Coyote And The Wasichu Trader


There was a white man who was such a sharp trader that nobody ever got the better of him. Or so people said, until one day a man told him: "There's somebody who can outcheat you anytime, anywhere."

"That's not possible," said the man. "I've had a trading post for many years, and I've cheated all the Indians around here."

"Even so, Coyote can beat you in any deal."

"Let's see whether he can. Where is Coyote?"

"Over there, that tricky-looking guy."

"Okay, all right, I'll try him." The wasichu trader went over to Coyote.

"Hey, let's see you outsmart me."

"I'm sorry," said Coyote, "I'd like to help you out, but I can't do it without my cheating medicine."

"Cheating medicine, hah! Go get it."

"I live miles from here and I'm on foot. But if you'd lend me your fast horse?"

"Well, all right, you can borrow it. Go on home and get your cheating medicine!"

"Well, friend, I'm a poor rider. Your horse is afraid of me, and I'm afraid of him. Lend me your clothes; then your horse will think that I am you."

"Well, all right. Here are my clothes; now you can ride him. Go get that medicine. I'm sure I can beat it!"

So Coyote rode off with the wasichu's fast horse and his fine clothes, while the man stood there nekkid.

- Told at Grass Mountain, Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, 1974.

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