So I'm writing a story that might someday far in the future be a novel, and in this story there is a need for a story explaining a drought to a small child. I wrote this Coyote story without much reference to actual Coyote stories beyond a quick search on the Internet, and I'm not totally sure I like it. I may keep it or not; opinions on the matter are welcome.
This is the story of Coyote and the Daughter of the Sky, as told by Old Man Gaagyeh to the Old Storyteller Woman, who told it to my mother, who told it to me when I was small like you are. A long time ago, Coyote was walking about in the House of the Gods. As you know, Coyote can wear the skin of any animal, and on that day he was wearing the skin of a handsome young man. So he wandered around the Gods’ House, very bored and looking for trouble, until he came into the garden, which was like a lakeshore after it rains, covered in bright orange flowers and the noisy frogs that wake up when the rain comes. In this garden was a young woman who was very beautiful, with long black hair and delicate gentle fingers and deep black eyes, and in her eyes were every one of the stars, for she was the Sky‘s Daughter. And as soon as he saw her, Coyote fell in love.
In fact he fell in love so much that he forgot everything he knew about the Sky and her daughter, and instead of being humble, he went up to the woman and said to her with a foolish swagger, “Oh beautiful, I know you have been waiting for me to take you away from your mother’s house to be my wife. Come along!”
Now the Sky‘s Daughter saw that he was a handsome young man, but he was so arrogant that she didn‘t like him at all, and besides she was busy naming all the new stars he mother had placed in the night, so she laughed at him and told him to go away. Coyote was used to getting what he wanted by honest ways or by trickery, and he didn’t realize his foolishness but went away to think of a trick to get this young woman to be his wife whether she liked him or not.
First, he came to her in the skin of a brightly colored frog, thinking that she would be pleased at his beauty. But she had many frogs in her garden, and she turned him away.
Then he came to her as a cactus flower to put in her hair, but she had so many flowers already that she didn’t even notice him.
Then he came to her as a kitten, to curl up in her lap and please her with his purrs, but she already had a cat who sat on her lap, and she sent him away because everyone knows two cats won’t live in the same house.
Now Coyote was very angry, and he decided that if the Sky’s Daughter wouldn’t go with him voluntarily, he would steal her away. So here is what he did: he went down to the Big North Lake and he drank and drank and drank until he was so full of water he could barely stand up. And then he puffed himself up bigger and bigger and bigger until- poof!- he was a cloud. Then he floated up to the House of the Gods, and he settled around the top of the house and the garden just like a real cloud might.
Coyote waited all night and all day and all night again for the Sky’s Daughter to come out to her garden, until he was almost ready to give up. But on the third day she came out into her garden even though it was damp and cloudy, and when he saw her, Coyote swooped down on her, wrapped his arms around her tightly and quickly flew far, far away.
When the Sky heard that a cloud had stolen her daughter, she was furious. She called all her cousins: the Sun and the Moon, the North Wind and the East Wind, Thunder, the Big North Lake who is the Sky‘s lover, and even the tiny Desert Wren who flies to and fro. And the whole family went out and searched for the Sky’s Daughter. Every time they came across a cloud, they captured it and locked it away, but Coyote was very clever, and hid himself and the Sky’s Daughter under the ground where the Sky couldn’t see them, and the Sky’s Daughter became his wife.
So Coyote was foolish and got himself a wife who didn’t like him, and later she poisoned him and ran away- but that is another story. This is why the Sky and all her cousins still catch the clouds whenever they see them and lock them away so the rain cannot fall.