Tonight it is a tale from the Navaho people of Southwestern United
States.. In this time of change and new directions a story of Coyote is
always a great teacher. While Coyote has lots of crazy ideas and never quite
gets it right, he remind us to keep laughing and know that whatever happens,
it is another opportunity to grow.
Coyote and the Stars
Retold by Kathy A. Miles and Charles F. Peters II
A very long time ago, before the two leggeds walked the Earth, the world
was very different from the way it is now. Back then, in the beginning time,
there were no stars in the night sky, and there was no moon. The nights were
very dark, and the animals could not see to walk around and so were always
bumping into each other. Finally they talked and decided to go ask the Great
Spirit for help.
The animals gathered and talked to Great Spirit. They told Great Spirit
that they were grateful for all they had, yet they wanted something else.
They would like to be able to see at night.
Great Spirit nodded and smiled and told the animals "Watch me, little
He then picked up a bright shiny stone from a stream and placed it in the
sky, where it became a star.
"This is the home star," Great Spirit explained, "it does not move, use
it to find your way home when you are lost" (This star is Polaris, the North
Then Great Spirit told the animals to go collect piles of these shiny
stones and carry them up into the sky and make pictures of themselves.
The animals began this task, but soon the little animals grew tired.
After awhile longer, the bigger animals also grew tired.
Back they went to Great Spirit and asked for more help.
"Go to Coyote," Great Spirit said, "tell him to help you."
And so they did. Now Coyote thought he was the wisest and most clever of
all the animals, and he did not want to waste his time helping the other
animals. Still, he also did not want to offend Great Spirit. So coyote told
the animals to leave their stones with him, and he would finish the job for
them. After the animals left, Coyote began thinking of what a grand picture
of himself he would create in the sky,
"It will be better than all the others," he thought. "It will have the
most stones and will be the brightest of all!"
Suddenly Coyote was reminded that he must finish the animals' work.
Coyote did not want to waste a lot of time finishing the pictures of the
other animals. So, hurriedly he snatched up the bag of stones and flung them
up into the air. The stones went here and there, all over. None of the
stones really helped finish the pictures of the other animals. And that is
why not all constellations appear finished, and why some do not look like
the animals they are named after. But, coyote was punished for his
treachery, for in his haste, he forgot to save stones for his own picture!
Coyote was furious and he howled in rage. That is why Coyote howls at night
now, because he cannot see a picture of himself in the night sky!