Why Butterflies Can’t Fly Straight

Why Butterflies Can’t Fly Straight

16 June 2015,   By ,   0 Comments

Retold from a Tewa Indian Legend

One day Coyote’s wife wanted to do some cooking. She needed salt for the food she was making. She asked coyote, her husband, who was taking one of his many naps to go to the salty lake and fill a bag with some salt crystals from the shore. The lake was a long walk from their home and coyote didn’t really want to walk so far, but he set off anyway to get the salt for his wife.

Half way to the lake he lay down to take a rest and fell fast asleep. The butterflies that lived in the nearby meadow saw coyote sleeping and decided to play a trick on him. Each butterfly picked up one of coyotes hairs and carried him gently home through the air, and put him in his own bed. The butterflies laughed so hard at the trick they played on coyote that they couldn’t fly straight. They zigzagged all over the place in crazy patterns.

When coyote wakes up he can’t understand why he is home in his bed. Was he dreaming? But not wanting his wife to see him in his bed, he starts out again right away to collect the salt crystals his wife wants. He makes it to the lake but he is very tired and says to himself he will just lie down a little while before collecting the salt crystals. Again, though, he falls fast asleep and again the butterflies can’t resist carrying him back home to his bed. They fly away laughing and zigzagging even more than before.

“You are such a lazy coyote,” says his wife angrily when she sees him asleep. “Get up and go get some salt or you’ll not have any more meals from my kitchen!”

Coyote can’t understand how he got back home and in his bed when he was quite sure he had started out for the salty lake. Scratching his head, he starts out walking to the lake again. This time he gets there and this time he opens his sack and fills it full of salt crystals for his wife.

Before he starts back home though, coyote thinks he owes it to himself to take just a little nap. So he lies down on the shore and falls fast asleep. When the butterflies see him sleeping this time they feel sorry for him and decide to carry him home along with his sack of salt crystals.

This time, when Coyote’s wife sees coyote asleep in his bed again she almost yells angrily at him until she sees the sack of salt. Then she is so happy she cooks a feast for all of their friends.

When you see butterflies today you will see that they still fly in crazy patterns. That is because they are still laughing so hard at the joke they once played on coyote they just can’t fly straight.


Leave a Reply







  • Filter Stories