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Coyote and the Columbia

Coyote and the Columbia
(Sahaptin/Salishan Tribes)
retold by
S. E. Schlosser

One day, Coyote was walking along. The sun was shining brightly, and Coyote felt very hot.

“I would like a cloud,” Coyote said.

So a cloud came and made some shade for Coyote. Coyote was not satisfied.

“I would like more clouds,” he said. More clouds came along, and the sky began to look very stormy. But Coyote was still hot.

“How about some rain,” said Coyote. The clouds began to sprinkle rain on Coyote.

“More rain,” Coyote demanded. The rain became a downpour.

“I would like a creek to put my feet in,” said Coyote. So a creek sprang up beside him, and Coyote walked in it to cool off his feet.

“It should be deeper,” said Coyote.

The creek became a huge, swirling river. Coyote was swept over and over by the water. Finally, nearly drowned, Coyote was thrown up on the bank far away. When he woke up, the buzzards were watching him, trying to decide if he was dead.

“I’m not dead,” Coyote told them, and they flew away.

That is how the Columbia River began.

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