Myths and Tales from the San Carlos Apache
Coyote and the Jack-Rabbit People
Long ago Coyote said: “I wish I was walking along with it moist under my feet.” He went on with it moist under his feet as he had wished. “I wish I was walking with water to my hip,” he then said. The water came to his hips as he wished it would. “I wish I were swimming across with only my back above the water,” he wished again. It happened that way.
When he was on the other side of the river he lay down as if he were dead, near the place where the people came for water. Soon a Jack-Rabbit-Girl came for water. She filled her vessel and started to return to the camp when she saw Coyote lying there dead. She began shouting, “The person you hate to see is lying here dead.” The rabbits all came running there and danced. They sent word inviting everyone to come to the dance. All kinds of living people came there, among them Skunk.
When all the people were dancing, Skunk sent his fluid into their eyes so that the people, one after another, fell down dead, but Coyote ran off. Skunk pulled the bodies together and made a round pile of them. Coyote suggested to Skunk that the one who should beat in a race around the small standing near, should eat them all. They, two, started to race around the hill but soon Coyote lay down right where he was and Skunk ran on by himself. While he was doing that Coyote ran back and ate all the flesh, leaving only the bones. When he had eaten them, he started to run around the hill. When Skunk arrived there was nothing there but a pile of bones. As Coyote came running Skunk inquired of him what had happened to the meat that had been piled there. Coyote replied, that the nature of this place was Meat Separates, and that it was food for poor people. Skunk threw the bones away and accused Coyote of having eaten the meat. As evidence of this, he called attention to the condition of Coyote’s belly as he lay there. Then they were angry at each other.