Children of the Coyote
Bigmouth's Skirts the Desert
Far to the Northeast
a tall hunter works his way along a ridge. Not far away he hears a coyote wail. He stops
to listen, then is struck by a feeling of loss and sorrow. He slowly lowers himself to a
rock and listens for a moment.
"The Speaker has
passed" he whispers.
Bigmouth sits for a
while contemplating the land around him. To the West, past a couple small hills is a large
expanse of desolate land. The desert narrows at its eastern end. Here the ridge he is
following climbs to a peak, the Western slope of which has been blown off by some ancient
catastrophe. Past the summit another ridge slopes down to the Northwest where it joins the
long black line of a lava flow along the northern border of the wasteland. Far to the
Northwest past several low ranges of hills he can see the top of a large cone that is part
of the Western divide. A plume of black smoke rises from the distant mountain staining the
sky black to North and East. To the South and East the hills diminish until they disappear
into a blue haze that is the endless prairie.
Bigmouth has been
traveling along this course for two days, staying in the hill country skirting the open
badlands. Although finding food is a challenge, it has not been impossible. He has managed
to kill two rabbits and a grouse. He was able to scare off three wolves from a dear
carcass. The kill is fresh. The wolves had opened the paunch but not had time to eat the
organs. He removes the balder to use as a canteen. The steaming liver he devours with many
exclamations of pleasure.
Using his teeth
fingernails and mean strength he removes a large portion of the hide. Laying the hide out
on the ground with the hair down he dissects what he can of the dear with out tools. The
first parts he takes are the kidneys and heart with all there associated fat. Then he
works his fingers around the back straps. Pulling hard he frees each one from along
the spine. These parts he warps up in the hide and ties the bundle with a long strip of
skin torn from the animal. When he is through, he stands picks up his spear, sticks it
through the tie on the bundle and puts it on his shoulder. Before he leaves he turns to
the wolves who are watching sullenly from a short distance away.
"Thank you my
friends for allowing me to take a share of your kill." He says in a loud confident
voice. "I have only taken what I need, the rest I leave to you. Remember to tell your
brethren that Bigmouth respects his wolf kin and appreciates their help."
He turns to the carcass
of the deer. "Thank you my friend deer for giving up your life to feed these wolves
With the spear over his
shoulder he continues his journey.
That was this morning.
Now it is mid afternoon. He sits on a rock looking out over the badlands, He is intrigued
by the smoking mountain and decides to make that his destination. He feels sure that
Lizardfoot will also be heading that way. He can see a thin column of smoke rising from
the middle of the old lava flow some miles to the West.
would appear that Lizard has made it across the desert." Bigmouth thinks. "He
is the only one besides Bringer of Fire, who knows the secret of making fire. Curse
Bringer for keeping the secret to him self. All the people should know how to do this. Now
I understand what Coyote meant about Bringer being more interested in his own position
than the welfare of the tribe as a whole. When I find Lizardfoot I will ask him to teach
me the fire making ritual and when I return to the tribe I will teach the secret to all
Bigmouth rises and
begins to walk North. After a few steps he stops, he turns and looks at the rock that he
had been sitting on. He thinks for a moment, then he looks around as if to see if anyone
In a low self conscious
voice he addresses the small boulder. "Thank you for the seat, brother stone."
He then, pivots and
confidently continues his journey along the ridge.
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