The Fable Of The Animals

Karok (near Klamath River,. Cal.)

A great many hundred snows ago, Kareya, sitting on the Sacred Stool,

created the world. First, he made the fishes in the Big Water, then the

animals on the green land, and last of all, Man! But at first the

animals were all alike in power. No one knew which animals should be

food for others, and which should be food for man. Then Kareya ordered

them all to meet in one place, that Man might give each his rank and his

power. So the animals all met together one evening, when the sun was

set, to wait overnight for the coming of Man on the next morning. Kareya

also commanded Man to make bows and arrows, as many as there were

animals, and to give the longest one to the animal which was to have the

most power, and the shortest to the one which should have least power.

So he did, and after nine sleeps his work was ended, and the bows and

arrows which he had made were very many.

Now the animals, being all together, went to sleep, so they might be

ready to meet Man on the next morning. But Coyote was exceedingly

cunning - he was cunning above all the beasts. Coyote wanted the longest

bow and the greatest power, so he could have all the other animals for

his meat. He decided to stay awake all night, so that he would be first

to meet Man in the morning. So he laughed to himself and stretched his

nose out on his paw and pretended to sleep. About midnight he began to

be sleepy. He had to walk around the camp and scratch his eyes to keep

them open. He grew more sleepy, so that he had to skip and jump about to

keep awake. But he made so much noise, he awakened some of the other

animals. When the morning star came up, he was too sleepy to keep his

eyes open any longer. So he took two little sticks, and sharpened them

at the ends, and propped open his eyelids. Then he felt safe. He watched

the morning star, with his nose stretched along his paws, and fell

asleep. The sharp sticks pinned his eyelids fast together.

The morning star rose rapidly into the sky. The birds began to sing. The

animals woke up and stretched themselves, but still Coyote lay fast

asleep. When the sun rose, the animals went to meet Man. He gave the

longest bow to Cougar, so he had greatest power; the second longest he

gave to Bear; others he gave to the other animals, giving all but the

last to Frog. But the shortest one was left. Man cried out, "What animal

have I missed?" Then the animals began to look about and found Coyote

fast asleep, with his eyelids pinned together. All the animals began to

laugh, and they jumped upon Coyote and danced upon him. Then they led

him to Man, still blinded, and Man pulled out the sharp sticks and gave

him the shortest bow of all. It would hardly shoot an arrow farther than

a foot. All the animals laughed.

But Man took pity on Coyote, because he was now weaker even than Frog.

So at his request, Kareya gave him cunning, ten times more than before,

so that he was cunning above all the animals of the wood. Therefore

Coyote was friendly to Man and his children, and did many things for


The Extortionate Sentry The Face Of The Manito facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail