Nez Perce - Coyote Marries His Daughter
Once, when Old Man Coyote was wandering around in the North Country, he came upon a house. He married and settled down there. He stayed there, spending his time hunting field mice.
Then he had a daughter.
He lived with his wife and did nothing but hunt field mice. As time passed, and his daughter was growing bigger, he just went on, doing ordinary things.
He had a son.
Then Coyote's daughter grew into a very fine woman.
Then, Coyote thought things over. "I wonder if there isn't some way I could manage to marry this woman," he pondered. "What if I should be sick? Then, I'll lie down and, after a bit, I'll seem to be dying. If I tell them I'm dying, they'll take it as a fact."
So he went off hunting and came back home at dusk. After a while, when he had been lying down, he spoke. "I was so sick I almost didn't make it back," he said.
He didn't sleep much that night. At sunup, he just kept lying there. "I think I'm very sick," he said.
His wife and daughter went out to gather food from time to time." Just pick up anything you can find to eat so that you can keep your two children alive," he told his wife. "I'm very sick, but I'll get well. I wonder what I'll do. Maybe I won't get well. But all of you stay here," he said to them. "Over yonder there lives a certain man who looks like me. Later, when your daughter marries him, take whatever her husband gives you and make a life with him. When I die, that's what you must do." Coyote just lay there. "Perhaps the house may burn down some time," he said. "After you have seen my remains, go away."
Later, when the others had gone gathering, Coyote got some deer bones together, put them in the house, and set fire to it. It looked as if it had burned down by accident. The others came back and saw only charred bones left in the place where he had been lying.
The next morning, after they had mourned for him, they went to the place he had told them to go. They found the house, and stayed there.
Coyote had disguised himself by smearing his fur with pine-pitch so that, when the others got there, he married that woman. His mother-in-law and brother-in- law moved in and they all lived together.
Then the brothers-in-law took to hunting field mice. And once, when Coyote was digging, the coating of pitch fell out of his armpit. His brother-in-law saw it. They came home when it was getting dark.
The next day, when Coyote went hunting, his son stayed home and spoke to his mother. "Oh, mother! He is just like my father!" And he looks like him! He goes about things the same way! The stuff he smeared on himself has come out of his armpit! I saw it! I'm sure he's my father!"
So the mother and daughter packed everything up and they all left in a rage.
Coyote came back to find the place deserted. Bewildered, he looked all around; then he went away.
"I'm really a wicked one!" he said to himself. "When they are telling stories, people will say: 'Coyote married his own daughter, long ago.'"
He walked off along the edge of the forest.