Coyote, Bobcat and the Corn

A Navajo Legend

Story told by Don Mose, Jr.
Illustrated by Molly Trainor

Coyote, Bobcat and the Corn


Cultural Note
According to Navajo tradition, this is a
winter tale. Coyote stories should only be
told in the winter time.

Also see:

Father Sky and Mother Earth- A Navajo Legend

Owl and Woodpecker – A Navajo Tale

You can order a printed copy of the book from:

San Juan School District
Heritage Language Resource Center
28 West 200 North
Phone: 435-678-1230
FAX: 435-678-1283
Store Hours: 9:00 – 4:30
Monday through Thursday

Online order at this Website:

We accept purchase orders, credit cards, and checks.
We bill only for items shipped and actual cost of shipping.
Personal orders ship after payment is received.
Please estimate 10% of purchase total for shipping cost.

Trotting Coyote Poster

Coyote or Ma’ii is an important character in the creation stories of the Dinè (Navajo).

Trotting Coyote Poster

Coyote the trickster is both good and evil. Cunning and confusing he refers to everyone as his cousin, animals and humans alike.

Each winter we tell our children Coyote stories so they can learn lessons from his mistakes and misadventures and avoid those pitfalls in their lives.

His mistakes, foibles, curiosity, and misadventures have brought both good and evil to the Dinè. His stories teach us about ourselves and what we should leave alone.

11″ by 17″ Poster $2.00
18″ by 22″ Poster $6.00

You can order from:

San Juan School District
Heritage Language Resource Center
28 West 200 North
Phone: 435-678-1230
FAX: 435-678-1283
Store Hours: 9:00 – 4:30
Monday through Thursday

Online order at this Website:

We accept purchase orders, credit cards, and checks.
We bill only for items shipped and actual cost of shipping.
Personal orders ship after payment is received.
Please estimate 10% of purchase total for shipping cost.

Navajo Constellation Winter Stories

 The posters offer an excellent way to illustrate Winter Stories.

Constellation Rabbit Tracts

Navajo Constellation Poster Set

The Constellation set includes 10 illustrated posters, each 11″ x 17″ printed on heavy cardstock.

Constellation Poster set

They can also be used with the book, “Coyote Tosses the Stars,” as well as “The String Book.” Original illustrations were created by Theresa Breznau. Each illustration is accompanied by a description written in both Navajo and English languages.

Set of 10 – 11” x 17”

Ordering Information

San Juan School District
Heritage Language Resource Center
28 West 200 North
Phone: 435-678-1230
FAX: 435-678-1283
Store Hours: 9:00 – 4:30
Monday through Thursday

Online order at this Website:

We accept purchase orders, credit cards, and checks.
We bill only for items shipped and actual cost of shipping.
Personal orders ship after payment is received.
Please estimate 10% of purchase total for shipping cost.

Coyote Tales – Coyote And Rabbit

*Please remember that the telling of Coyote Stories is restricted to the winter storytelling months, October through February.

Coyote And Rabbit-1


One day ‘ Coyote was out walking.
He was walking in the forest.
He saw Rabbit.
He started to chase Rabbit.
Rabbit ran in a hole.
Coyote said,
” I’ll get you out of that hole,
Let me think,”.
Coyote sat down to think.
Now I know: I’ll get you out.
I’ ll get weeds.
I’ll put them in the hole.
I’ll set fire to them.
Then you will come out,” said Coyote




Coyote And Rabbit-2

Rabbit laughed.
No, I will not come out my cousin .
I like weeds. I’ ll eat the weeds.”
“Do you eat milkweeds ” asked Coyote.
I’ll get milkweeds.”
“Yes, I like milkweeds.
I’ll eat the milkweeds,” said Rabbit.
” Do you eat foxtail gross”asked Coyote .
” I’ll get foxtail gross
“Yes, I like foxtail gross”.
I’ll eat the foxtail gross,” said Rabbit.
“Do you eat rabbit brush” asked Coyote.
“I’ll get rabbit brush,” I like rabbit brush best of all.
I’ll eat the rabbit brush too, said Rabbit.
. “I know,” said Coyote. “Pinyon pitch. ”
Rabbit looked sad. Coyote And Rabbit-3

” You will kill me. I do not eat pinyon pitch,” said Rabbit .
Coyote was happy.
He ran from pinyon tree to pinyon tree .
He gathered pinyon pitch . .
He put the pinyon pitch in the hole .
He set the . pinyon pitch on fire.
He bent low. He blew on the fire.
” Come closer,” said Rabbit .
“Blow harder.”
Coyote come closer.
He blew harder. Coyote And Rabbit-4




“I’m nearly dead,” said Rabbit ..
“Came closer’

Blow a little harder'”
Coyote come closer.
He blew harder.

He shut his eyes.
He blew harder.
Rabbit turned.
He kicked hard .
The fire flew in Coyote’s’ face .
Rabbit ran away.
He was laughing very hard.

The Navajo Nation Zoo

The Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Park is the only Native American owned-and-operated Zoo in the Country.

Navajo Nation Zoo 1

Zoo Hours: 10 am – 4:30pm, Monday – Saturday, and most major holidays.

Admission is Free for everyone!

Navajo Nation Zoo

The Navajo Nation Zoo and Botanical Park offers a number of services to the Navajo People and visitors from all over the world. Nearly all of our products and services are free of charge too!

Free guided tours to school groups
Picnic areas for rental for your next event
Event Rental Of The Navajo Nation Zoo

The Animals at the Zoo
The Navajo Zoo has over 100 animals representing just over 50 species. All of these animals are on permanent display for our visitors’ enjoyment. As you notice from the links above, we have a great collection of common animals that are native to the Navajo Nation and Southwest U.S.

Coyotes Of The Navajo Nation ZooThe Navajo Zoo has two Coyotes, named Codee and Lucky Sophia. The Zoo acquired young Codee in May 2011 from Sanders, AZ, and Lucky Sophia came all the way from Mojave Valley, AZ in February 2012 to live at the Navajo Zoo.

Cougars Of The Navajo Nation Zoo
The Navajo Zoo has three Cougars on exhibit. The eldest is named Sophie and came to the Navajo Zoo in 1997 from Yuma, AZ. She is rather shy. Previously she shared her enclosure with a very friendly male named Napoleon, who died in 2008 after living at the Zoo for 18 years. In September 2011 we introduced two new older cubs to Sophie. One is a male that already weighs 90-100 pounds before his first birthday; the other is a female (photo above) that is half the size of Sophie. The new male was named Hunter and the female was named Kay-bah through the Zoo’s Adopt-an-Animal Program.

Navajo creation story – Nihaltsoh -The third World (Yellow World)

Nihaltsoh – The Navajo Yellow World

 Navajo Third World

Creation Story Poster- Ni’hodilhil First World
Illustrations by Theresa Breznau.
© 2013 Heritage Language Resource Center. All rights reserved
To purchase see bottom of page.


On the wands, the beings passed into the Third World. Blue Bird was the first to come through. He found the world was yellow. After Blue Bird, First Man, First Woman, Coyote and one of the insects came. After that, the other beings entered the Yellow World.

The Yellow World was large. Many new things were there. A great river crossed this land from north to south. It was the Female River.
There was another river crossing it from east to west, it was the Male River. This Male River flowed through the Female River and on  and the name of this place is tqoalna’osdli, the Crossing of the waters.

Animals in the Yellow world
a. Squirrel
b. Chipmunk
c. Mice
d. Turkey
e. Foxes
f. Deer
g. Spiders
h. Lizards
i. Water Monster

Others in the Yellow World
1. Water Monster
2. Turquoise Boy
3. While Shell Woman
4. Coyote
5. Rivers that Cross
6. Separation of Sexes


In this world there were six mountains. These are the mountains that are important to Navajos today.

The Four Sacred Mountains

In the East was  Blanco Peak  Sisnaajinii, the Standing Black Sash. Its ceremonial name is Yolgaidzil, the Dawn or White Shell Mountain.
In the South stood Mount Taylor Tsoodzil, the Great Mountain, also called Mountain Tongue. Its ceremonial name is Yodoltizhidzil, the Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain.
In the West stood the San Francisco Peaks  Dook’oslid,  Its ceremonial name is Dichi’li dzil, the Abalone Shell Mountain.
In the North stood the La Plata Mountains Debe’ntsa, Many Sheep Mountain.
Its ceremonial name is Bash’zliinidzil. Obsidian Mountain.

Other Sacred Mountains

ln the middle was Huerfano Mesa.  Dzilna’odili, the Upper Mountain. It was very sacred, and its name means also the Center Place, and the people moved around it. Its ceremonial name is Ntl’isdzil. Precious Stone or Banded Rock Mountain.

Near this was a cone-shaped mountain called Gobernador Knob,  called Chori’i or Dzil na’odilicholi, and it was also a sacred mountain.

Different animals lived around these mountains. Squirrel, Chipmunk, Turkey, Deer, Snake and Lizard lived there. But these animals looked different from animals we see today. They were spirit beings.

The beings were happy in the Yellow World. Then one day something happened. Coyote took Water Monster’s baby. Water Monster was very angry. He was so angry that he decided to make it rain. lt rained and rained. The water rose higher and higher.
Then the water began to flood. The beings did not know where to go to escape the flood. First Man tried to help them. He told them to come to Blanco Peak. But the water kept rising. It rose higher than the mountain.

First Man wondered what to do. He planted a cedar tree. But this did not grow higher than the water. He planted a pine tree. But the pine tree was too short. He planted a male reed. The reed was still too short. Finally, First Man planted a female reed. This reed grew to the sky.

The beings climbed onto the reed. They started to climb up. When they got to the top, they found another world. This was the Fourth, White World. This is the place where all beings live today.


The First World “Nihodilhil” (Black World)

Nihodootlizh – Second World (Blue World)

 Nihaltsoh -The third World (Yellow World)

 Nihalgai – The Fourth, Glittering or White World


Creation Story Poster Set of Four

4-creation posters

This poster set illustrates and explains the Creation Narrative in simple, design and text.
Each poster depicts the beings and landmarks associated with that World.
Illustrations by Theresa Breznau.
17” x 22” laminated on heavy cardstock.
Sold as a set for $24.00
Also available individually for $6.00 each

To Purchase:
Heritage Language Resource Center
Navajo and Ute Language Resources
28 West 20 North
Blanding, Utah 8451
435 -678 -1230

Navajo Creation Story 2 – House God

First Man and First Woman placed two sacred deerskins on the ground as before. On the buckskin a shell of abalone was placed, on the doeskin a bowl made of pearl. The shell contained a piece of clear quartz crystal, and the bowl a moss agate. The objects were dressed respectively in garments of white, blue, yellow, and black wind, and were carried to the end of the land in the east by First Man and First Woman. With their spirit power Astsa• Ha¡sta­n and Astsa• A’stsa¡n sent both the shell and the bowl far out over the ocean, giving life to the crystal and the agate as they did so, directing that the one who would be known as Cha•honaa¡i, the Sun, should journey homeward through the sky by day, shedding light and warmth as he passed; the other, KlÄ•honaái, the Moon, must travel the same course by night. To each were given homes of turquoise in the east and west, and none but the Winds and the gods, HaschaltÄ­ and Haschagan, were to visit them.

Upon their return Astsa• A’stsa¡nn and Astsa• A’stsa¡n were asked if they would leave the sky in so plain a condition, or if they intended to beautify it with jewels. They replied that it was their intention to dot it with many bright stars. All those who had bits of white shell, turquoise, crystal, pearl, or abalone were directed to contribute them for the making of the stars. These were placed upon the two deerskins by First Man and First Woman.

The seven stars of the Great Dipper, Na´hokos Bakaon were the first to be set in the sky. Next, those of Na’hokos Baa¡d, his female complement, were placed in the blue dome. Then followed A’tatso and A’ta’tsaa­, Sa’ntso and Sontsa’a­, and Dalga’hat, the Small Dipper, Sonha’tsÄ­ and Klaka¡i Sta’a­, the Milky Way.

In each instance the arrangement of the stars in the constellation was made when the fragments of precious stones were placed upon the skins, where Ástsĕ Hástĭn and Ástsĕ Ĕstsán imparted glowing light to them and delivered them to the Winds to carry to the sky. Only a small portion of the gems had been thus transformed and sent up, when a fine-looking, well-dressed stranger came up to watch the proceedings. In reply to his question as to what was being done, his attention was directed to the sun, the moon, and the many stars already created, while more were soon to follow. The man was Coyote, son of Darkness. He watched the work for a time, when, seeing his chance, he caught the large deerskin containing the pile of jewel fragments and flung it skyward, blowing into the bits four times ere they could fall, scattering them all over the sky. Thus it is that there are myriads of stars irregular in arrangement and without names. As he strode off Coyote explained curtly that there were already enough sacred things to worship.

Then the Winds were stationed at the horizon to guard the earth, and at the four sacred mountains in the east, south, west, and north, to act as messengers for the Hascha’aa and Hascha’gana Talking Gods and House Gods who had their abodes on them. On the same plane, one behind the other, the Winds were ranged in streaks, White, Blue, Yellow, and Black. Outside of all Coyote placed a streak of Red Wind. This forced itself to the inside many years later and gave rise to disease and premature death, for as the good Winds are life-breathing, so the evil Winds are life-taking. Even now the Red Wind takes the lives of many children every year.

Haschógan - Navajo House God

Haschógan – Navajo House God

Photograph 1904 by E.S. Curtis

Second in general importance only to Haschaalta­ among Navaho deities is the House God, here shown. His position among the gods is quite parallel with that of peace chief among Indians in life. Like the majority of the myth characters he has numerous counterparts in the various world quarters.

The Da’ai†n made their homes near Cha’a­li, close to the place of emergence. It was there that all ceremonies took place. From their homes the people saw a dark Cloud settle and cover the top of Cha’a­li. For four days it kept lowering until the mountain was completely shrouded in dark blue fog. They did not know whether it portended good or evil, but realized that something of moment was at hand. Astsa• Ha¡sta­n ascended the mountain through the fog to learn what it meant, but found nothing unusual. As he turned to descend, a faint, apparently distant cry reached his ears, but he paid no heed. Ere long the same sound came to him again; then a third and a fourth time, whereupon he turned and walked in the direction whence it came. On the eastern slope he found a tiny baby, and wrapping it in rays of sunbeams he carried it home to his wife.

The Cloud that descended was a portion of the sky which had come to meet the Earth; from the union of the two Ya’lkaia’stsa¡n, White-Shell Woman, was born. In twelve days the baby had grown to maturity, subsisting on pollen only.Astsa• Ha¡sta­n and Astsa• Astsa¡n sent messengers to all the Da­ga­n to tell them of the marvel and to summon them to a ceremony which would be held four days later. Word was sent also to the gods on the four sacred mountains.

Ástsa• a’stsa¡n dressed Ya’lkai Astsa¡n in fine garments ornamented with beautiful jewels. At the western side of her hogan she placed a sacred deerskin and laid upon it several wool and cotton blankets, covering the whole with a mountain-lion skin. These were arranged as the seat of honor for White-Shell Woman, for whom was about to be held a ceremony celebrating her maturity.