Coyote and Beetle

Coyote went away from there and came to a beetle. He thought he was going to eat this beetle. He tried to approach it from the side where its head was, but every time he got near, it put its head down and tipped up with its back toward him. So they went turning around in a circle this way.

The beetle told him, “Don’t bother me. If you bother me I’m going to kick you and break all your teeth.”

Coyote said, “Oh, why shouldn’t I eat you up? You look so pretty that I guess I’ll eat you anyway.”

“No, don’t bother me. You go on your way. Don’t bother me. I’m looking down through the earth. Someone is speaking to me from under the earth. That is why my head is down.”

Coyote looked down. He couldn’t see anything. He couldn’t see through the earth.

Coyote said, “I don’t see anything. How can you see through the earth?”

“Because I have power.”

“Teach me how. Then I’ll be able to see through anything.”

The beetle said, “You have to go off and get some ashes and paint yourself all black like me. I’ll wait for you.”

Coyote knew where there were some ashes; there were some where he had burned that log. Coyote ran over there and painted himself black. He was happy and excited.

Meanwhile the beetle hid himself in the grass.

Coyote painted himself all black. His face was blackened too. He came back. He couldn’t find the beetle.

“Maybe I’m at the wrong place. Maybe I’ve lost the place.” He looked for his own tracks. “I was standing here. No, that’s someone else’s tracks.”

He walked all over. He followed all the tracks he saw. He tracked himself back to the place where he had painted himself. Then he gave up.

“Oh, a lot of people have been around here. Anyway, that power is no good. A good many people probably know that by now.”

So he gave up.

*

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