Coyote and Rabbit tales are a part of the the Meso-American storytelling cycle. I remembered one upon seeing this set of coyote tracks in the dried mud of the Rio Grande, with an added commentary from the rabbit.
The Rabbit and The Coyote
Mayan Folktale translated from Q’anjob’al Maya language of Guatemala by Fernando Peñalosa.
This is a story of Uncle Rabbit and the coyote. The rabbit came to a big rock, and there he deceived the coyote. He was leaning on the rock when the coyote came by.
“What are you doing, brother?” the coyote asked the rabbit.
“Come here quickly, brother, the sky is falling down on top of us. Lean against the rock and hold it up while I go for a stick. We’ll prop it up with that,” said the rabbit to the coyote.
“All right,” said the coyote and began holding it up with all his might. Since the coyote was so stupid, he did exactly what the rabbit told him to. The rabbit had said that he was going to get a stick, but he went and left the coyote holding up the rock. When the rabbit didn’t return the coyote shouted:
“Come back, brother! The weight of the rock has made me tired.”
The rabbit still didn’t come back.
“No matter, I’m going to leave even though the sky may fall down on top of us,” said the coyote. But when he ran away he fell into a ravine. The rabbit never came back to the rock and the coyote was lost.
Later the rabbit came to a pond and saw the reflection of the moon in there. As the rabbit was very tricky, he was always deceiving the coyote. The dumb coyote always followed him and didn’t know that the rabbit was deceiving him. The coyote came to the pond where the rabbit was. When he saw the coyote coming he began to drink the water from the pond.
“What are you doing, brother? The coyote asked the rabbit:
“Look, brother, there’s a lot of food down there,” answered the rabbit.
“What kind of food?”
“Look,” the rabbit told the coyote.
The coyote looked in the water and said: “I see it. What is it?”
“There’s a cheese in the water,” the rabbit said to the coyote.
“If we drink all the water we can get the cheese. Drink it, you’re big and you can finish all the water.”
“All right, brother,” he said, and began to drink the water.
“I’m going for a walk,” said the rabbit, and left. The coyote continued to drink the water, but the rabbit was gone. The coyote’s stomach began to hurt him, and he got the runs. He wasn’t able to finish the water, so the coyote abandoned the effort and left.