Lyn Horner is back with more Navajo teaching tales… this time she writes of Coyote, a creature dear to Stuart and I as we worked with Coyote on the first book in our Lore Weavers series, An Imperious Impulse: Coyote Tales.
If you have folk tales to share from your homeland,why not drop me an email and have them featured here as part of the Living Lore series. Please see the end of this post for details.
Coyote is one of the most revered figures in Navajo mythology, representing the importance of harmony and order. A trickster who is always causing trouble and getting into trouble, Coyote’s ceremonial name is Áłtsé hashké which means “first scolder.” He appears in creation myths, teaching stories, and healing ceremonies. Here are two Navajo Coyote stories.
Coyote and Rabbit
A Teaching Story
One day Coyote was out walking in the forest. He saw Rabbit and started to chase him. When Rabbit ran in a hole, Coyote said, “I’ll get you out of that hole. Just let me think.” Coyote sat down to think.
“Now I know. I’ll get you out. I’ll get weeds and put them in the hole. I’ll set fire to them. Then you will come out,” he said.
Rabbit laughed. “No, I will not come out, my cousin. I like weeds. I’ll eat them.”
“Do you eat milkweeds?” asked Coyote. “I’ll get milkweeds.”
“Yes, I like milkweeds. “I’ll eat the milkweeds,” said Rabbit.
“Do you eat foxtail grass?” asked Coyote. “I’ll get foxtail grass.”
“Yes, I like foxtail grass. “I’ll eat foxtail grass,” said Rabbit.
“Do you eat rabbit brush?” asked Coyote. “I’ll get rabbit brush.”
“Rabbit brush? I like rabbit brush best of all. I’ll eat the rabbit brush, too,” said Rabbit.
“I know,” said Coyote. “Piñon pitch.”
Rabbit looked sad. “You will kill me. I do not eat piñon pitch,” said Rabbit.
Coyote was happy to hear that. He ran from one piñon tree to another gathering piñon pitch. He put the piñon pitch in the hole and set fire to it. He bent low and blew on the fire.
“Come closer,” said Rabbit. “Blow harder.”
Coyote came closer and blew harder.
“I’m nearly dead,” said Rabbit. “Come closer! Blow a little harder!”
Coyote came closer and blew harder. He shut his eyes and blew even harder.
Rabbit turned and kicked hard. The fire flew in Coyote’s face. Rabbit ran away, laughing very hard.
Coyote Helps Create Man
A Creation Myth
In the beginning Great Grandfather Spirit had finished creating the Earth and all its animals, and he was pleased. But after a time, the animals started fighting over who would be the leader of all the other animals.
Coyote did not like the fighting, so he asked Great Grandfather Spirit to create a man and woman to rule over all the animals of the Earth. Great Grandfather Spirit loved the idea and went to work right away making a man and a woman. However, he had trouble choosing their images. Coyote came to see how the creations were coming along. When he saw Great Grandfather Spirit’s problem, he magically turned himself into a man. The creator like this and went ahead and made the man in the image Coyote had shown him.
Once he created man out of the Earth, Great Grandfather Spirit blew life into him and promised to make him a mate. He started making an image that looked exactly like the man. Seeing this, Coyote said, “No, no, Great Grandfather, Man will not find a woman who looks like himself attractive. Here is what a woman should look like.” Using his magic again, he transformed into a woman. Great Grandfather Spirit studied this image and got busy creating a woman out of the Earth. She turned out looking just like the image Coyote had showed him.
Great Grandfather Spirit blew life into the woman, and Man and Creator said this was good. The Creator told Man and Woman they were now leaders of the Earth and to treat the land and all who dwell on it like family because they all come from Mother Earth. He thanked Coyote for his help and to show his thanks, he gave Coyote more magical powers than any other animal.
Sources: Navajo Coyote Tales collected by William Morgan
About the author
Lyn Horner resides in Fort Worth, Texas – “Where the West Begins” – with her husband and a pair of very spoiled cats. Trained in the visual arts, Lyn worked as a fashion illustrator and art instructor before she took up writing. She loves crafting passionate love stories, both historical and contemporary. Lyn also enjoys reading, gardening, genealogy, visiting with family and friends, and cuddling her furry, four-legged children.
The author’s Texas Devlins series blends authentic Old West settings, steamy romance and a glimmer of the supernatural. This series has earned multiple awards and nominations, including Crowned Heart reviews and a Rone Award nomination from InD’Tale Magazine.
Lyn is now racing to finish her paranormal romantic suspense series, Romancing the Guardians. These books combine her trademark flashes of psychic phenomena with Irish folklore, chilling apocalyptic prophesies and captivating, far-flung settings. Along the way, readers are treated to thunderous action, terrifying suspense and sizzling romance.
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Overview of the series so far: There are seven Guardians, each possessing a psychic gift and a precious scroll containing a secret prophecy handed down from ancient Irish seers. Not to be revealed until mankind is ready to listen, the prophesies are in danger of being seized by vicious “Hellhounds” who want to use them for their own evil ends.
Rescuing Lara (Book 1), winner in the 2015 Paranormal Romance Guild Reviewers Choice Awards, is set in Ireland and Texas. It stars Lara Spenser, the injured niece of the murdered high Guardian, and Connor O’Shea, a hunky ex-Special Forces soldier Lara hires as her bodyguard. Lethal villains, hot romance and a few surprises make this a wild ride.
Decoding Michaela (Book 2) features a heroine who can read minds. Stunned by news that her revered leader, the High Guardian, has been murdered, Michaela Peterson is attracted to Dev Medina, the handsome messenger, but fears he may be out to steal the scroll she guards. Can Dev win her trust and unlock her heart before the Hellhounds capture her?
Capturing Gabriel (Book 3) is set in Colombia. Gabriel Valdez refuses to believe the feisty Navajo beauty who tracks him down with a message to meet the other Guardians in the United States. Instead, he takes her prisoner. Josie doesn’t count on falling for him. Gabriel doesn’t intend to trust her with his secrets or his love, but the heart has a mind of its own.
Touching Charlotte (Book 4) Introduces Charlotte Dixon, an empathic Guardian, and Tristan Jameson, an ex-NYC cop burdened by grief. He needs healing and love, but how can a man romance a woman who can’t stand to be touched? Breaking through Charlotte’s barriers while protecting her from Hellhounds proves his ultimate challenge.
Profiling Nathan (Book 5)
The fifth book in the series is a chilling murder mystery/sexy romance. Guardian and ex-con Nathan Maguire just wants to make a living inking tattoos in Tampa, Florida, but when FBI profiler Talia Werner walks into his shop, she turns his life upside down. To save her pretty neck, he must help catch a serial killer. His deadly psychic gift may come in handy.
Beguiling Delilah (Book 6)
She’s a sexy genius in a race with him across France.
Delilah Moreau, the glamorous French Guardian, possesses a miraculous mathematical talent that provides her a privileged life, but it can’t give her what she truly wants: lasting love. Leon Tseda, a Navajo whose homeland serves as a hidden gathering place for the Guardians, vows to bring Delilah to safety, thwarting thugs sent to capture her and the valuable scroll she guards. Opening in Paris, the story whisks the pair in a life-and-death chase across France to Nice and Monte Carlo on the breathtaking Côte d’Azur. Both Delilah and Leon have lost loved ones, and they’re no longer youngsters, but they are not too old for a second chance at love. Their journey is fraught with danger, excitement and steamy, mature romance. Will it lead to love – if they live long enough?
He walked away from her once meaning to protect her and broke her heart.
Can she forgive him and overcome his stubborn resistance to love?
Guardian of Danu, Adam Dvorak has the power to make plants grow with a mere touch, but will he allow love to grow? An agronomist teaching better farming methods in a semi-desert region of northern Kenya, he has an accident and ends up in the local hospital where, to his shock, his former love Ellie Graham is a nurse. He’d never expected to see her again.
Ellie is equally shocked to see him. How could fate be so cruel, putting her in Adam’s path again? Her bruised heart tells her to avoid him, but circumstances dictate otherwise, and their mutual attraction soon flares to life. Will the temptation to accept Ellie as his mate conquer Adam’s fear for her? The High Guardian’s arrival and the pernicious Hellhounds may force him into a difficult decision as this saga builds toward a climax in the eighth and final book, A Might Chieftain.
Series conclusion, A Mighty Chieftain coming in autumn 2018
Also by Lyn Horner
Psychics in the Old West? Yes indeed! Meet Lyn Horner’s Texas Devlins, a trio of siblings descended from Irish Celtic Druids. Each one is blessed with a rare psychic gift. Available individually or as a box set.
How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?
So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…
Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?
Email me at email@example.com and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.