camouflage well in brown grasses
Photo by V. Hayes
On the prairie the dark of
the night was so complete. If one held their hand up in front of them it was
as if that person was blind with no ability to see at all. This total
darkness was what stopped activity. It wasn't the self discipline for clean
living to cause folks to go to bed early but, it was this situation. Lamp
light inside gave no great desire to work at any project either. For this
reason prairie people and Native American people turned in, very early.
Coyote family was asleep in
their den. The pups curled up beside their mother and were still. Bright
daylight was not their favorite time to roam about out in the open. The
mother coyote was sleeping too, but very lightly. She wanted to keep alert
in order to hear her mate come back into the den. He was, she knew,
slipping quietly through the shallow ravines searching here and there for a
large rat or field mouse. His slinking along made it possible for him to
keep from standing out in the terrain since, the ravines were just a little
deeper than his height.
Mother coyote rested her head
on paws while her eyes were now open. She was busy with observation. The
darkness was falling upon the hills at a distance and there was the early
twinkling of evening stars the watchful one could see. This was to be a good
night for hunting. The darkness was a promise of cover for the coyote
family. The principal place they were loving to raid, was the humans own
Her alert way was rewarded.
The father to the young pups was now there inside the den. He was nervously
moving around the tiny pack. Touching the nose of his mate and then softly
nuzzling the pups gave them an opportunity to awaken.
Have you found a place for
our hunt tonight? The mother coyote spoke softly to her mate.
The humans had a buffalo hunt and there are many bones scattered at the
deep ravine close to their camp." "The bones are left over from their
feasting. We will go there as soon as it is really dark. We will wait.
I'm so hungry and I know the
pups are too.
Never mind. We will have
to wait. I was walking in a shallow ravine when I came face to face with
a young boy. He was very startled. I'm sure he has told everyone.
I can't believe you were
face to face with him!
Oh yes! We were both so
startled. He stood staring right into my eyes and I into his. I jumped
up over the ravine and ran off. They see us so seldom, you know. He
will go home and tell everyone. So, we will need to be very quiet.
With stealth and cunning the
little pack crept upon the camp ground. They were so quiet and after the
coyotes had their fill they too carried away bones with them back to their
The next morning old Ah HeSka'
(White Wing) stood at the top of the ridge of the crevice. Hmm. I see
the old man has been here!
Grampa! Why do you call
coyote old man?
Because he is wise, you
see. He waited until we had our belly full and were sleeping well before
he came to visit. The night was dark too and this gave him an opportunity
to slip in here. That is why we call him old man. He thinks like a
wise old man, instead of like an animal.
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