Coyote and the Hare
by Katharine Berry Judson
Myths and Legends of California and the Old
Sia (New Mexico)
One day Coyote was passing about when he saw Hare sitting before his
house. Coyote thought, "In a minute I will catch you," and he sprang and
Hare cried, "Man Coyote, do not eat me. Wait just a minute; I have
something to tell you—something you will be glad to hear—something
you must hear."
"Well," said Coyote, "I will wait."
"Let me sit at the entrance of my house," said Hare. "Then I can talk to
Coyote allowed Hare to take his seat at the entrance.
Hare said, What are you thinking of, Coyote?
"Nothing," said Coyote.
"Listen, then," said Hare. "I am a hare and I am very much afraid of
people. When they come carrying arrows, I am afraid of them. When they see
me they aim their arrows at me and I am afraid, and oh! how I tremble!"
Hare began trembling violently until he saw Coyote a little off his guard,
then he began to run. It took Coyote a minute to think and then he ran
after Hare, but always a little behind. Hare raced away and soon entered a
house, just in time to escape Coyote. Coyote tried to enter the house but
found it was hard stone. He became very angry.
Coyote cried, "I was very stupid! Why did I allow this Hare to fool me? I
must have him. But this house is so strong, how can I open it?"
Coyote began to work, but after a while he said to himself, "The stone is
so strong I cannot open it."
Presently Hare called, "Man Coyote, how are you going to kill me?"
"I know how," said Coyote. "I will kill you with fire."
"Where is the wood?" asked Hare, for he knew there was no wood at his
"I will bring grass," said Coyote, "and set fire to it. The fire will
enter your house and kill you."
"Oh," said Hare, "but the grass is mine. It is my food; it will not kill
me. It is my friend. The grass will not kill me."
"Then," said Coyote, "I will bring all the trees of the wood and set fire
"All the trees know me," said Hare. "They are my friends. They will not
kill me. They are my food." Coyote thought a minute. Then he said, "I will
bring the gum of the pinon and set fire to that."
Hare said, "Now I am afraid. I do not eat that. It is not my friend."
Coyote rejoiced that he had thought of a plan for getting the hare. He
hurried and brought all the gum he could carry and placed it at the door
of Hare's house and set fire to it. In a short time the gum boiled like
hot grease, and Hare cried,
"Now I know I shall die! What shall I do?" Yet all the time he knew what
he would do.
But Coyote was glad Hare was afraid. After a while Hare called, "The fire
is entering my house," and Coyote answered, "'Blow it out!"
But Coyote drew nearer and blew with all his might to blow the flame into
Hare cried, "You are so close you are blowing the fire on me and I will
soon be burned."
Coyote was so happy that he drew closer and blew harder, and drew still
closer so that his face was very close to Hare's face. Then Hare suddenly
threw the boiling gum into Coyote's face and escaped from his house.
It took Coyote a long time to remove the gum from his face, and he felt
very sorrowful. He said, "I am very, very stupid."