In the beginning, when I first began to awaken, I had a teacher who called himself Mr. Colorado, but his real name (he once confided) was Big Bear. He was well named because he was a huge bear of a man. But even bigger, was his heart. I owe my life to him. During his last incarnation, he passed on this teaching to me...
* * *
-=[ The Battle ]=-
It had reached the point where they were so angry, they decided to do battle. So terrible was their anger that they would not wait, but declared that the fight be fought now, right this moment, on the very spot of the disagreement.
Fox blamed Badger, Badger, in turn, was all for placing the blame on Cougar.
Jackrabbit hopped in anticipation, calling for Mole and for Mouse, and for Deer and Bear to fetch their arrows and their heaviest war clubs.
By the time Coyote arrived, the sides had already been chosen, the lines drawn, and the smell of hate and impending bloodshed hung heavy in the air.
Coyote listened to all the threats and the promised bloodshed. He walked out and stood between the enemies, solemnly declaring in a very soft voice:
“No, I cannot allow this great fight to happen just yet. There has been no battle preparation dance. There has been no pipe of cleansing. No, the Creation does not wish this battle to take place.”
Later, some said it was Bear, but oddly, no one remembers just who it was; and of course, Bear denied the accusation, but someone ran from one of the lines and struck Coyote dead.
And Coyote fell and lay there, very dead. And the cry for battle resumed, the menacing cries for blood again filling the air,
when, from the opposite end of the battle lines, Coyote again stepped out, dancing and wielding a huge club.
He ran to his dead self and struck a tremendous blow upon the body, then turned to face the creatures, shouting: “Who killed this person? Who struck him down before I did?!! Was that person purified? Did he sweat himself and think of the children? Did he dance to assure that the life cycle continue?”
Then someone from the back of one of the lines shouted “Enough with talking!” and ran to Coyote and struck him dead.
And again, later, no one remembered who or what struck the blow hat killed Coyote for the second time.
Then from the left side of center, Coyote ran out swinging a great club, struck at his fallen selves until all that remained were two bloody masses of fur and blood and broken bones, and twisted sinew.
Then Coyote danced the dance of victory over his own fallen selves, pledging their death to his own great anger. And Oh! How he danced!
“Now then,” said Porcupine, “how is it that this fool dances the victory dance, when it was not himself who killed himselves? Is it within reason for him to claim this dubious victory?”
Then Coyote demanded of all, “If I did not kill these two, then who killed them? Let him who killed them step forward and claim these deaths, so that I may kill him too in revenge!”
When no one stepped forward, Coyote declared, pointing to his dead selves, “Then obviously, these kills are mine!”
“It seems to me,” began Elk, who was immediately interrupted by Skunk, who similarly began, “It’s quite obvious to me that... ” “Now hold on a minute,” interjected Badger. And Coyote turned on Badger, shouting, “Ha! Don’t you realize you can’t hold on to a moment, let alone a minute?!!”
And in that way, they all argued, all the animal creatures, about the finer points of who might or might not claim a kill.
And the women-folk of these great warriors, at the urging of Coyote, prepared a great feast, so that these mighty warrior-scholars might continue their debate on full stomachs.
And soon, the anger gradually subsided and was set aside for the more important battle of words leading to reason.
And by this time, everyone now having forgotten about Coyote,
Coyote, took his fallen selves by their tails and dragged them away uphill.
Then he took a good hot sweat bath and then sang a song of renewal known only to himself, and soon his other selves revived. “Now,” said one of them, “that’s what I call making your point the hard way. You know, it really hurt when you killed me.”
“Yes,” said the other self, standing up to stretch out the kinks in his muscles, “the next time this happens, don’t forget it will be your turn to be killed.”
“Hey, maybe this won’t ever happen again, huh?”
“Oh, it will happen again,” Coyote said, “Yes, it always seems to happen again.”
Then he merged into himselves and walked away, far away...
* * *