Coyote Plays Tricks on Owl;
The Vomit Exchange

In those days the people were much afraid of the owl, for the owl had arrows and had a club too.

It was about noon when the owl was coming down from the mountains to the plain. He was coming among the trees.

He was saying, “Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo! I’m hunting for man.”

He met Coyote.

Coyote said, “Where are you going?”

“I am hunting for a man.”

Coyote said, “Let us vomit, and the one who can vomit meat of humans is a real man. Let’s both shut our eyes and vomit. I’ll vomit in my left hand, and you vomit in my right hand.”

As soon as Owl had shut his eyes, Coyote crossed his hands. Coyote vomited nothing but grasshoppers. Owl vomited the meat of all people. Then Coyote changed his hands back again.

Then Coyote said, “Now open your eyes and see what we have done.”

Owl looked at what was before him. “Where did I ever eat grasshoppers? I must have drunk them with my water. I sometimes see things in the water but I swallow it anyway.”

Coyote said, “Well, I’ll teach you to be a good runner. I’m always teaching people things.”

He took Owl out to a smooth place.

“I’m a man,” Coyote said. “I ate the people. I did it because I can run so fast. I’ll teach you how to be like me. You must take off your leggings. You must shut your eyes while I take them off for you. But first watch me.”

So while Owl looked he ran and ran at his top speed. “See how fast I run?” he said.

So he cut the flesh off Owl’s legs.

He said to Owl, “While I’m cutting you must say, ‘Aiii, aiii.’”

He cut off all the flesh, leaving just the bone. Then he made Owl sit down facing the east. He brought two stones.

He said, “You must lay your arrows and bow aside, for they are sometimes poison. They make it painful.”

Now Coyote put one of the two big stones under Owl’s legs, and one he held in his hand. He had Owl put his legs on top of the first stone. Then, while Owl’s eyes were closed, he hit the bones and broke both legs.

This time Owl was angry. The quiver was far away and he couldn’t get to it. But he had not given Coyote his club. He started to hit at Coyote with his club. He threw it at Coyote. Coyote dodged and it missed him.

Owl called, “Club, come back to me.”

It came back. Three times he hurled it at Coyote and missed but got his club back every time.

The fourth time Coyote shouted, “Club, stay where you are thrown!”

The club failed to return to Owl that time.

Coyote said, “After this you must live in the shade. Don’t build yourself a home like a man any more.”

That is why Owl’s legs are thin today. Coyote cut all the flesh off. Coyote took the arrows and bow and went off then.


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