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Oban's Myths & Legends

How The Buffalo Were Released On Earth (continued)
Native American - Blackfoot, Commanche and Apache Story
retold by Oban

Oban the Knowledge Keeper

Next morning the boy came out of the house to fetch water from the stream and saw a bird with a broken wing sheltering near the house. He put down his pitcher, picked up the bird and carried it into the house.

“Look what I found,” he said to his mother. “It’s a bird and its wing is broken. Can I keep it? I’ll take care of it.” His father wasn’t pleased. “No way,” he shouted. “It’s useless. Take it back outside where you found it.” The boy was frightened and did as he was told. When he’d gone inside again, Coyote changed back into himself and slunk back to the young man on the ridge.

“I failed,” Coyote moaned. “Don’t worry,” said the young man. “Your plan is still a good one. It’ll work better with a dog instead of a bird.” “Good idea,” said Coyote, happy again. “I’ll try it this afternoon.”

When the boy went to the stream that afternoon, a small dog trotted up and lapped at the water. The boy stroked the dog, then picked it up and carried it into the house. “Dogs are useless,” shouted his father. “I’ll kill it.” “No, No – please don’t kill him” the boy cried as he hugged the dog tightly.

“Oh alright,” said his father. “But let me see if it’s real. You can’t trust animals.” He took a hot coal from the fire and moved it slowly towards the dog’s face. The dog barked and wriggled in the boy’s arms. “OK, it’s real,” said the father. “It can sleep outside with the buffalo, not in the house.”

This was just what Coyote wanted. He played quietly with the boy until he was taken outside for the night. When the family was asleep Coyote ran amongst the buffalo in his dog form, barking loudly and nipping at their legs. The buffalo were frightened and ran towards the house. They smashed the back door down, charged through the house, smashed the front door and stampeded out to where the young man was waiting to drive them on.

The noise woke the family. The father sprang out of bed and tried to stop the buffalo, but couldn’t. When the last shaggy buffalo had galloped off, the boy couldn’t find his dog. “Where’s my dog?” he cried. “I’ve lost him.” “That was no dog,” said his father. “That was Coyote the Trickster. He’s let our buffalo escape.”

And that was how the buffalo were released on Earth to roam in herds everywhere.


The End

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