Tales of the North American Indians
The Offended Rolling Stone
Coyote was going along, and as he had not had anything to eat for some time he was very hungry. In the evening he went to a high hill and sat down. Early the next morning he started again. He came to a big round stone. He took out his knife and said: “Grandfather, this knife I give to you as a present. I want you to help me to get something to eat.”
Coyote went over a hill, and there in the bottom was a village of people. He went into the village and he could see meat hanging on poles everywhere in the camp. He went into one of the tipis and the people in the tipi roasted a piece of meat for him. just as he was about to taste of the meat he thought of his knife and said: “Why did I give my knife to that stone? I should have kept it and then I should have been able to cut the meat without having to pull it with my hands.” He asked to be excused and went out. He went to where the stone was. He said: “Grandfather, I will have to take back this knife, for I have found a village of people with plenty of meat.” He went over the hills and into the bottom, but there was no village there. Coyote went back and returned the knife to the stone. He went back over the hills and there saw the village and he entered one of the tipis. They placed before him some meat. He began to chew the meat. He thought of his knife. He went back to the stone, and as he took the knife the stone said: “Why do you take the knife away from me? I am now going to kill you.”
Then the stone ran after the Coyote. Coyote ran and came to a den of Bears. He told the Bears that a person was running after him and he asked them to help him. The Bears said that they were not afraid of anything. They asked what the thing was, and he said it was the stone. The Bears said: “Keep on running. We can not do anything with the stone.” The stone was close to Coyote when he came up to another den of Mountain-Lions. They also told Coyote to pass on, as they could not do anything for him. After a while Coyote came to a Buffalo standing all alone, but when the Buffalo found out that it was the stone running after Coyote he told him to pass on.
At last Coyote came to a place where the Bull-Bats stayed. Coyote said: “Grandchildren, there is a person running after me.” The Bull-Bats then said: “Enter our lodge and remain there.” When the stone came rolling up it said: “Where is that person who came here?” The Bull-Bats did not reply and the stone became angry. Then the Bull-Bats said: “He is here and we are going to protect him.” The Bull-Bats flew up and then down, and they expelled flatus on the stone. Every time they did this a piece broke off from the stone. The largest Bull-Bat came down and expelled flatus right on the center and broke the stone into pieces. Then the Coyote was told to come out and go on his way.
Coyote started off, and when he got over the hills he turned around and yelled at the Bull-Bats and said: “All you big-nosed funny things, how you did behave to that stone.” The Bull-Bats heard it and did not pay any attention, but he kept on making fun of them. Then the Bull-Bats flew up in a group, and came down, and with their wings they got the stones together again and started it to rolling, and said: “Go and kill that fellow.” The stone then ran after Coyote and Coyote tried to get away, but he could not. At last he gave out. He jumped over a steep bank and the stone was right behind him. As Coyote struck the bottom, the stone fell on him and killed him. This is why we used to find dead coyotes in the hills and valleys.