Coyote Stories and Questions
Read both Coyote stories before answering the questions below.
Then, answer the following questions:
1. What did you find most interesting about the characters in this tale? Jot down your thoughts in your notebook.
2. Folk tales often serve to teach or explain In your view, what does "Coyote and the Buffalo" teach or explain?
- what actions are rewarded or punished
- what changes occur in the characters
- the first and last paragraphs of the tale
3. Okanogan storytellers might tell "Coyote and the Buffalo" during a winter night. Why do you think people would want to hear this story over and over again?
Answer the following for "Fox and Coyote and Whale":
1. In your notebook, describe what was most memorable about "Fox and Coyote and Whale."
2. What did you learn about the Okanogan culture from reading this story?
- their values, attitudes, and beliefs
- geographical features of their area
- their way of life
3. What might be Okanogan storytellers' purpose for telling this story?
4. Compare Coyote in these stories with your previous mental image of a coyote.
5. Do you view Coyote as admirable? Explain why or why not.
6. What do these Coyote stories have in common with other folk tales you know?
7. Some Native Americans have argued that stories about the Animal People constitute "the first history of America." Do you agree? Explain.
A trickster tale is a folk tale about an animal or person who engages in trickery, violence and magic. Neither all good nor all bad, a trickster may be foolish yet clever, greedy yet helpful, immoral yet moral. Although the trickster tales you have read feature Coyote, other tricksters in Native American oral traditions include Raven, Mink, Hare, and Blue Jay. In other trickster tales told around the world, the trickster is a spider, a rabbit, or a fox. According to the folklorist Stith Thompson, a trickster "may appear in any one of three roles: the beneficent culture hero, the clever deceiver, or the numskull." Which of these roles does Coyote play in "Coyote and Buffalo" and "Fox and Coyote and Whale"? What evidence in the stories support your conclusions? What roles do tricksters play in other trickster tales with which you are familiar?
1. What tricksters are admired in American society? Name four and compare/contrast them with Coyote.
2. Some modern American writers have used the figure of Coyote in their own stories and poetry, updating the traditional tales for their own times. Drawing on the characters and plot structures of Coyote tales you have just read, write your own contemporarytrickster tale.
Make sure to answer all of these! Students will be allowed to use these answers on the test!
- Mr. T