Native Languages of the Americas: Apache Legends and Myths
This is our index of Apache folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have organized our Native American folktales section
by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same
legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to
each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Apache tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the
Pueblo tribes are very similar to Apache folklore.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Apache legend for this page, please let us know.
Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Apache mythology.
Coyote (or Fox):
Coyote is the most common trickster figure among the Apache tribes (though in some
communities, the same stories attributed to Coyote instead feature Fox as the hero.)
Like the trickster figures of other Southwestern tribes, Coyote/Fox is occasionally helpful to humans,
but at other times his impetuous and foolish behavior causes trouble for everyone around him.
Frequently he is killed through his own recklessness, but always comes back to life afterwards.
Like other legendary Apache beings, Coyote is sometimes described as having human form,
and other times animal form.
Big Owl (or Owl-Man):
A malicious and dangerous giant often used as a "bogeyman" in children's stories.
Like other legendary Apache beings, Big Owl is sometimes described as having human
form (in this case a man-eating ogre) and other times animal form (in this case a
horned owl large enough to carry off a child.)