Coyote’s Painted Face

Coyote and Fox were cousins living in the hills. After they grew up, Coyote moved to the plains and Fox moved to the forest. Every summer Coyote and Fox would reunite for a fortnight and share the knowledge of their habitats.

On the eve of spring, a great lightning storm overtook the plains. Coyote was struck by lightning and was left with a mark under the left eye. Coyote saw her reflection in the river and deemed herself ugly. She feared Fox would not recognize her when they met again in the summer. So Coyote spent the entirety of the spring gathering berries so that she could fashion paint which would conceal the mark and make her face beautiful again.

Summer arrived. Before departing for the hills to reunite with Fox, Coyote painted her face with red, green, and blue paint made from the gathered berries. The mark was covered; however, when Coyote and Fox met in the hills, Fox said, “You are not my cousin. My cousin does not share the same face with you!”

Coyote pleaded, “I am your cousin. I painted my face to conceal an ugly mark and bring beauty to my face.”

Fox was resolute, “My cousin’s beauty resides in her knowledge of the plains.” Fox returned to the forest. Tears ran from Coyote’s eyes and washed away the red, green, and blue paint; she never painted her face again.

At the beginning of the following summer, Coyote arrived at the hills, but Fox did not return. Coyote howled for a fortnight and the cousins never met again.