Wolf, Coyote & The Origin of Death

20 Apr

Property of The DarkRose Journal, 2013

shadow wolf sky
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Wolf, Coyote & The Origin of Death

Myths of the origin of death often involve an argument between two beings, as in the following account related by the Shoshoni people.

In ancient times, the two most important figures were Wolf (of course) and Coyote, who always tried to go against Wolf’s wishes. Wolf said that when a person died he could be brought back to life by shooting an arrow into the earth beneath him. But Coyote said that it was a bad idea to bring people back to life, because then there would be too many people. Wolf agreed, but decided secretly that Coyote’s son would be the first to die, and by this very wish brought about the boy’s death. Soon the grieving Coyote came and told Wolf that his son had died. He recalled Wolf’s words: that people could live again if an arrow was shot underneath them. But Wolf countered with what Coyote himself had said: that man should die. Since then it has always been so.
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The sly “prairie wolf” also known as the coyote. The coyote thrives throughout most of North America-it is crafty, swift and has an all-embracing appetite. One of this wild dog’s ruses is to pretend to be dead in order to catch scavengers, so perhaps it is unsurprising that there are more Native American stories about Coyote as a trickster than about any other animal or character.

Like the raven, the real coyote is a scavenger, yet it also hunts small rodents and rabbits, cleverly concealing any uneaten food. Many Coyote myths reflect both admiration and contempt for this resourceful beast. On the one hand, Coyote is a hero who helps organize the primordial world; on the other, he is the buffoon whose adventures resemble those of Raven and Manabozho and many other trickster myths, which are undoubtedly the most widespread and popular tales among Native Americans, as well as being of special importance because they contain lessons about proper behaviour and respect.

Plenty more stories and legends coming your way, all for your emotional and intellectual growth. You’re welcome. 😉

~DarkRose

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