Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let Us Exchange Our Buttocks

Franz Boas, Kathlamet Texts (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1901), pp. 84-87:
Now they were hungry. Coyote mended his arrows. They went to shoot birds. Early in the morning they went. At night they came home. Badger had killed many, Coyote had killed one duck. Next morning they went again to shoot birds. At night they came home. Coyote had killed two, Badger had killed many. On the following day they went again and came back at night. Coyote had nothing. Badger had shot many. Thus it was every day. One night Coyote thought: "Let us exchange our buttocks," and he said: "What do you think? Let us exchange our buttocks." Badger replied: "I like my own buttocks. I know them: you do not know them."

The next day they went again and came back in the evening. Badger had caught many, and Coyote had two. Badger had no arrows. He just broke wind at those birds. Coyote had arrows, and behold, he got nothing. On the following morning it was just the same. Badger got many. He merely broke wind, and they were dead. Coyote sometimes got one, sometimes none. At night he said again: "Let us exchange our buttocks." Badger said: "No." Every evening Coyote said the same thing and made his brother tired.

Then Badger said: "You make me tired. Let us exchange them." Then they exchanged their buttocks. Now Coyote was glad. He was awake, and thought: "Now I have fooled you. Badger. Now I shall get many." He rose early and quickly. Then he broke wind. He arose and went out. He went with long strides and broke wind: pō, pō, pō, pō. He made slow steps and broke wind: pu, pu, pu, pu. When he stepped with long strides, he broke wind loudly; when he went slowly, he broke wind slowly. Now they went to hunt birds. They came home in the evening. Coyote had nothing, hut Badger had caught many. Coyote tried to go up to the birds with long steps, but every time he stepped he broke wind: pō, pō, pō. On the following day they went again and came back in the evening. Coyote had nothing, and Badger had killed many.

Then Coyote thought: "I made a mistake: I will return his buttocks to him." He said: "What do you think? I will return your buttocks to you." Badger did not say anything. Coyote tried to keep his buttocks closed, but he could not do it. He almost reached the ducks; then they smelled him and flew away. Again they came home, and he said: "I will return your buttocks to you." But Badger was angry. "You make me tired." he said. "I gave them to you. Now you are making me tired again. Take out yours first." Coyote took out the buttocks of Badger. Then Badger took out those of Coyote and threw them into the water, while he put his own buttocks into himself. Now Coyote's buttocks drifted down the rapid creek. Coyote pursued them. Badger went away.

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