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Coyote Stories by Mourning Dove

Coyote Stories (1933)

by Mourning Dove

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1314144,181 (3.94)None
A powerful force and yet the butt of humor, the coyote figure runs through the folklore of many American Indian tribes. He can be held up as a "terrible example" of conduct, a model of what not to do, and yet admired for a careless. anarchistic energy that suggests unlimited possibilities. Mourning Dove, an Okanagan, knewnbsp;him well from the legends handed down by her people. She preserved them for posterity in Coyote Stories, originally published in 1933. Here is Coyote, the trickster, the selfish individualist, the imitator, the protean character who indifferently puts the finishing touches on a world soon to receive human beings. And here is Mole, his long-suffering wife, and all the other Animal People, including Fox, Chipmunk, Owl-Woman, Rattlesnake, Grizzly Bear, Porcupine, and Chickadee. Here it is revealed why Skunk's tail is black and white, why Spider has such long legs, why Badger is so humble, and why Mosquito bites people. These entertaining, psychologically compelling stories will be welcomed by a wide spectrum of readers. Jay Miller has supplied an introduction and notes for this Bison Books edition and restored chapters that were deleted from the original.… (more)



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These interesting stories of the Salish Plateau focus on Coyote. Mourning Dove is a good storyteller, and I found this book of tales more smoothly written than others. I also appreciated the addition of footnotes to explain regional geography, real-life incidents, and symbolism related to the myths. Mourning Dove sanitized the stories to sell to a white audience; in the back, she is quoted about how she would never be able to sell stories of Skunk as the tribe really told them. A more traditional Skunk story is added after that to illustrate; he's a very flatulent animal whose 'asset' is stolen! The notes also point out that Coyote's medicine, his source of special power, comes from his feces. This is never clear within the actual stories. This combination of good, though sanitized storytelling with deeper notes really sets this collection above many others and lends it a sense of authenticity. ( )
  ladycato | Sep 28, 2015 |
This is a somewhat cleaned up version of "Just How" stories of the Okanagan and other closely tribes with Coyote as the protagonist. The reason that I say somewhat cleaned up version is the fact that if you read the notes for some of the stories within the book then you will find what the author had originally changed in the stories to make them more user-friendly when it first came out.

The stories were usually short, to the point and usually included some type of tale. Coyote was usually in trouble or fixing some type of trouble - sometimes even doing both. And of course some stories didn't have Coyote at all but some of the other Animal People.

I loved how the book included facts about the culture of the tribe, how it mentioned in detail the features that were made and how changes in the history of the tribes also affected the stories that were being told. In a sense you were reading history all over again but being entertained at the same time.

Finally I enjoyed the fact the author did include some of the Native names of the Animal People and the meanings of those names. I wish there was a better pronunciation guide also for some of the words since there were a few that had me dumbfounded.

This book is truly a keeper for me :). I would really look forward to this book if they had someone of the tribes to actual do an audio recording so that way you could hear the stories being told like they were meant to and with the right pronunciation. Dreams.... ( )
  flamingrosedrakon | Aug 26, 2015 |
Book Description: Very fine. Unread condition. Stated first edition 4 printing.
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  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
Tales of Coyote, as recounted by Mourning Dove. These stories, many of which are surprisingly gory, are an excellent introduction to Coyote. ( )
  Crowyhead | Feb 8, 2006 |
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