Once upon a time, a long ago, a horrible monster
stole all the buffalo from the plains and put them in his mountain
"There," beamed the monster. "I
have enough food to last forever."
Coyote, a wild dog, called all the people and all
the animals together in a great meeting to figure out what they could
do. No one had an idea. They were too afraid of the monster to think
"I scouted the monster," Coyote spoke
up. "He lives with a very small boy."
"We cannot hurt a child," said one of
the people. "Not even to get back our buffalo."
"That is understood," Coyote nodded.
"But I was thinking .... a small boy must be very lonely with no
one love except a horrible monster. I think we should give him a pet
to love. When the chance arises, the pet we send can set the buffalo
All the people and all the animals thought that
was a marvelous idea.
First, they sent Mouse to win the heart of the
small boy. The boy liked Mouse and took him home. But the monster told
the boy to send Mouse away. Next, the people sent Killdeer, a bird.
But the bird fared no better.
Coyote called another meeting. "I
think," Coyote told all the people and all the animals,
"that I must go myself."
That very day, Coyote set out for the monster's
lair. When the boy saw Coyote, his eyes brightened. The boy loved
Coyote immediately and took him home. The monster was very
angry. "Get that mangy dog out of here before I eat you
The boy and Coyote ran out of the lair. The boy
sat down. He tried not to cry, but a tear ran down one cheek. Coyote
licked it away.
"Poor dog," sighed the boy. "I bet
Coyote put back his head and howled. That is the
sound Coyote makes to comfort you.
The buffalo heard Coyote's cry. It frightened
them. They began shuffling and stamping their feet the way buffalo do
when they are nervous.
The more the boy cried, and the more Coyote
howled to make him feel better, the more frightened the buffalo
became. One buffalo became so afraid that he began to run. The other
buffalo ran after him. They ran and ran until they had scattered all
over the plains. The monster ran after the buffalo.
While the monster was gone, Coyote took the small
boy to live with the people.
The monster hunted and hunted, but the buffalo
had scattered without a trace. Late that night, when the monster
returned to his lair, young warriors were waiting. They killed the
monster, much to the relief of one small boy and all of the people and
all of the animals.
That is why the elders say it is Coyote to whom
we owe the buffalo. Even today, the people still give thanks to clever
Coyote. If it had not been for the smart head and warm heart of one
little dog, that horrible monster would have kept all the buffalo for