Coyote Steals the Sun and the Moon
Lizzie Boyd Ford Collection
Illustrated by Frank Campbell
Hxʷupt suxʷčłipm ye spilye, ta stem̓ hec pulsc. y̓e nk̓ʷuʔ hu wičis y̓e mlqnups hec čłpmi t sxʷl̓otqs. iššeʔ kʷen̓t heł čnk̓ʷełc̓eʔ, čxʷeʔełc̓eʔ tam hi kʷen̓t m qs iłnms.
Coyote is a bad hunter who never kills anything. Once he watched Eagle hunting rabbits, catching one after another- more rabbits than he could eat. Coyote thought, “I’ll team up with Eagle so I can have enough meat.” Coyote is always up to something.
"sl̓ax̣t... ceʔkʷ qeʔ šiʔšey̓i qeʔ č̓selm kʷen̓t n̓em qeʔ čxʷʔeyłc̓eʔ."
"huy, ƛ̓uʷ." hoy, šiʔšeʔy̓iʔ. mlqnups čxʷeʔełčeʔ t sxʷl̓otqs hu łu spilye, t t̓t̓ac̓eʔ, t nč̓el̓xʷičn̓ łu pʔišeʔ hi cʷcʷeyl̓eʔxʷ putiʔ, c̓y̓uʔ hec čšršr̓ew̓s łu sp̓q̓n̓iʔ, hu łu skʷkʷʔec sp̓q̓n̓iʔ. sl̓ax̣t spiye cuys mlqnups, mił hi čč̓eyl̓eʔxʷ, x̣ʷl̓ šey̓ hu ta stem̓ skʷnnʔun. tl̓ čen̓ m qeʔ tiʔxʷł c̓ek̓ʷsšn̓? mlqnups cuti čn te łuʔ č̌ snč̓l̓xʷtin hu hi p̓p̓exʷ. huy, qeʔ s k̓ʷʔis ƛ̓uʔƛ̓ʔusm.
“Friend,” Coyote said to Eagle, “we should hunt together. Two can catch more than one.”
“Why not”!” Eagle said, and so they began to hunt in partnership. Eagle caught many rabbits, but all Coyote caught was some little bugs.
At this time the world was still dark; the sun and moon had not yet been put in the sky. “Friend,” Coyote said to Eagle, “no wonder I can’t catch anything; I can’t see. Do you know where we can get some light?” Eagle said, “I think there’s a little toward the west. Let’s try and find it.”
kʷen̓t šey̓ s tkʷʔuʔt. hoy, hi y̓e nk̓ʷk̓ʷim̓eteʔkʷ, čłt̓uxʷteneʔis mlqnups hu nč̓rip łuʔ spilye. ƛ̓mey̓ hu ta s nƛ̓lletkʷ nt̓ešlš, č̓e hi čƛ̓awč̓c̓eʔ.
And so they went looking for the sun and moon. They came to the Spokane River, which Eagle flew over. Coyote swam, and swallowed so much water that he almost drowned. He crawled out with his fur full of mud, and Eagle asked, “Why don’t you fly like me?”
“You have wings, I just have hair,” Coyote said. “I can’t fly without feathers.”
At last they came to a Teepee where the medicine man happened to be dancing. The people invited Eagle and Coyote to sit down and have something to eat while they watched the sacred dances. Seeing the power of the Medicine Men, Eagle said, “I believe these are the people who have light.”
Coyote nudged Eagle. “Friend, did you see that? They have all the light we need in the big box. Let’s steal it.”
You always want to steal and rob. I say we should just borrow it.”
“They won’t lend it to us.”
“You might be right,” said Eagle, “let’s wait till they finish dancing and then steal it.”
After a while the Medicine men went home to sleep, and Eagle scooped up the large box and flew off. Coyote ran along trying to keep up, panting, his tongue hanging out. Soon he ytelled up to Eagle, “Ho, friend, let me carry the box a little way.”
“No, no,” said Eagle, “you never do anything right.”
He flew on and Coyote ran after him. After a while Coyote shouted again; “Friend, you’re my chief, and its not right for you to carry the box
After a while Coyote shouted again; “Friend, you’re my chief, and its not right for you to carry the box. People will think of me as lazy. Come, give it to me.” No, no you may mess things up as usual. Flew on did “Eagle, ran on did Coyote.”
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They we…nt for a stretch and Coyote yelled again, “Oh… friend, it isn’t right for you to do this, what will people think of us?” “I don’t care what people think, I am going to carry this box.” Again Eagle flew on and again Coyote ran after.
Finally, Coyote had asked four times, “Come on, let me. You are the chief, I am only Coyote, come let me.” Eagle couldn’t stand anymore pestering, four times Coyote asked.
“Since you won’t give up, here is the box, just promise not to open it up.” “No, no, I won’t open it,” said Coyote
So from there Eagle flew with Coyote following who now carries the box. Eagle went out of sight; he couldn’t see Coyote. “I wonder what night looks like,” thought Coyote. “Why shouldn’t I open the box and take a peek so I can see?! Maybe he added some good for himself, that Eagle.”
Coyote opened the lid. Oh no! Eagle put both the Sun and the Moon in this one box, not two, so it would be easier to carry.
He opened the box and suddenly the moon escaped into the sky, flying high. All at once the plants and tree’s leaves all shriveled up and died. It was Winter.
In vain he chased the moon to put it back into the box. No! Meanwhile the sun also came out into the sky and it escaped; the peaches, squash and melons froze.
Eagle flew back, wondering what happened to Coyote who was still gone. “You are a fool! Look what you’ve done; you let loose the sun and the moon and now its cold!”
It began to snow and Coyote shivered. “See…, your teeth are chattering! If it wasn’t for you we would always have Summer, but now we have Winter!”
šey̓ u hoy
That is all
"kʷ heʔpł sčoʔwax̣n, čmiš hu čn heʔpł spum. ta hi yeʔp sqpqpusl̓, ta lčen̓ m č hi qs t̓uxʷt."