Introduction: Coyote has finally realized that he doesn’t want to be a bully any longer. Eagle, Wolf, and Bear are hopeful he is sincere but a little wary. Coyote actually gets to prove his sincerity when the two hunters, Billy Joe and Jake, return to the forest with the intent to capture all four of them. Coyote has several tricks up his paw to save the day.
This story was written back in 2006 by the new-deceased Terry Gardner. He was a clinical social worker all the way up to the time of his death. He also was a published author. This Four Directions story, as he called them, is shared in his memory and with permission of his widow, Lin Gardner.
Coyote Becomes Mindful
© 2006 by Terry & Lin Gardner; Re-told and re-formatted with the permission of his widow, Lin Gardner, by Debbie Dunn
Scratch, scratch, scratch. Carl Coyote stood on his left leg. He busily scratched his head with his right forepaw. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Coyote’s right rear leg busily scratched his right side.
Coyote muttered to himself, “I’m really confused. I just scratch my head about all this.” Coyote didn’t realize he scratched his right side because he had fleas.
Coyote continued talking to himself, “I did my best to show Ellen Eagle, Ben Bear, and Wendy Wolf how good I am compared to them. They just didn’t buy it.”
Coyote was so busy talking to himself he never saw Eagle gliding in a giant circle over his head. Eagle’s hearing was so good she heard every word from Coyote.
Coyote continued talking aloud. “Eagle, Wolf, and Bear didn’t take my throwing rocks at them, calling them names, or trying to make them feel sorry for me,” moaned Coyote. “I just don’t know what to do.”
Coyote absentmindedly gave himself two more scratches each on his head and side. He told himself, “I’ve got to do something different. Bear, Wendy, and Eagle already told me they don’t want to be friends with me anymore if I don’t change my ways with them.”
Eagle broke into a smile and caught a wind updraft that carried her quickly out of sight from Coyote. Eagle flapped her huge wings a few times and soared over to her two friends, Wolf and Bear.
Eagle pulled her wings tightly to her body and plummeted in a power dive toward Wolf and Bear. Bear and Wolf dove to the ground as Eagle pulled out of her dive at the last possible moment before crashing into them.
Eagle instantly spread her wings and wheeled around the two. She landed and perched on a branch next to the head of Bear.
Wolf spoke first, “Eagle, we wished you wouldn’t do that. We know you won’t hurt us, but you might make a mistake sometime and crash into the ground.”
Eagle smiled as much as possible for an Eagle and answered, “You don’t have to worry about me. I really like your worry about me though. That feels good.”
Bear joined the talk, “Friends care for each other. Speaking of friends. We know you keep an eye on Coyote. What is he up to now? I don’t why, but I still like that character. He tries to bully us but is not very good at it.”
Eagle and Wendy grinned at Bear’s words. They knew he was right. Eagle explained to Bear and Wolf, “Coyote is spending time looking at his words and actions. I heard him as I circled over his head. He was so busy talking to himself he never heard me.”
Coyote never saw Eagle fly away. He continued talking to himself, “I don’t want to be a bully anymore. I like friends. I know how to be a friend. I will treat Eagle, Wolf, and Bear just like I’d like them to treat me. Hmm, they treated me the way I would like to be treated. I just have to imitate them.”
Eagle, Bear, and Wolf looked at each other. Wolf spoke the thought in their minds, “Let’s go hang out near Coyote. I’d like to hear what he’s saying. Maybe we could help him again.”
Eagle and Bear simply nodded in agreement. Bear said, “Let’s get near Coyote but not let him hear us. We might be able to tell if he really will stop bullying us.”
Eagle and Wolf nodded this time. Then the three friends moved so quietly toward Coyote that a breeze would be noisy.
Eagle, Bear, and Wolf were so intent on Coyote that they never heard the throb and roar of the ancient pick-up truck a half mile away. The wheeled antique strained and struggled as far up the road and then trail as possible. The two men inside the wheezing wonder bounced all over the cab like a carnival ride despite their seatbelts.
One of the men, Jake, said to his partner, “Billy Joe, this as far as we go in this contraption. We need to move very quiet anyway.”
Billy Joe answered, “Right, Jake. We have a few things to do. We WILL get even with that Eagle, Wolf, and Bear. We almost had that Coyote until those three saved his skin.”
Jake agreed, “NO ONE gets the best of Jake – the best hunter in these parts. That means humans, birds, and critters.”
Billy Joe disagreed. He said, “I’m not sure about you being the best hunter. I’m a lot trickier than you. We have to be really sneaky to catch all four of those varmints. That’s where I come into the picture.”
Jake cocked his head and answered, “I don’t care who the best hunter is. I just want to get those four varmints. We’ll make a fortune from them whether they’re alive or dead.”
Billy Joe exclaimed, “Yeah! I go for that one, REVENGE AND MONEY!!!!”
“Good, let’s get busy with our plans to get all FOUR of them,” urged Jake.
Billy Joe grinned and nodded his head. He motioned to Jake, and the two men began taking their tools and equipment from the truck.
As the two hunters plotted and schemed to get revenge on Eagle, Wolf, Coyote, and Bear, the three friends planted themselves where they could hear Coyote, but he could neither see nor hear them.
The three heard Coyote as he continued talking to himself, “Yup! I really want to treat Eagle, Bear, and Wolf just like they treat me. I want to be their friend. I wonder if they would like to be my friend. I won’t know until I find them.”
Eagle, Bear, and Wolf looked at each other in total surprise. They NEVER expected to hear those words from Coyote.
Eagle, Bear, and Wolf quietly stepped back a distance so they could talk without Coyote hearing them. Eagle spoke first, “I think it’s time for us to return to Coyote. We don’t have to let him know we heard him.”
Wolf had a grin on her face as she commented, “Eagle, I like that. We will see if Coyote really means what we heard him say.”
Bear agreed, “I like that, too. Coyote’s talk means nothing unless he walks it.”
Eagle and Wolf said together, “Right. Bear, we like your approach. He also tried to bully you the most before we all finally said NO MORE to him.”
Bear continued, “Hmm. Let’s invite him to play with us in our usual meadow. Eagle and I will go ahead to the meadow. Wolf, you go to him and invite him to join us. We will see if he tries to bully you. He will only have one person to bully then.”
Wolf and Eagle got Bear’s point right away. They nodded and turned toward the meadow. Wolf moved toward Coyote. Coyote was so wrapped up in himself, he never heard Wolf until she was four feet from him.
Wolf cleared her throat loudly and said, “Ahem, Coyote. I’m sorry to interrupt you, but Eagle, Bear, and I would like to invite you to play with us in the meadow.”
Coyote’s face broke into an ear-to-ear grin and he excitedly said, “Would I EVER like to play with all of you!!! I promise to be a great friend and not bully any of you ANYMORE.”
Wolf tossed her head and said, “Coyote, we hope you will not bully, but your actions tell us what you really mean. Now, let’s go and have some fun.”
As Wolf and Coyote turned to go up the trail toward the playground meadow, they heard a SHRIEK of terror and a ROAR of desperation.
Coyote immediately said, “We’d better not dash up there until we check it out. I thought I heard a truck motor before you came to me. Those two hunters might be up to no good. We can’t help Eagle and Bear if they catch us, too.”
“Wow! You have some real smarts! I agree with you. How did you know about the hunters?” asked Wolf.
Coyote replied, “I heard them. I might appear dumb sometimes, but my hearing is great. We best sneak up closer to Eagle and Bear so we can see what’s going on.”
Wolf and Coyote moved like two whispers on a breeze, and they finally saw Eagle and Bear. Eagle was screeching in terror as she struggled to free herself from a huge spider-web-thin net entangling her. Bear bellowed loud roars from the bottom of a deep pit.
Wolf and Coyote heard loud crashing and the sudden appearance of Billy Joe and Jake. They heard Jake yelled, “Yippee!! We’ve got two of them. What should we do now?”
“Let’s leave them safe and sound. They aren’t hurt and will stay here.” answered Billy Joe. “I want to get the other two NOW.”
Jake said, “Yeah. I want them, too.” Jake and Billy Joe left the scene to find Coyote and Wolf.
Wolf looked fearfully at Coyote and said, “What do we do now? We can’t free Eagle and Bear ourselves.”
Coyote was thoughtful and then said, “I have a plan. We need lots of help, but we have some great friends. We need help to get rid of Jake and Billy Joe and to free Bear and Eagle.”
Wolf simply said, “I’ll follow you.”
Coyote said, “Wolf, we have no time for explanations. I’ll explain later.” Coyote stomped his rear leg three times, called out a loud ‘BUZZ’, let out a loud ‘CAW! CAW!’, clapped his front paws three times, and chirped twice.
Wolf’s face registered his complete surprise as he saw a queen bee, a huge crow, a beaver, a rabbit, an ant, and a porcupine magically appear.
Coyote spoke quickly to his friends, “Eagle and Bear are caught. Crow, your kin and you untangle Eagle. Beaver, your kin and you please build a ladder for Bear. Queen Bee and Rabbit, please get your kin to help take care of Jake and Billy Joe – the hunters. Ant and Porcupine, please get your kin to take care of the hunters’ tires.”
All the animal leaders nodded and rushed to get their different relatives.
Coyote relaxed and said to Wolf, “This will be fun. I know you must wonder how all this happened. I have some close friends. I’m not always a bully.”
Loud caws pierced the air as a huge flock of crows circled Eagle’s net and began to peck at it.
The loud crash of falling saplings shook the ground. A family of beavers busily and quickly built a ladder for Bear to use to climb out of his pit trap.
Coyote and Wolf heard loud screams of terror and saw Jake and Billy Joe streaking past them. Two huge swarms of bees buzzed and worried the heads and upper bodies of Jake and Billy Joe. At the same time, a huge crowd of rabbits chased the two men. The rabbits took turns kicking the two men with their rear legs.
Wolf doubled over laughing. She said, “I feel a little sorry for those two but not too much. They have that treatment coming. What will the ants and porcupines do?”
Coyote answered, “Wait and see. You’ll hear soon enough.”
Wolf and Coyote heard loud and relieved cries from Jake and Billy Joe, “We’re safe! We’re safe!”
Wolf and Coyote heard the clatter of the wheezing engine and an ensuing roar. Then the pick-up truck began to move away. They heard four rapid-ear deafening bangs and cries of dismay from Jake and Billy Joe.
Wolf asked, “What happened?”
“The porcupine and ant clans decided they enjoy spiking and eating tires,” answered Coyote.
Eagle suddenly broke free and spread her wings. She screeched her thanks to the crows and swiftly flew to Wolf and Coyote. Bear climbed out of his pit trap and hugged as many beavers as he could reach. He then joined Wolf and Coyote.
Everyone in the meadow heard more screams from Jake and Billy Joe. Coyote explained, “The bee and rabbit clans will keep those two busy for a few more miles. Those two won’t forget this experience.”
The bees and rabbits later joined Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Coyote, the crows, the beavers, and the ants. They all talked excitedly about the day’s events.
Eagle loudly screeched, “Quiet, everyone. I have one thing to say for Wolf, Bear, and myself. Coyote is one GREAT friend!”
Coyote blushed from head to paw, and everyone there roared with laughter. Bear, Wolf, and Eagle moved to Coyote. They merged into a close group hug while all the others cheered Coyote’s obvious changes.
- Click “Story Comprehension Questions: Coyote Becomes Mindful” to get a copy of the twelve questions for your class to discuss or write about or both.
OTHER STORIES BY TERRY GARDNER
Four Coyote tales
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Meets his Master
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Courage to Fear
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Travels Inside
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Becomes Mindful
Story featuring Bear
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Bear becomes bearable
Seven Stories from the East
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Dog Learns to Dance
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Teeter-Totter Eagle reviews her past
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Beaver Busy
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Coyote and Fawn learn about growth within
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Argument between the Deer and Rabbits (Coming Soon)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Wise Guy(Coming Soon)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Flying Eights(Coming Soon)
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