Oban's Myths & Legends
How The Buffalo Were Released On Earth
Native American - Blackfoot, Commanche and Apache Story
retold by Oban
In this story Coyote, the trickster, changes into other things. This is called transforming.
A long time ago, people were hungry. There were no buffalo or antelope on the prairie for them to hunt. One day Coyote was out looking for food and climbed a high ridge to look around. He saw a small house a long way away, with a fenced-in yard or corral on the back. Inside the corral was a large herd of buffalo.
Coyote was shocked. “Someone has hidden the buffalo,” he said to himself. “That’s not fair. We’re all hungry. Everyone should share the buffalo.” He lay down and watched the house for hours. He saw a man, his wife and their son coming and going, doing chores and taking care of the buffalo. Late in the afternoon he ran back to the village, told the people what he’d seen and offered to help them release the buffalo from the corral.
A young man said he would go with Coyote. He was a chief’s son, and people said he was very brave. The next day Coyote and the chief’s son walked back to the high ridge. They lay down in the brush and watched the family in the house with the corral. The buffalo were still there, but the fences around the corral were too high to climb and too strong to knock down. The young man didn’t know what to do.
“I have a plan,” said Coyote. “We’ll go through the house to release the buffalo.” “But how?” asked the young man. “The family is always there and the father is powerful. He won’t let us in.”
“But his son will,” said Coyote. “He doesn’t have a pet, and I’m sure he’d like one. Tomorrow I’ll change into something for him to find when he does his chores.” The young man thought this was a good plan, and they made camp for the night.