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The Biggest Coyote

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                            The Story of the Biggest Coyote
                                           in the World
(mp3 format, about 9 minutes)

The Story of the Biggest Coyote
In the World
by Steve Serr


Mother Coyote was at a loss.
She was exhausted. The pups were all but out of control,
Yipping and scampering all around the den.
“Husband” she finally yelped, “I need your help!”
Dutifully Coyote trotted over to where she sat.
Her ears drooped slightly, and she said “I’m tired.”
Then she thought for a moment, and added,
“Would you tell the pups a story?
That will keep them occupied for at least a while,
So I can catch my breath.”
Ever dutiful, Coyote thought about all the wild forest outside the den.
He thought about the mysterious caves beneath the mountains.
He thought about the wind that whistled through the towering trees.
He thought about the long leaps he made over the dry creek beds,
And about the moon that howled silently above in the night.
He thought about all these things,
and yet didn’t speak of them.
Instead, he sat down, curled his tail around himself,
And yipped to the pups to come over.
With their last barks of glee and mirth,
The pups went round and round, tracing little circles on the den floor,
And curling into tiny balls of fur, looked up at their father with big,
Proud eyes, for the Coyote they saw was Huge.
Coyote couldn’t know that, and anyway,
he was busy thinking about the story.
At last, he thought he had the first lines, and not wanting to wait for the rest,
Just began, hoping that the story would tell itself as it went along.
He paused, looked at the pups, and spoke:
“This is the story of a Coyote” he said,
“Stuck in the shape of a man, yet he had a tail,
and would bark and yip in frustration:
‘I need to breathe!’ hollered the man-coyote,
who impatiently sniffed at the air
and looked about in all directions with wild eyes.
As it was, the coyote in him belonged to a pack…
Of one Female, and two pups who would scamper after him whenever he returned to the clearing just beyond the den door,
playing and sometimes feasting on what he would bring back
from his adventures in the forest.
The man-coyote's wife saw his distress.
‘But you don’t spend enough time in the den!’ she exclaimed,
her soft eyes dimming with sadness
‘The pups need your leadership!’ she added.
The Coyote in him was at a loss…
how could he open his coyote lungs
and taste the wild forest air that spread out in all directions, and yet,
also run in such little circles,
around and around the den with his wife and pups…
at the same time!
He sat down and with a rear leg (he had not one, but two of them),
scratched behind one of his ears,
and Wondered.
All of a sudden, it struck him: This was new!
‘My gosh’, he suddenly reflected,
‘I never wondered about things before. I always just… knew them!’
‘Why, I know how to creep under the wire fence to grab the chickens,
I know how to hide from the hunters,
I know how to…’ and there, his voice trailed off.
His brow furrowed as he realized there was something that he didn’t know.
He was at a loss.
He was so busy Wondering, that he nearly leapt out of his skin in fright,
for all of a sudden, out of the forest came the biggest, noblest,
fiercest Coyote he had ever seen!
When it stepped forward, with each step the forest duff quivered.
And when man-coyote looked at Coyote,
the magnificent beast’s eyes held the farthest reaches of the forest
within them.
Man-coyote was stunned. He could not move,
his paws seemed frozen in place.
Then the biggest Coyote in the whole world spoke:
‘Come here, Son.’ it growled, with a voice that rolled like distant thunder.
Man-coyote’s feet began to move and his flanks trembled as he padded slowly towards the magnificent creature.
‘You are caught, my son, in your own trap.
You have created the ultimate Coyote trap
And have trapped yourself.’
‘I see a Coyote who doesn’t know his full nature.
You see yourself still as a young pup… you,
who are a giant among Coyotes!’
With that, the huge Coyote lifted itself up to its full height and its eyes flashed…
‘Look’ he barked, ‘Look in the mirror! See who you really are!’
But man-coyote was confused. Mirror? What mirror? 
He wagged his tail nervously,
And yet peered to the left, and then to the right, 
just in case there was a mirror there.
The giant Coyote seemed to tremble with power,
lightening flashed from where his claws struck the rock,
and the forest trees shook.
‘Look!’ he roared again. ‘Look in the mirror!’
Man-coyote looked with all of his might,
He looked, and looked, and looked until his eyes started to ache,
And then he Saw.
His eyes grew huge with amazement and his jaw dropped so far
that it nearly touched the ground,
For man-coyote saw… Himself.”
With that, Coyote paused in the story.
He glanced at his wife: her eyes were round with amazement.
He glanced at the pups: they lay there, not even panting
for fear they would miss his next words.
“And so”, he said, “that was that.”
“What do you mean!!” the pups yelped. and yipped,
and bared their teeth in frustration…
“That’s not a story, dad! It doesn’t have an ending!”
Coyote looked back at his wife, and filled with all the love in the world,
He held her gaze as he answered to all of them:
“You are right. It doesn’t.”
And with that, his long jaws broke into a soft smile.
“Just one minute, Dear.” He spoke to his wife.
She sat there, her head cocked slightly to one side,
and a look of perplexity slowly turning into one of understanding.
Trotting out the den door to where the small clearing
melted into the forest, he stopped,
and lifting his head to the sky, closed his eyes,
filled his lungs with all of his might, and broke the still air,
“Coyote!” He howled at the forest,
“Thank you!”
And with that, he turned back,
his massive frame, 
his mighty eyes glimmering,
his gigantic feet causing the ground to tremble,
and returned to his den.