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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Coyote Dances With The Stars
by Hupa story told by Grover Sanderson

One night, Coyote was lying on his back singing a dance song, and he looked up in the sky, and noticed the stars were twinkling brilliantly. Coyote thought they looked like beautiful Indian girls and thought he would like to go up and see them.

So, Coyote went through the woods asking how he could go up to the sky. Spider said she could weave a long rope and the giant Redwood Tree said he could bend down to earth and throw Coyote up in the sky so he could climb all the way.

When Coyote got there, he discovered the stars weren't just twinkling, they were dancing. Well, Coyote thought himself a very fine dancer, so he asked to join them in their dance. The star maidens answered, "You couldn't dance with us, because we dance day and night, year after year, and we never stop."

Ma ' ii BizO ' - Coyote Star
by Melvin Bainbridge

Coyote thought that, surely, if any girl can do that, then he, so big and brave, could also dance forever. The stars said no, but Coyote begged and pleaded, and teased until the girls said he could join them. So, Coyote joined hands with the stars, and he danced all over the heavens.

He got along alright for the first night, but the next night he was very tired. He didn't want the girls to know he was tired, so he asked, "May I stop for just a moment, to get a drink?" The stars answered, "No, we told you. We dance forever and ever!"

They danced on, and Coyote began to get more tired, and his back was aching, his legs were aching, and again he called out, "May I stop to get a bite to eat, because I am very, very hungry!" And the stars said, "You must dance on and on, and never stop."

Before long, the stars were dragging Coyote through the heavens. Coyote sank lower and lower, and soon fell back to earth. He fell so fast he looked like a shooting star.

Now, in the Klamath Region in Northern California, there is a great hole in the ground, where Coyote hit. So the next time you see a shooting star, you know Coyote is trying again to "Dance with the Stars."

Editor's Notes:

  1. Ma ' ii BizO ' can be translated in Navajo as Thunder (pronounced Mah ee bihzon). Canopus, called the Coyote Star in Navajo, is one of the brightest stars in...
  2. Note: The Perseid meteor shower will be dimmed by the light of the nearly full moon this August, but this astronomical event is still one of the best opportunities of the year to look for shooting stars.
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