Saturday, July 20, 2024

An Apache Story

The Coyote and Turkey

This is one of our traditional teaching stories of the Apache people. I’m sure that other American Indian Nations throughout the Americas may have similar ones. This one is about Coyote and the turkeys. We call a coyote “Ma-bee-see” in our language. So one day, on a beautiful, beautiful sunny day, Coyote was out running around, looking to see what there was to do and what he could find to eat. Because Coyote is always hungry, he’s hungry up here for knowledge (point to your head) and for understanding. He’s hungry down in his stomach for food. So, in this case, he was really hungry for something to eat. And he kept running around and walking carefully and sneaking up on mice and rats. And anything that he could think of to try and eat. Because as sometimes I feel I am starving. Nothing, he found nothing. He found absolutely nothing. And he kept getting hungrier and hungrier and hungrier. And then off at a distance, he saw a tall stand of trees, and he thought, hmm, maybe squirrels. So he took off running. He didn’t find the squirrels. But way up on top of one of the trees, he saw a fluff ball of feathers, and it was a turkey. So he looks up and says, “Turkey, Turkey, I see you up there. I see you up there; I can see you shaking. Don’t worry, Turkey. You don’t have to worry because, well, if you don’t come down, I’ll knock the tree down because I’m hungry. And you know, I’m hungry. And when I get hungry, I can do lots of things. Now Turkey didn’t know that Coyote couldn’t knock the tree down. But he was really scared and really shaking. His feathers were fluttering like in a strong wind. “Turkey. Turkey, I see you up there. You better come down.” Turkey wasn’t moving. So Coyote told him, “Turkey, I don’t want you to fly because if you take our flying, I will never be able to catch you (Make a turkey sound – wagogo ), and Turkey took off with a thunder of feathers. And he flew and flew and flew and flew and Coyote ran and ran and ran looking up thinking, isn’t he ever going to fall so I can eat? Well, Turkey finally did fall down; Coyote jumped on him and started to eat. And oh, he was enjoying himself so much. And guess what, all of a sudden over his left ear. He thought he saw a man with a stick club coming up to get him. So he took off running and running and running. He was scared, and then he’d look over to the left side. And sure enough, there was a club. Finally, he ran so far and so fast and got so tired. He rolled over on his back and put his legs up. Most of the four-leggeds do this when they give up to an enemy. That’s what they do. But there was no man. And he looked around to the right. And he looked up, and he looked down, and he looked to the left, which is where the club was. And there was a big turkey tail feather right by where he had been laying. So what had happened when he started you eat the turkey. He wound up with a turkey tail feather stuck behind his ear. And that’s what he thought was a man chasing him with a club. So that is one of our traditional teaching stories. A HO as told by Gregory Gomez, 09-26-2020