Thomas Doty – Storyteller

A Native View

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Coyote and the Politicians

Coyote was prancing upriver and he came to a village that smelled really bad. Being an offensive pooch himself, there's not much that offends Coyote. But his long nose is sensitive to odors, and this village reeked. Coyote asked around and was told that this was the village where politicians lived.

This was a long time ago, before politicians had mouths. To get people's attention, they waved their arms and farted a lot, and that's why the village smelled so bad.

Coyote decided to do his civic duty -- and improve air quality -- by carving mouths for the politicians.

This was back in the Old Time, when Coyote was a young Coyote, and not very good at making mouths. Some of the mouths he made too small and those politicians never found their voices. A few of the mouths he made just right. We know who they are -- the good ones. But many of the mouths he made way too big. And those politicians taught themselves to talk. They yapped and they yammered and they yacked, and never said anything at all! They drove the people up a wall!

"Hey, Coyote! These guys are driving us bonkers, and it's your fault. You gave them mouths! Now do something about it!!"

But Coyote never did anything at all. He just kept reminding the people that a long, long time ago, it was even worse.

* * * * *

Coyote sauntered upriver to another village, the home of the Dog People.

Every four years, the Dog People watched in amazement while their human neighbors put loads of energy into choosing the perfect president. Generations of pooches scratched their hind noggins over this, and tried to puzzle through the sanity of it, until one day they simply gave up and figured that this had gone on so long, that maybe there was some wisdom in it. Perhaps the Dog People should have a president, too.

So the dogs got together and had a big convention to choose the perfect canine leader of the pack.

"I nominate Pit Bull for president. He's one helluva tough guy!"

"Oh, I don't know. He may be a good fighter, but he's not a fast runner, and sometimes presidents got to run ... really fast...."

"Well, then, I nominate Greyhound for president. He's fast!"

"Yeah, fast on his feet maybe, but that brainpan's small, and well, he can't fight worth beans."

There barked a voice from the back of the hall that sounded suspiciously like Coyote. "I nominate for president the dog who smells good under his tail!"

"Wow," said everybody. "Wheee. Good idea!!"

The convention broke up and hundreds of man's best friends went off searching for the perfect president. Through the alleyways of every village, in everyone's backyard and beyond, one heard voices from the shadows.

"Sniff, sniff. Yuck! He's not my candidate!" and "Sniff, sniff. Phew! I'm not voting for him!!"

And to this day, the dogs are still out there searching for their perfect president. Some folks, it seems, make up their minds far too quickly.