Bringing Light Into the World

Story 3 – How Coyote Got Fire for the People

A long time ago there was no fire. No fire to warm by, no fire to cook with, and no fire to see in the dark night.

The animals wanted fire. They knew it was a power that could help the world and help them in their lives. The animals asked Coyote to help them get fire. He was the smartest and craftiest of them all. They knew Coyote could get them fire.

Coyote heard about three witch sisters who had fire in their house high up in the mountains. He had a plan to get the fire from them. They were dangerous beings and would surely kill Coyote rather than give him fire.

He asked different animals to help him in his plan. He asked Mountain Lion and Rabbit and Deer to help him. Lastly he asked Frog. All the animals wondered why Coyote asked Frog. Frog was small and had no weapons and could not run very fast. He would be of no good to the plan to get fire everyone thought. But Coyote asked him anyway.

Coyote and his helpers went up the mountain. As they began to climb upwards Coyote told Frog to stay at the bottom by the river. As they went further he  told Mountain Lion to wait a little ways up. They went further and Coyote told Rabbit to wait halfway up the mountain. And as they neared the top of the mountain, Coyote told Deer to wait nearby as Coyote went to the old witches house.

Coyote went to the house and knocked on the door. The youngest witch sister answered and asked coyote to come in. He came near the fire and in its light he saw the other sisters. They were very ugly and had sharp teeth and claws. They looked at Coyote hungrily. They told him to sit near them and so he did. They gave him some food.

Coyote told them the fire was good and warm and that he was grateful for them welcoming him in and that he had heard many stories about the three witch sisters and how beautiful they were and how they were the best dancers around. The three sisters laughed and blushed. No one had ever talked to them this way and they liked it.

Coyote said he would like to dance with them to see which one of them was the best dancer. He got a hand drum and began to drum and sing a song. The tree sisters got up and began to dance. They were terrible dancers but they believed what Coyote had said.

They danced and danced and Coyote sang and sang. This went on for many hours and late into the night. Morning was coming and still they danced. They were very tired and one by on lay down to rest and sleep.

When the oldest sister lay down to sleep Coyote jumped up and grabbed a burning stick from the fire in his mouth. It burned his mouth and he cried out in pain, but did not let it go. He ran out the door, but the oldest sister heard him making noises and woke up. She screamed and her sisters woke up too. They began to chase Coyote.

They were running very fast and would catch Coyote if he tired even a little bit. They were getting closer and Coyote could feel their hot breathe on his back. They were getting closer.

He called to Deer to take the burning stick. Deer leaped out of the brush and grabbed it, wrapping it in his tail. Deer ran and the sisters now chased him. They were good runners and began to close in on Deer. Soon they would have him. Deer could feel their claws grabbing for the fire in his tail.

Deer called for Rabbit to get ready. Rabbit jumped out of the bushes and grabbed the burning stick and wrapped his long ears around it to keep it safe. And Rabbit ran as fast as he could with the witch sisters now chasing him. He ran and hopped and jumped, but they were very fast and were getting close enough that he could hear their terrible breathing. Rabbit ran further and further down the mountain.

Rabbit called for Mountain Lion to be ready to grab the stick. Mountain Lion leapt out of the rocks and grabbed the stick in his mouth. The stick had burned down and it was a little stick now, almost an ember. Mountain Lion ran as fast as he could, but the witch sisters were relentless and soon they were almost upon him.

Mountain Lion called for Frog to be ready to take the stick. Frog jumped out of the grass and took the stick, which was now a small glowing ember into his mouth. It burned him badly, but he was determined to help his friends. He hopped as quickly as he could, but frogs cannot run so soon the sisters were right upon him. They reached their terrible claws out to grab him but Frog jumped into the river and quickly swam to the bottom and buried himself into the mud.

The three sisters tried to dig him out of the mud, but they could not stay under the water long enough o find him. After many days they finally gave up and went back to their home in the mountains.

Frog came out of the mud and water and spit out the ember into wood. That is why we burn wood to get fire. He had kept it safe for all the animals. The animals took the burning ember and built a fire. They now had fire for warmth and cooking and light. All thanks to the little Frog.

Story Questions

  1. This story has Coyote, a trickster, doing something good for everyone. Why do you think the animals asked him?
  1. Coyotes plan relied on other animals for it to work. Who would you ask to help you in your struggle to transform your life to a higher place?
  1. Each animal helping Coyote suffers some kind of marking that proves their part in the adventure. What meanings can we see in their being burned and how might that relate to our struggles to transform?
  1. Little Frog plays the most important role of them all, finally hiding and protecting the fire. What small part of yourself, that you might consider incapable, might play an important pat of your transformation?

Possible Answers

  1. Coyote is smart and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish his task. When he uses his intelligence he can do incredible and sometimes crazy things
  1. Friends and family. Perhaps a program like A.A. Talking to others who have successfully transformed so I can learn from their experiences.
  1. Fire is good, but if we get too close it can hurt us. transformation is not easy and some things might get damaged or changed as a consequence.
  1. My courage, my spirit, my intellect are things I might not immediately rely on, but they have a power that can assist me.