Coyote Loses the Power
to Obtain Food

Coyote went out again, and he saw another man. This man had power to make anything he saw fall into his hand. He would get food this way and then eat it. He could do this with anything.

He didn’t see Coyote coming. Coyote watched him. The man was sitting in the shade. When he wanted something to eat he just asked for it, and it fell into his hands. Coyote watched very carefully. He was hungry. He wished he had that trick too.

He came out to the man. The man had something to eat in his hand. He felt sorry for that coyote, so he called Coyote to him. He gave Coyote something to eat.

Coyote asked then, “Who is up there? How is it that the food drops into your hand?”

“Oh, I have power; that’s why. I used to live up there. I just came down to show the people where all the fruit comes from. That’s why I’m doing this.”

Then Coyote pleaded with that man. “If you want the people to learn this, you must teach me too, for I’d like to have something good to eat wherever I go.”

So this man taught it to Coyote. “But you must be careful,” he said. “You must not ask more than three times a day. If you ask every moment, they are going to stop feeding you.”

Coyote went away. He asked for food at once. What he asked for fell immediately into his hands from above. Coyote was very much pleased with the food he had. Every few minutes he asked, even though he had had enough. He was already full. He would take a bite and throw the rest away. He kept asking for fruit and bread, anything he could think of.

Then he said, “I want all foods, all fruits.”

After a while it was just as though a cloud gathered above his head. Then it began to rain fruits. All kinds fell, even watermelons. They fell on his head. When the watermelon hit him on the head, it splashed all over. He tried to protect himself but could do nothing. This happened on a plain and there were no trees under which he could find shelter. Coyote jumped around trying to dodge the rain of fruit.

“That’s enough! That’s enough! I want no more!” he cried. But it didn’t stop for a long while.

Finally it stopped. He walked away from that place. He didn’t try to pick up the fruit on the ground.

The next day he was hungry. He asked for something to eat. Nothing came. No one dropped anything into his hands. Then he called for different foods, but nothing happened and no one answered. He called for something four times, but no answer came.

He gave up. He went looking for the man who had taught him.

He met him again. He said, “I’m hungry. You must teach me again.”

“I taught you once. I told you to be careful. I can’t teach you again. You just wasted what you asked for. I can’t help you again.”

*

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