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Coyote and Rabbit

based on a recount by Juana Melendrez

One moonlit night Coyote came upon Rabbit sitting by the shore of a lake. " Aha amigo conejo ( friend rabbit ) " said Coyote, " ahora te voy a comer " ( now I am going to eat you ). But instead of running away, Rabbit simply pointed to the reflection of the moon glowing in the waters of the lake. " Do you see that big piece of cheese ?" Rabbit asked, " they sent me to bring it and when I stopped to get a drink it rolled into the lake. How can we get it out ? "

Now Coyote liked cheese, and so he momentarily forgot his plan to kill and eat Rabbit. Realizing that he had distracted his enemy, Rabbit suggested that they hold a contest to get the cheese out of the water. They would place stakes along opposite shores of the lake, they would each run along the shore until the first stake was reached, then leap across the water and continue running along the opposite shores of the lake, until they reached the next stake, drinking water from the lake each time they leapt across.

When the race began, Coyote followed Rabbit’s rules, drinking from the lake as he ran along the shore and leaping across each time he reached a stake. But Rabbit cheated and did not drink. Eventually Coyote became so heavy and bloated with water that when he tried to jump across the lake he fell in, and Rabbit ran away laughing.

Later Coyote came upon Rabbit again. Rabbit was crouched under a tremendous boulder, pressing his hands and side against the rock. " Aha, amigo conejo " cried the angry coyote. " you thought you played a trick on me .. didn’t you ? Now I am going to eat you !" Rabbit remained perfectly still, as if holding the boulder in place. He replied that he was holding up the world, but that he had grown very thirsty from his efforts. " won’t you hold it while I go and get a drink ?" he pleaded. So Coyote took Rabbit’s place under the rock while his prey ran away.

After a long while Coyote grew tired and started to let go of the rock. But he was terrified that the world would fall, and so with all his strength he pressed against the boulder. Eventually he could bear it no longer, however, and fearing he would be crushed he jumped away. When the boulder did not move, he knew he had been tricked again.

That was not the last of Coyote’s encounters with Rabbit.