He tried in vain to speak.
Then he vainly waved his arms to her.
His mouth just hung open.
"Give me water!" he tried in vain to say.
His wife rushed to him.
She shook him.
She slapped him on the back.
Then the corn flew out of his mouth.
He opened his eyes.
He breathed again.
He sat there angrily.
"You no good food." he said.
"I wanted sustenance from you. When one has started to eat you, you are not to kill him first.
If I have not eaten you, I can get no good out [of you]." he said.
He was throwing the food that was lying there about.
His wife said:
"No!" to him and took the food from him1.
Then, without speaking to her, he rushed out of the door.
He went on farther.
He didn't know [where he was going] but he went down the road.
Then, at his camp, his wife and his children came out.
From there they watched him.
He was going along the road.
He did not look back.
Then his wife:
"He has abandoned us." she said to her children.
Then all of them sat about weeping.
Then Coyote had gone out of sight.
He kept on going farther.
Farther up the road, a Beetle was walking along the road.
He walked up to him.
Coyote stood before him.
"Aha!" he said to the Beetle,
"Now I want to eat you! Only then will I live." he said.
Just as [Beetle] said:
"Wait!" to him,
He also said:
"Wait! You will not get away from me again!" he said2.
Coyote pounced on him.
He took hold of him.
As he begged, Coyote went right on eating him.
When he had finished eating, he said:
"I have eaten well!"
Then he started off again.
Four days having passed, he was walking along the bank of a big river in the mountains.
Farther on, he came out to a big lake.
It was still early morning.
Someone with big eyes was sitting facing him on the shore of the big lake.
[Coyote] stopped before him.
"Friend." he said to him,
"Why do you sit here?" Coyote said to him.
"Coyote, I [simply] sit here. I am Frog man." he said to him.
"Friend, show me the way to Old Man Turtle's camp." said Coyote to him.
"There on the east side of that land that is floating in the middle of the water is Old Man Turtle's camp." said Frog to him.
"Where is there a road to it?"
"Right there, straight ahead, there is a road across." he said to Coyote3.
"I do not know how to swim, friend." said Coyote to him.
"Sit down right here; I'll look over there for him for you." said Frog to him.
Then Coyote sat down right there.
Frog jumped into the water.
Slowly he spread his legs apart.
He gave the water one kick.
Then he could just be seen in the water as he was swimming.
But soon he was invisible.
Then Coyote lay down on his side.
He fell asleep.
Turtle and Frog were swimming back.
They swam toward him.
They came out on the shore.
They stood before him.
He was fast asleep.
He was snoring.
"Coyote!" they said to him.
"Wake up!" they said to him.
Then he awoke.
He sat up.
"Coyote, you sent for me." he said.
Therefore, this person brought me back from over there."
"Are you called Turtle?" he said to him.
"I am so called."
Then [Coyote] arose.
He started toward [Turtle].
He also started toward [Coyote].
They stood facing each other.
"Friend!" [they said] and embraced each other.
They held each other tightly.
After a while, they released each other.
"Coyote, why are you coming to me?"
"I am coming to you so you will do something for me. That is why I am coming to you." said Coyote to him.
"Coyote, I'll do for you anything that you want. Name it!" said Turtle to him.
"Give me tobacco.
And also give me something good [to eat].
When you have fed me well, I shall leave you.
That is why I am coming to you."
The Turtle people of whatever group have at no time failed to do anything.
I will give you tobacco.
Sit down right there first."
Then, turning around, he jumped into the water.
He disappeared in a splash of water.
In a short time he came up again with the tobacco.
"Coyote, here is tobacco." he said to him.
And he gave it to him.
Then [Coyote] rolled a cigarette and sat next to him.
[Turtle] gave him a light.
"Coyote, now what else?" he said to him.
"Give me roasted deer ribs."
Then he jumped into the water.
He went away again in a splashing of water.
And he brought back to him out [of the water] roasted deer ribs and four roasted prairie dogs.
He put all of them down before him for him.
Then, feeling very grateful, [Coyote] began to eat.
And, after that, the three of them, Coyote, Turtle, [and] Frog, smoked.
[Then] the three of them embraced one another.
That food that Turtle had given him [and] which remained when he had eaten:
"You'll be taking that home." he said to Coyote.
"Thank you." he said to him.
"You will now come to [visit] me though I will not be able to make anything for you." Coyote said to him.
"Four days from now I will come to you." said Turtle to him.
"All right. You will come to me." said Coyote to him.
Then, tying up that which he had given him, he started to carry it back to his camp.
He quickly carried it back to his camp.
He returned to his camp.
His children were all sitting about inside.
Then he carried it in to them.
"Go ahead and eat this." he said to them.
Then they began to eat.
And [Coyote] sat inside the wickiup.
"Keep the place clean." said Coyote to his wife.
And both of them kept it very clean for [Turtle].
"I am going hunting." he said.
Taking his arrows, he went out of doors.
And then he went about there hunting.
He brought back a bag full of many beetles, grasshoppers, butterflied, and moths.
He put them away for [Turtle].
Then four days had passed.
"They are coming from over yonder." said the oldest child to [Coyote].
A short time passed.
Then the Turtle People came to him.
He spread out [a robe] for them.
Then they sat down.
"Coyote, we have come to you. Now prepare something for us." [Turtle] said to him.
"Yes, I'll prepare something for you." said Coyote.
Then he took out some tobacco.
He spoke thus to him:
"Roll [a cigarette] and give it to me." he said to him.
The [Turtle] rolled it and gave it to him.
And he took it.
He lit it.
He drew on it four times.
He blew much smoke upward four times.
Then he spoke thus to his wife:
"Bring out for them that which I have put inside there." he said to her.
Coyote's wife went inside.
Then she put down before those who had come to him that bag which [Coyote] had filled with things.
"You people open the bag and eat anything you like."
Then they started to move toward [the] bag].
Because they were tired they were going to eat right away.
Old Man Turtle opened the bag.
And inside of it was all of their favorite food.
Then they ate it all because it was their favorite food.
Then they arose.
"You have fed us well. said Old Man Turtle to him4.
We are going to leave you.
Coyote, I am grateful to you.
Then, having arisen, they all embraced one another.
And then they parted.
To throw food about or to handle it carelessly is thought very dangerous and unlucky. Even
bones are not thrown around but are placed in a neat pile and disposed of at once. To do
otherwise is to invite the loss of hunting skill and shortage of food.
This refers to a previous episode wherein Beetle made believe he was receiving a message
concerning Coyote from people beneath the earth and thus out-witted and escaped from Coyote.
See Chiricahua Apache Text 15: "Coyote and Beetle".
Frog is not referring to an actual road over to the island. As Coyote's answer shows, he is
suggesting that Coyote swim across.
This is one of the rare instances where Coyote comes off with honor in a food exchange