wildforce71: (triskell)
[personal profile] wildforce71
Please note, this story contains a reference to Red Indians. I haven't edited, because I'm trying to keep these stories intact as they were written in the eighties, but be aware it's there.




One dark and starry night a group of Red Indians sat huddled round a fire. Suddenly the oldest warrior stood up. His face was as old and as brown as the earth, and round his shoulders he wore a brightly-coloured blanket. He began to tell the story about the beginning of the world…


When Coyote, the desert dog, finished making the world, he took the wind, which was shaped like a sea-shell, and turned it upside down to form the sky. He put bright colours at the five corners of the world and a rainbow sprang up overhead and divided the night from the day. Then he sat back on his haunches and howled - and the sun and moon began to move across the sky.

Coyote planted the plains with trees and ponds and mountains and rivers, and he made all the animals.

“Last and best of all, I shall make Man,” Coyote thought aloud. But the animals heard him and wanted to help. So they all sat down in a circle in the forest; Coyote, Grizzly Bear, Lion, Honey Bear, Deer, Sheep, Beaver, Owl and Mouse.

“You can make Man whatever shape you’d like,” said Lion “but I think he should have sharp teeth for tearing meat, and long claws, too.”

“Like yours?” asked Coyote.

“Well, yes. Like mine,” said Lion. “He will need fur, of course. And a big, loud, roaring voice.”

“Like yours?” asked Coyote.

“Like mine,” said Lion.

“Nobody wants a voice like yours,” Grizzly interrupted. “You frighten everyone away. Man must be able to walk on his hind legs and creep up on things and hug them in his arms until they’re squashed flat.”

“Like you do?” asked Coyote.

“Well, yes. Like I do,” replied Grizzly.

Deer, who trembled nervously and kept glancing over her shoulder, said: “What’s all this about tearing meat and squashing things? It isn’t nice. Man had to be able to know when he’s in danger and run away quickly, He should have ears like sea-shells to hear every tiny sound. And eyes like the Moon, which sees everything. Oh, and antlers, of course. He will need antlers.”

“Like yours?” asked Coyote.

“Well, yes. Like mine,” said Deer.

“Like yours?” scoffed Sheep. “What good are antlers? Long, spiky things that get caught in every branch and bush! How is Man going to be able to butt things? Not if he had horns on either side of his head…”

“Like yours?” asked Coyote.

Sheep only sniffed. He did not like being interrupted.

Then Beaver stood up and said: “You are forgetting the most important thing of all - Man’s tail. Long thin tails are all right for swatting flies, I suppose. But Man must have a broad, flat tail. How else can he build dams in the river?”

“Like yours?” asked Coyote.

“Nobody builds dams like mine,” said the Beaver, in a very boastful way.

“Man sounds far too big,” squeaked Mouse. “He would be better being small.”

“You’re all out of your wits-wits-woo!” hooted Owl. “What about wings? If you want Man to be the best animal of all, he must be able to fly. He must have wings!”

“Like yours?” asked Coyote.

“Is that all you can say?” Owl complained. “Don’t you have any ideas?”

Coyote jumped to his feet and prowled to the centre of the circle. “You silly animals! I don’t know what I was thinking about when I made you! You all want Man to look exactly like you!”

“And I suppose Man should be just like you, Coyote,” growled Honey Bear.

“Then how could anyone tell us apart?” replied Coyote. “Everyone would point at me and say, ‘There goes Man’. And they would point at Man and say, ‘There goes Coyote’. No, no. Man must be different.”

“But with a tail!” shouted Beaver. “And wings!” hooted Owl. “And antlers!” bayed Deer. “And horns!” baaed Sheep. “And a roar!” roared Grizzly. “And be very small,” squeaked Mouse. But nobody heard him. They were too busy fighting.

Biting and butting and clawing and chewing, the animals fought each other across the forest floor while Coyote stood by and shook his head. Fur and feathers and hooves and horns flew all over the place. Coyote picked them up, and putting them together again he made all sorts of new, peculiar animals - like the camel and the giraffe.

Soon all the animals lay in an exhausted heap, too tired to fight any more. “I think I may have the answer,” said Coyote at last.

The animals blinked at him, and some of them snarled. But Coyote spoke to them all the same.

“Bear was right to say that Man should walk on his back legs. That means he can reach into the trees. And Deer was right to say that Man should have sharp ears and good eyes. But if Man had wings he would bump his head on the sky. The only part of a bird that he needs is Eagle’s long claws. I think I’ll call them fingers.

“And Lion was right when he said that Man should have a big voice. But he needs a little voice, too, so that he’s not too frightening. I think Man should be smooth like Fish, who has no fur to make him hot and itchy. But most important of all,” said Coyote finally, “Man must be more clever and cunning than any of you!”

“Like you are,” muttered all the animals.

“Well, yes, thank you,” said Coyote. “Like I am.” There was a lot of angry growling and hissing and the animals began to shout: “Sit down Coyote! Nobody likes your silly ideas!”

“Well,” said Coyote patiently. “Let’s have a competition. We’ll each make a model of Man out of mud. Tomorrow we can look at all the models and decide which is the best.”

So all the animals rushed away to fetch water and make mud. Old made a model with wings. Deer made a model with large ears and wide eyes. Beaver made a model with a broad, flat tail. Mouse made a very small model. But Coyote made Man.

The sun went down before any of them could finish their models. So they went to sleep on the forest floor. All except Coyote.

He fetched water from the river and poured it over all the other models. Beaver’s mud tail was washed away. Deer’s mud antlers were washed away. Owl’s mud wings were washed away.

Coyote blew into the nose of his model of Man made of mud. And when the other animals woke up, they found that there was a new animal in the forest. His name was Man.

With these words the old warrior sat down, wrapping his blanket round him. As the glow from the fire died down, he sat as silent as the earth staring into the darkness. And in the distance the cry of the coyote floated across the plains.

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