Rabbits, detail, 1986, Jeanne Begay, ET513.C-19
Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Coyote and Rabbit Story

One day Ma’ii (Coyote) was out walking when he saw Gah (Rabbit). He started to chase him, but Rabbit ran into a hole. Coyote said, “I’ll get you out of that hole. Let me think.” Coyote sat and thought and said, “I know how I’ll get you out! I’ll put weeds in the hole and set them on fire.” But Rabbit laughed and said, “No, I won’t come out. I like weeds and I’ll eat them.” Coyote said, “Then I’ll use piñon pitch.” And Rabbit said, “No, you’ll kill me. I don’t eat piñon pitch.” Coyote used the piñon pitch to start a fire. He bent low and blew on the fire. Rabbit said, “Come closer; blow harder.” And Coyote came closer and blew harder. Just then, Rabbit turned and kicked hard. The fire flew into Coyote’s face and Rabbit ran away laughing. The Diné (Navajo) tell Coyote stories like this one to youth on winter nights, an intimate activity that shapes young minds. The details relayed in the stories depend on the psychological, social, and spiritual maturity of the audience.