Caleb Carter (Nez Perce)

Biography | Historical and Cultural Context | Critical Commentary | Further Readings

“The Coyote and the Wind”

Caleb Carter, Nez Perce

The coyote, once upon a time, made himself a dwelling place out of tall bunch grass. It was in late fall, and the wind would always blow it apart. This made the coyote very angry, so one day he devised a snare in which to trap the offender. As he was fixing up the snare he thought to himself, “I will fix him!”

The next morning he set out to see if he had caught the wind. Upon arriving he beheld a man with big ears and of great stature. “Well,” he said, “so you are the person that has been tearing my wigwam up, eh?” With that he pulled his ears right and left, kicked him on the nose, and slapped him till he had him begging for mercy.

The coyote then made him promise that he would never blow such cold, stormy winds again. But the coyote doubted his word, and again he had him begging. When the coyote would get tired, he rested. All this time the wind was making all kinds of promises, so at last the coyote let him go with the understanding that he would kill him on his next offense. So to this day the winds on the west side of the Rockies are warm and known as the “Chinook winds.”

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