Coyote Challenges Never-Grows-Larger
One time Ketox, or Coyote, bounded across the prairie and saw Never-Grows-Larger, the smallest snake, sunning on a large, flat rock.
"You are tiny," Coyote said. "I would never want to be as little as you. Look at me. You should be as big as me."
Never-Grows-Larger looked Coyote up and down, then flicked a long, forked tongue out and in.
"Let me see your teeth," Coyote said.
Never-Grows-Larger opened wide to reveal tiny teeth.
"Look at my teeth." Coyote snarled to reveal big, sharp teeth. "With no effort at all I could bite you in two."
Never-Grows-Larger flicked a long tongue out and in again.
"Let us bite each other and see who is more powerful," Coyote said.
"Are you sure?" Never-Grows-Larger asked.
"I accept the challenge."
Coyote bit hard enough to almost sever Never-Grows-Larger's head.
Never-Grows-Larger bit Coyote.
"Now I will go just out of sight, then we will call to each other to see how the other fares." Coyote bounded through the tall grass and lay down out of sight. "Hey!"
"Hey," Never-Grows-Larger called faintly.
"Hey," Never-Grows-Larger said even more weakly.
Pleased with success, Coyote repeatedly called and listened to Never-Grows-Larger's voice grow soft. "I never doubted I would kill that snake," Coyote whispered.
After a time, Coyote noticed that the snakebite swelled, and the wound started to hurt.
"Hey." But the sound was not as loud. Soon Coyote's entire body hurt and swelled up.
"Hey!" Never-Grows-Larger called loud and clear.
"Hey," Coyote said softly.
"Hey!" Never-Grows-Larger called again.
Coyote did not respond.
Never-Grows-Larger crawled through the grass to Coyote's side. The animal lay dead.
Never-Grows-Larger left Coyote there, then went back to sunning on the rock.
from Texas Indian Myths and Legends by Jane Archer
Return to Indigenous Peoples' Literature
Compiled by: Glenn Welker
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