At Tamástslikt’s first community academy last Saturday, February 11, John Bevis told why Indian people see a frog in the moon rather than the man-in-the-moon. He told how a certain frog fell in love with Coyote’s seventh wife. The frog was shown how to use a certain smoke that he whisked under her tipi flap to cause her to fall in love with him. That was quite a feat because how does one target smoke at the right wife. Finally she noticed him. “You’re so ugly, you’re kinda cute,” she said. He courted her and urged her to run away with him. “But that might be wrong,” said she. Nevertheless, away they went. When Coyote found out, he caught up to them. He’d catch the frog in his jaws and toss him up in the air repeatedly until bumps started appearing all over frog’s back. The moon saw how Frog was being attacked without mercy and said, “come up here,” so frog jumped into the moon where he is today. You woulda had to be there. Next time there’s a full moon, look for the frog.
I had heard a different story about why there’s a frog in the moon. This time it was the Frog Maiden who was not very well socialized shall we say. She was what is called ‘láwyi’—any ole way. She was incredibly boy-crazy and didn’t know how to act. When two very handsome young men appeared, she threw herself at the first one. He simply couldn’t peel her off his person. He told his brother, “I had wanted to become the sun, but now I’m in this predicament, so you be the sun, and I’ll be the moon, so I don’t show my face as often.” Úuya yuuts, poor guy. One never knows the day nor the hour when a frog will jump in your eye and ruin your life.
Thomas Morning Owl once told a story about Coyote marrying his own daughters. Through trickery, he married them. They didn’t know he was their dad because he was in disguise as a handsome man. He used his magical powers to make himself appear as a great hunter. He was secretly transforming field mice into deer and elk that the family lived on. He knew his magic would stay as long as he did not eat his own kill. He got so starving, he couldn’t stand it a minute longer and ate ravenously of the food his wives prepared. Instantly, everything turned back into mouse. His wives/daughters were wearing beautiful buckskin dresses they had made from his hunting. Something horrible happened to them as their dresses buckled and shrank. Once again somebody else pays for Coyote’s treachery. Hope those guys don’t mind my synopsizing their stories that are so much better to hear in person. These are not stories from a book.
These are stories for Valentine’s day. Watch out and be judicious, young ones.