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Base Camp

Coyote and the Six Sisters

following a recount by Jesus Juaro

Six sisters were married to Mountain Lion. Lion was a good hunter but Coyote coveted his wives and wanted to steal them. He decided to kill Lion, so he told him that there was a deer grazing near the edge of a steep ravine. When Lion went to hunt the deer Coyote followed him and, sneaking up behind him, he pushed Lion to his death.

Coyote then went to visit the six sisters. " Why are you girls sad?" he asked, feigning innocence. The girls explained that they were upset because Lion has not returned from his hunt. Coyote offered to stay with the girls and hunt for them, and so he became their husband.

After Coyote had lived with the girls for a while he became ill. Feeling death approaching, he instructed the girls to burn his body on a pyre after he was gone. The girls obeyed his wishes, but Coyote was a mischievous character, and as soon as his body was placed on the pyre he revived.

The sisters were unhappy living with Coyote, and when he came back to life they tried desperately to escape. " If we turn into palo ( into a stick ) he will be breaking us, water ( and he ) will be heating us. Better to go (in)to (the) sky, one proposed." They agreed that going into the sky was their only chance of getting away, so one day while Coyote was hunting rabbits they made their escape.

Coyote was surprised to discover the girls missing, and he looked everywhere for them with no success. Then one day, thirsty from his long search, Coyote lowered his head to drink from a pool of water. Reflected in the calm waters of the pond were the sisterís faces showing their teeth as they smiled down at him. Coyote tried to catch the girls but he could not. Today Coyote is a red star ( the star Aldebran ) behind the Pleiades.