Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coyote Story

coyote picture downloaded from

Coyote Gets Rich Off the White Men

(note: I was working on another Coyote Story but got called out of town for a pickup gig. This was originally published at Harp and Sword. I've gone through and cleaned up some of the spelling errors and stuff.)

Coyote was wandering around visiting. Most places didn't want to put up with his tricks and his foolishness so he kept at it until he came to Bobcat's place. He ate Bobcat's food, smoked Bobcat's tobacco, but when those things were running low he asked,
"Got any money? I heard from Cougar's wife that he wasn't there because there was a white man over near Cibecue who made some fine whiskey."

Bobcat said, "I don't have any money, besides everytime you get near whiskey I'm the one who ends up in trouble. The last time you drank whiskey I had to shovel out the stables at the fort for a month."

Coyote was insulted and said "You are my cousin. You shouldn't blame me when you get in trouble. I promise I won't do anything. I'm just bored and I haven't had any whiskey for a long time."

Bobcat finally gave in, he knew that he would always lose an argument with Coyote so he rummaged around and found a few silver dollars and some odds and ends to trade and off they went.

They found the whiskey man and traded for a decent jug. They went a short distance away from the white men's camp when Coyote stopped and said "I'm so thirsty! I really need to drink now." Bobcat told him that they were still too close to the white men and that they needed to go further before they stopped to drink. Coyote already had the jug opened and was guzzling down whiskey.

He finally stopped to take a breath and remembered that his cousin Bobcat was there, so he passed the jug. Before Bobcat could even take a sip he said:
"I love whiskey. It makes me feel like hollerin'."

Bobcat took a little sip and said "Don't holler cousin. It will make the white men come and they'll be all mad because you are making noise."

Coyote said "What's the use of drinking any whiskey if you can't have a little holler? Look up there in sky cousin. See that moon? See how lonely the Mooooo- oooo- oooo- oooooooooonnnnnnnnn is? I just want the moon to know that she's not alone. That's all."

Bobcat knew that there wasn't any arguing with Coyote, he figured if he was going to get any whiskey at all before the trouble came he better quit talking and get drinking, so he said "Go ahead and holler cousin, but try not to wake all the white people in the territory up."

Coyote hollered. Then he hollered some more. When he was done hollerin' at the moon he started hollerin' at the stars, one by one, naming them before he hollered.

Pretty soon there were angry, sleepy eyed white men all around them. Coyote was too drunk to notice but Bobcat wasn't. He took one last pull off the whiskey jug, then he threw it at one of the white men and jumped right over them and ran home really fast.

The white men put their chains on Coyote and took him to the fort where the soldiers put him in their stockade. His head hurt, the wasn't anyone to talk to, nothing to do and he only had one window to look out of.

After a few days had passed he saw through the window that Bobcat had brought in a string of horses to the soldier fort. One of them was his very own favorite horse, Cho'osh (gonorrhea). He started throwing things out of the window to catch Bobcat's attention. Pretty soon Bobcat came over to stand under the window. Coyote said "It's bad enough that you abandoned your cousin to be arrested by the white men, but then you steal my favorite horse to give to the soldiers. You make our mothers cry you're so mean and bad to me."

Bobcat said "Everybody knows that only people with big horse medicine like yours are able to ride that spotted devil Cho'osh. I figured that when the soldiers are tired of trying to deal with him I could tell them how you have big horse medicine and that you can make the horse into a good army horse. Then they might just let you go."

Coyote thought about that for a while and said "I'm still mad at you."

Cho'osh was keeping the soldiers busy and the fort doctor too. Bobcat finally went to the sergeant and told him about Coyote having horse medicine, he said that horses do things for Coyote because he knows their language. Two more soldiers went to the doctor with broken bones before the sergeant figured out that it was worth giving Coyote a chance.

Coyote made a big deal about walking up to Cho'osh and looking at him all around. Then he told the sergeant "I've always found that the smell of a good cigar can be very calming for a horse. Do you have one?"

The sergeant dug around his pockets and found a cigar which he lit and gave to Coyote. Coyote smoked and was walking closer and closer to Ch'osh who was starting to calm down. Coyote whispered "Cho'osh my old friend, I need your help, I need to you start acting crazy for a little bit."

Cho'osh reared up and pawed the air right in front of Coyote's face. Coyote didn't flinch even a little bit. He just stood there smoking the cigar. Then he walked over to the sergeant and said "The horse says that your water here is filthy. It's not fit to piss in, much less drink. He says that he likes a little beer now and then." The sergeant had heard of horses who drank a little beer now and then and sent one of the soldiers to fetch a bucket of it. When the beer came Coyote told Cho'osh to keep with the crazy act a little longer. Cho'osh took a little sip of the beer then he reared up at Coyote and knocked the whole bucket over. Coyote went to the sergeant and said "The horse says that it's rude and stupid to drink alone. He will only drink if I have some with him." The sergeant sent a soldier to bring back two buckets of beer.

Coyote and Cho'osh stood there calmly drinking their beer. Coyote made a big show of checking out the horse's feet and saddle rig the soldiers had put on Cho'osh. He went over to the sergeant again and said "The horse told me that he's ashamed for people to see him in that breaking saddle. He said it hurts his feelings to have something that shabby on his back. He said that he saw the soldier captain's saddle in the barn and that it was a beautiful thing. He wants to be the soldier captain's horse and if you put that nice saddle on him he will show you how good he is."

The sergeant sent the soldiers to bring the captain's saddle. It had silver fittings instead of brass and it was truly a beautiful thing. They put the saddle on Cho'osh and Coyote leaped up on his back. They began to prance around the fort. Cho'osh started to really show off. Every now and then Coyote would lean over close to the horse's ears and fill him in on the rest of the plan. The soldiers were very impressed with the way Coyote was handling Cho'osh. The soldier captain came out of his office to watch. The sergeant told the captain how Coyote was training that beautiful horse especially for him. The captain was so impressed he sent out for some beers for all the soldiers. After a little bit Coyote rode over to where the sergeant was drinking his beer and said "The horse says that he would feel even better if someone would go to the trading post and get that silver and turquoise bridle. The one with the nice braided horsehair reins. When that's on he wants to give the soldier captain a really nice ride around the town to show off for the pretty girls."

The sergeant sent for the bridle and they put it on Cho'osh. When the soldier captain got up on his back though, Cho'osh just stood there still. Then he snorted real loud and stomped his feet a couple times. Coyote told the sergeant, "The horse says that the bit you have in tastes like pigshit. He says that the trader has a nice silver one in his window. He wants the silver bit."

They got the silver bit on and Cho'osh started to prance around the fort with the captain on his back. The captain was very happy. Coyote told the captain "The horse says that he wants to ride around the town and show off for the pretty girls." The captain wanted to show off too. He gave the order to the men at the fort's gate and they opened it up wide. The captain went off riding through the town. Everybody came out to watch the show, the sergeant was so happy and busy thinking about all the good things the captain was going to do for him that he didn't even notice when Coyote and Bobcat went right along with him through the gate.

As soon as Cho'osh saw that Coyote was outside the fort's gate he dumped the soldier captain into the mud and ran over to them. Coyote and Bobcat both jumped up on his back and they went off like a flash.

They dropped Bobcat off at his house and Coyote thought it would a good idea if he went down to the Dragoons to visit his Chiricauhua cousins. Bobcat gave Coyote the money he had gotten from the soldiers for the horses, he said "It's only fair, they were your horses anyway." He had been riding for a few days when Cho'osh told him that they were being followed by some soldiers.

Coyote thought real fast and started to tie all the soldier money up in the branches of a big tree. Then he found himself a great big rock. The soldiers came riding up and Coyote told them "I'm tired of this place. There's nothing to do. This stupid tree doesn't grow any nuts or peaches. All that happens is these stupid paper things. Every day at noon I come here and throw a rock at the tree. I keep hoping that something good to eat will shake down but all that I get is this paper stuff."

The soldier in charge asked Coyote if that was his tree. Coyote said "It has been my family's tree for many generations. It used to give peaches to my grandfather, then it gave nuts to my mother. Now all it gives me is paper. I hate that tree."

The soldier told Coyote that he would trade for the tree. Coyote said "Ok, I'll just try one more time to get some nuts or some peaches out of it and if all I get is the paper stuff I'll trade you the tree for those two pack mules of yours."

Coyote threw the big rock at the tree and it shook and shook. All the money he had put up in the branches fell down. Coyote started cussing a blue streak while he gathered up the money and started to stick it in his saddlebags. He told the soldier "You can have that stupid tree. I'm going to go up on the rim country to do some hunting. I will use this stupid paper to light fires and wipe my ass."

Then he took the pack mules and rode off. Cho'osh didn't like mules at all. He was always teasing them and making them mad enough to bray and kick all the time. Coyote was getting real tired of this but he knew he had Cho'osh to thank for his good fortune so he just kept his big mouth shut for once. After a while they met a miner who had a burro and Coyote traded both of the mules, their packs and the contents of the packs for the miner's burro and a sack of gold dust. They rode off a little way and Coyote started to laugh and laugh. Cho'osh asked him what was so funny and Coyote said "That miner is really stupid. There wasn't anything in those soldier packs but uniforms and sacks of flour. All the whiskey is in the burro's panniers. I snuck it out while he was looking the mules over."

They kept riding, but Cho'osh was getting real tired of having the burro tagging along. He told Coyote "The whiskey is almost all gone, let's get rid of that burro to your Chiricauhua cousins and go hunting."

Coyote thought for a while and came up with a plan. Right before they got to the Chiricauhua camp he took a couple of the big money bills and rolled them up real tight. Then he stuck the rolled up bills up the burro's butt. When Coyote's cousins came up he hauled off and kicked the burro right in the stomach. Poof! Out shot the money. Coyote told his cousins "This is such a stupid burro. Every five miles or so I have to stop and kick this stuff out of his butt. I'll trade you this burro for a jug of good whiskey and two good rifles. I want to go hunting but I don't want to take this burro with us. He's noisy and no good for nothing. Can you help me out cousin?"

Coyote's cousins ran fast and got a big jug of good whiskey and two brand new rifles. Coyote handed over the burro's rope and said "You just walk him for five or so miles and give him a good kick, then that paper stuff will shoot out of his butt and he'll be good for another five miles of work." Then Coyote rode off to go hunting on the back of Cho'osh. He was laughing so loud that the canyons echoed like crazy people lived there or something.