Tricksters (Continued)

by Terri Windling

Sit down, have some coffee, pay attention now. Here’s one more about Coyote. He’s walkin’ there by that lake yonder, that lake over there by my uncle’s place. And Coyote, he’s tired, he’s hungry, his bag is heavy, and he sees some geese. So he sets this big heavy bag down on the ground.

"Coyote, Coyote" say them geese, "what’s in that big old heavy bag?"

"It’s songs," he says.

"Coyote," says them geese, "how come you have so many songs?"

He puffs up his chest and he smiles with all them teeth and then Coyote says, "I have strong visions, and that’s how come I have so many songs."

"Well okay then, let’s have us a big dance."

But Old Man Coyote shakes his head. "These are powerful songs. You can’t mess around with these songs. If you want to dance, you’re going to have to dance just like I tell you to dance."

"Well okay," them geese agree.

They pound down the grass by the edge of that lake and make a big place for dancing. Coyote takes out his dancing sticks. "Now you got to close your eyes," he says. "These songs are powerful medicine songs. If you open your eyes you might get hurt real bad."

So the geese all close their eyes and Coyote sings and the geese commence to dance.

"Keep your eyes closed!" Coyote says, and he hits one of them geese with his sticks. "Wait, stop!" says Coyote. "This here geese opened his eyes and now he’s dead! You’d better all keep your eyes closed."

And then them geese, they start to dance again.

Coyote snatches another one and commences to strangle him. That geese is squawking, and Coyote says, "That’s right, my friends, sing loud as you can!"

But one old geese, he opens one eye just a peep, and now he sees what’s goin’ on. "Run away, brothers!" he cries, and off they go — but not before Old Man Coyote fills his belly real good.

"That was sure some good trick," says Coyote, and he goes along his way.

Mad Hatter and Hare by Iain McCaig

End Notes:

1. Quoted from "The Exception Who Proves the Rules: Ananse the Akan Trickster" by Christopher Vecsey, published in Mythical Trickster Figures, edited by Hynes and Doty (University of Alabama Press, 1997). (Continue reading)

2. Quoted from The Trickster in West Africa: A Study of Mythic Irony and Sacred Delight by Robert D. Pelton (University of California Press, 1980). (Continue reading)

3. Quoted from "West African Tricksters: Web of Purpose, Dance of Delight" by Robert D. Pelton, published in Mythical Trickster Figures, edited by Hynes and Doty (University of Alabama Press, 1997). (Continue reading)

4. Quoted from "The Trickster in Relation to Greek Mythology" by Karl Kerényi, published in The Trickster edited by Paul Radin (Bell Publishing, 1956). (Continue reading)

5. Quoted from Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1998). (Continue reading)

6. From "Transformations of the Trickster" by Helen Lock, published online in Southern Cross Review, 2002. (Continue reading)

7. Quoted from Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1998). (Continue reading)

8. Quoted from American Indian Trickster Tales by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz (Viking 1997). (Continue reading)

9. Quoted from Crazy Wisdom and Tibetan Teaching Tales Told by Lamas by Lama Surya Das, published online on the Lama Surya Das website. (Continue reading)

10. Quoted from "The Sacred and the Profane of Spanish Carnaval" by Alan Weisman, published in The Los Angeles Times Magazine, April 11, 1993, and available online here. (Continue reading)

11. Quoted from Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1998). (Continue reading)

Humpty Dumpty by Iain McCaig

Further Reading

Fiction
The Delight Makers by Adolph F. Bahdelier
Trickster Tales by J.P. Briggs
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
Someplace to Be Flying by Charles de Lint
Medicine Road by Charles de Lint
The Trickster and the Troll by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
The Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
The Trickster by Muriel Gray
Contrarywise by Zora Greenhalgh
The Feast of the Trickster by Beth Hilgartner
The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King
One Good Story, That One by Thomas King
Tripmaster Monkey by Maxine Hong Kingston
Coyote Morning by Lisa Lenard-Cook
The Tricksters by Margaret Mahey
Swords in the Mist: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser by Fritz Leiber
Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
Bone Game by Louis Owens
Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
Quicksilver by Stephanie Spinner
Ever: A Trickster in the Ashes by Felicity Savage
A Rumor of Gems by Ellen Steiber
"The Fox Wife" by Ellen Steiber (novella, published in Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears)
Shadow of the Fox by Ellen Steiber
Deluge by Albertine Strong
Hannah’s Garden by Midori Snyder
Chancers by Gerald Vizenor
Griever: An American Monkey King in China by Gerald Vizenor
"Oshkiwiinag: Heartlines on the Trickster Express" by Gerald Vizenor (novella, published in Blue Dawn, Red Earth and in The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Vol. 10)
The Trickster of Liberty by Gerald Vizenor
The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
Monkey: A Folk Novel of China by Ch’eng–en Wu, translated by Arthur Waley

Myth and Folk Tale Collections
African Folktales by Roger D. Abrahams
Afro–American Folktales by Roger D. Abrahams
Ananse the Spider: Tales from an Ashanti Village by Peggy Appiah
The Pineapple Child and Other Tales from Ashanti by Peggy Appiah
West African Trickster Tales by Martin Bennett
Old Man Coyote by Clara Kern Bayliss
Tales from the Land of the Sufis by Mojdeh Bayat
Doctor Coyote: A Native American Aesop’s Fables by John Bierhorst
Tales of Uncle Tompa: The Legendary Rascal of Tibet by Rinjing Dorje
Coyote Stories by Mourning Dove
American Indian Trickster Tales by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz
The Zande Trickster by E.E. Evans–Pritchard
The Guizer: A Book of Fools by Alan Garner
Folktales of Joha, Jewish Trickster by Matilda Koen–Sarano
Giving Birth to Thunder, Sleeping with his Daughter: Coyote Builds North America by
Barry Lopez
How Rabbit Tricked Otter and Other Cherokee Trickster Stories by Chief Wilma Mankiller
Legends of the Hasidim by Jerome R. Minz
Coyote Stories of the Montana Salish Indians from the Montana Historical Society Press
Navajo Coyote Tales by William Morgan
Till Eulenspiegel: His Adventures by Paul Oppenheimer
Yoruba Trickster Tales by Oyekan Owomoyela
Coyote the Trickster: Legends of the North American Indians by Gail Robinson and
Douglas Hill
Tales of Sri Thanonchai: Thailand’s Artful Trickster by Maenduan Tipaya
Nez Perce Coyote Tales: The Myth Cycle by Deward E. Walker, Jr. and Daniel N. Matthews
Omaha Tribal Myths and Trickster Tales by Roger Welsh
Folk Tales from Korea by In–Sob Zong

Trickster Collections for Children
Pedro Fools the Gringo and Other Tales of a Latin American Trickster by Maria Cristina Brusca and Tona Wilson
A Ring of Tricksters by Virginia Hamilton and Barry Moser
Sister Tricksters: Rollicking Tales of Clever Females by Robert and David San Souci
Trickster Tales: Forty Folk Stories From Around the World by Josepha Sherman and
David Boston
The Barefoot Book of Trickster Tales by Richard Walker and Claudio Munoz

Trickster Studies
Living Sideways: Tricksters in American Indian Oral Traditions by Franchot Ballinger
A Social History of the Fool by Sandra Billington
Hermes the Thief: The Evolution of a Myth by Norman O. Brown
Synchronicity: Science, Myth, and the Trickster by Allan Combs and Mark Holland
The Praise of Folly by Erasmus, translated by John Wilson
The Irish Trickster by Alan Harrison
Krishna, the Butter Thief by John Stratton Hawley
Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde
Mythical Trickster Figures: Contours, Contexts, and Criticisms, edited by William H. Hynes and William G. Doty
Madcaps, Screwballs & Con Women: The Female Trickster in American Culture by
Lori Landay
Mercury Rising: Women, Evil, and the Trickster Gods by Deldon Anne McNeely
Kitsuné: Japan’s Fox of Mystery, Romance, and Humor by Kiyoshi Nozaki
The Trickster in West Africa by Robert D. Pelton
The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology by Paul Radin
Trickster Lives: Culture and Myth in American Fiction edited by Jeanne Campbell Reesman
Writing Tricksters: Mythic Gambols in American Ethnic Literature by Jeanne Rosier Smith
The Incredible Survival of Coyote by Gary Snyder
Seth, God of Confusion by H.T. Velde
The Fool: His Social and Literary History by Enid Welsford

Miscellaneous
Outfoxing Coyote (poems) by Carolyn Dunn
Elderberry Flute Song (poems/stories) by Peter Blue Cloud
The Rez Sisters (a play in two acts) by Tompson Highway
Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow (poems) by Ted Hughes
The History of Clowns for Beginners (illustrated history) by Joe Lee

On the Web
Coyote Madonna, a webzine edited by Munro Sickafoose
Trickster’s Way, a webzine edited by C.W. Spinks
Transgression, a Mythic Journeys conversation on the subject of tricksters and transgressors
Merry Robin: The Native British Trickster, an article by John Matthews