Coyote's Eyes

: Myths And Legends Of California And The Old Southwest

Pima (Arizona)

When Coyote was travelling about one day, he saw a small bird. The bird

was hopping about contentedly and Coyote thought,

"What a beautiful bird. It moves about so gracefully."

He drew nearer to the bird and asked, "What beautiful things are you

working with?" but the bird could not understand Coyote. After a while

the bird took out his two eyes and threw them st
aight up into the air,

like two stones. It looked upward but had no eyes. Then the bird said,

"Come, my eyes. Come quickly, down into my head." The eyes fell down

into the bird's head, just where they belonged, but were much brighter

than before.

Coyote thought he could brighten his eyes. He asked the bird to take out

his eyes. The bird took out Coyote's eyes, held them for a moment in his

hands, and threw them straight up into the air. Coyote looked up and


"Come back, my eyes. Come quickly." They at once fell back into his head

and were much brighter than before. Coyote wanted to try it again, but

the bird did not wish to. But Coyote persisted. Then the bird said,

"Why should I work for you, Coyote? No, I will work no more for you."

But Coyote still persisted, and the bird took out his eyes and threw

them up. Coyote cried,

"Come, my eyes, come back to me."

But his eyes continued to rise into the air, and the bird began to go

away. Coyote began to weep. But the bird was annoyed, and called back,

"Go away now. I am tired of you. Go away and get other eyes."

But Coyote refused to go and entreated the bird to find eyes for him. At

last the bird gathered gum from a pinon tree and rolled it between his

hands and put it in Coyote's eye holes, so that he could see. But his

eyes had been black and very bright. His new eyes were yellow.

"Now," said the bird, it "go away. You cannot stay here any longer."