The Theft of Fire

Along, long time ago, the people became tired of feeding on grass, like deer and wild animals, and they talked together how fire might be found. The Ti-amoni said, “Coyote is the best man to steal fire from the world below,” so he sent for Coyote.

When Coyote came, the Ti-amoni said, “The people wish for fire. We are tired of feeding on grass. You must go to the world below and bring the fire.” Coyote said, “It is well, father. I will go.”spiritfire

So Coyote slipped stealthily to the house of Sussistinnako. It was the middle of the night. Snake, who guarded the first door, was asleep, and he slipped quickly and quietly by. Cougar, who guarded the second door, was asleep, and Coyote slipped by. Bear, who guarded the third door, was also sleeping. At the fourth door, Coyote found the guardian of the fire asleep. Slipping through into the room of Sussistinnako, he found him also sleeping.

Coyote quickly lighted the cedar brand which was attached to his tail and hurried out. Spider awoke, just enough to know some one was leaving the room. “Who is there?” he cried. Then he called, “Some one has been here.” But before he could waken the sleeping Bear and Cougar and Snake, Coyote had almost reached the upper world.

Legend Credit:
A Legend of the Sia of New Mexico Katharine Berry Judson,
Legends of California and the Old Southwest, 1912

photo credit: unknown

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