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Ohlone Coyote Stories

One day Coyote saw a feather floating on the water. As it reached the island, it turned into an Eagle, which then spread its wings. The Eagle then spread its wings and flew over to Coyote. Later Coyote and Eagle were joined by Hummingbird. This then became the trinity of gods who created the race of people.

Eagle told Coyote that he should find a wife and have children so they could populate the world. But Coyote did not know the facts of life so he had many problems with this situation.

"How do you make children?" asked Coyote. Eagle did not reply. He wanted to see what Coyote would do. Coyote considered trying to make children in the knee. Eagle sat back and laughed at him. Next Coyote tried to make children in the elbow, then in the eyebrow and finally in the back of the neck. Eagle could not keep quiet anymore. He was laughing so hard, that Coyote looked at him with anger.

Hummingbird was watching Coyote's attempts at making children and could not refrain from laughing also. Finally, he told Coyote "This place will be good. Try the belly."

Then Coyote went off with the woman and said "Louse me." The girl found a wood tick on him. She was afraid and threw it away. Then Coyote made her look for the louse. "Look for it , then eat it!"

Then the girl put it into her mouth. "Swallow it." he said. Then she swallowed the louse and became pregnant.

Coyote did not like his first wife, so he later found another wife and had five children by her. These children became the five tribes. He told them to go out and populate the world. They did and founded the five languages.

Now Coyote gave the people nets to carry. He also gave them bows and arrows to kill the rabbits. He said "You will have acorn mush for your food. You will gather acorns and you have acorn bread to eat. Go down to the ocean and gather seaweed so that you may eat it with your acorn mush and acorn bread. Gather it when the tide is low and kill the rabbits. When there is low tide you can pick abalones and mussels to eat. When there is nothing else to eat you can gather buckeyes for food. If the acorns are bitter, wash them out. Gather grass seeds for pinole, carrying them on your back in a basket. Look for these things of which I have told you. I have shown you how to gather food, and even though it rains a long time, people will not die of hunger. Now I am getting old and I cannot walk. Alas for me."

The animal gods of sacred time retreated but still were part of everyday life.

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More stories to read:

 Native American animal stories
 Legends about Coyote
 Folklore about the first people

Learn more about:

 Ohlone mythology
 Ohlone language
 Ohlone culture

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