Shoshoni - Coyote Learns To Fly; Coyote Becomes A Mother
(Ash Meadows, Nevada. Shoshoni)
Wolf's younger brother was Coyote. One day Coyote was hunting on the other side of the hills, east of the Armagosa Desert. Near Manse he saw a man going south and began to follow him. After a while he came to a place where there are rows of rocks which look like white geese resting on fine, white earth. These were Swans who were sitting and smoking.
When Coyote came to the Swans, he said, "I want to go with you fellows." The Swans offered him some of their feathers. They put them along his arms and legs, and told him to try them out. They said, "You fly to that little hill. Don't go too far. Go around it once and come back." Coyote agreed to do that. They asked him how he felt. He said, "I feel fine." He flapped his new wings, shouted, and commenced to fly. He flew around the hill twice. This made the Swans very angry; they scolded him when he returned. They smashed his head with a large flat rock, then flew away to the west.
When the Swans were over the mountains to the west, Coyote woke up and said, "Where are those men? There is no one here." He saw only the white rocks on the ground. Then he saw the Swans in the sky over the mountains to the west, and began to follow them.
When he reached the top of the mountains where he had seen them, they were over the mountains bordering Saline Valley. He went on, but by the time he came to those mountains, the Swans were over the Inyo Mountains. He continued to follow them, but when he came to the Inyo summit, they were over the Sierra Nevada range.
When Coyote reached the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he saw no one. To the west there was nothing but water. He walked around wondering what to do. He saw some people camping near the edge of the water. He went down to see them and found that they were all dead. There were dead men, women, and babies. They had been killed by the Swans.
While he was looking at the dead people, he found a woman with a baby part way out of her chest. The baby was crying. Coyote pulled the baby all the way out, and said, "What am I going to do?" He asked his stomach what to do, but his stomach said nothing. He asked his ears, but they merely straightened up. He asked his nose, but it said nothing because it only had a big hole at the end. He asked his mouth, but it merely drew back into a grin. He asked his foot, but the toes pinched up together. He said, "Hurry up! Tell me, the baby is crying. What shall I do?" He asked his tail. The tail straightened up, and a white hair on the tip of it stood up, and said, "You are foolish! Fix that baby! Make a fire and heat some water. Wash the baby and tie up its navel, or the blood will all run out. Tie it up with buckskin. Get some white clay, Coyote, and make yourself breasts and nipples. Steam them in the fire and they will become full of milk. Then give some to the baby. Tonight dig a hole and build a fire in it. Heat five little rocks and put them in it. Cover it up with brush and earth, then lie on it. That will be good for your blood. Later on, people will do this way. In the morning, wash the baby. Stay here 5 days, and then the afterbirth will come out." Coyote did as he was told. He stayed there 5 days and took care of the baby.
After this, Coyote decided to go home to his brother. He carried the baby on his back, and went home the way he had come. While he traveled, the baby grew fast. She grew to be a girl, and Coyote wanted to marry her. When Coyote got home he said to Wolf, "This girl is my wife." Wolf, who knew everything, said "Shame on you. That is your daughter, not your wife." Coyote said, "Oh, yes, she is my daughter. I was just fooling."
In the morning, Wolf said, "Let us go and kill some fresh meat for the girl." Coyote said, "All right." They went out to a high place in the mountains, where they killed a deer. Wolf said, "You skin it right here. Do it yourself, and don't ask the girl to help You." Coyote said, "All right. Oh, yes, I will do it myself." He started to skin the deer, and then called the girl to help him. He told her how she should cut through the skin and fat. While she was cutting it, she shook some blood from her knife. When Coyote saw this, he said, "Oh, you are bleeding. You shouldn't eat meat, it will make you old and wrinkled. You should work hard and carry lots of wood, then you will live to be old. Now go off and get some wood." This scolding made the girl angry, but she said, "All right, I will get some wood." She went off and did not return.
Wolf came to Coyote, and said, "Where has the girl gone?" Coyote said, "Oh, she has gone after some wood." Wolf said, I know. You scolded her. You wouldn't let her eat any of her meat. Now she is angry and has gone away and left you." Coyote said, "Yes, that is right, I scolded her." Wolf said, "She has gone way up in the mountains to the north." He told Coyote where she had gone. He said that she had met Mountain Sheep, who was a handsome young man, and he had taken her to live in a cave in the mountains.
 It is not clear whether the rocks were swans, or whether there was a swan opposite each rock. Probably these were geese, not swans.
Some Western Shoshoni Myths, by Julian H. Steward; Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 136, pp. 249-299; Anthropological Papers No. 31; Washington D.C., Smithsonian Institution; US Government Printing Office  and is now in the public domain.