Bye Bye Uncle Coyote!

Once upon a time, there was a town full of humble people. Everyone was people with great hearts and enjoyed their simple lives. Even the local priest was so lucky because he owned a small hunt.

On the outskirts of the city, there used to live a coyote and a rabbit. Everyone knew them as Uncle Coyote and Uncle Rabbit (figure 1).

Figure 1. Uncle Coyote and Uncle Rabbit. ¹

From time to time, they were friends, and at other times, they were the greatest foes ever. No one could predict what their next prank was. They loved to play dark and dangerous pranks all the time. Uncle Rabbit was very astute and often outsmart Uncle Coyote. Uncle Coyote tended to fail in the rabbit’s traps often. Unfortunately, he never learned.

Uncle Coyote was very stubborn and rude. He always tried to deceive the rabbit into his traps, but they rarely ever worked. The rabbit was very astute.

In a nearby town lived a hard-worker countryman called Mr. Alberto. He enjoyed planting new chili peppers and unique plants all the time. However, the lands sooner or later got tired of too many experiments, and they stopped being so effective. The long dry season even slowed down his yearly crops.

Two years after the last dry season, Mr. Alberto was happy because he was sure this would be a good year. He had planted some unique yellow watermelons. A friend had brought him some seeds from Salamanca and told him they were unique. The watermelons looked gigantic. He had never seen such a massive fruit in his life.

Every day Mr. Alberto went to his lands to check when they were ready. He felt gratified because of the results. However, he did not know Uncle Rabbit was also checking daily when the watermelons would be ready. He wanted a part of the prize also.

The day that Mr. Alberto thought they were ready. He thought today, “Today night, I’m going to collect my yellow watermelons. I am going to gift one to the local priest, I am going to take one for me, and the rest I am going to sell them.”

Mr. Alberto had a very busy day, and at 7 PM, he said: “Forget it, I’m going to collect them tomorrow. It’s too late and dark.” However, he never expected that Uncle Rabbit had the same idea to check Mr. Alberto’s lands.

The rabbit arrived at the land and saw the biggest watermelon. He fell in love and opened a small hole in it. It started to eat the tasty watermelon. After a while, all the watermelon juice had covered it.

After the rabbit had finished the watermelon, it filled it with some sand from his burrow. He even reused the watermelon part where he had made the hole. No one could notice it was empty already and full of sand.

The rabbit started to jump and returned to his burrow. He was extremely happy and full.

The next morning Mr. Alberto went to collect the watermelon for the local priest. He was glad because it seemed extremely heavy, and probably, it would be extremely sweet. He was sure the local priest would be really happy.

After the mass, Mr. Alberto called the priest and told him: “Good morning, Mr. Priest. I hope you are having a great week. How was your night?”

The priest told answered him, “my son, maybe better than you. It seems you woke up very early today.”

Mr. Alberto told him, "indeed, I had brought you the best of my yellow watermelons. It’s in my car.”

The priest jumped and said, “come to my cabin! I’ll store it there. This is a great day. Good bless you!”

Mr. Alberto left the watermelon in the priest’s cabin and returned to his home.

The priest was so delighted that called his assistant and requested her, “Luisa bring me the sharpest knife we have. Mr. Alberto brought us a nice watermelon.”

Luisa brought him the knife, and the priest opened the watermelon, and to his unlucky surprise, it was full of sand!

The priest was furious and called the mayor. He complained that Mr. Alberto had played him a terrible prank in the early morning after mass. He had given him a fake watermelon full of sand.

The mayor could not believe it and requested Mr. Alberto’s presence immediately in the City Hall. Two policemen arrived at Mr. Alberto’s house and took him to the City Hall.

Mr. Alberto did not understand what was going on. He was shocked. When they arrived at the City Hall, Mr. Alberto asked what was happening. He did not understand why the police had arrived at his home.

The mayor told him that the priest had come to complain that he had gifted him a watermelon full of sand.

Mr. Alberto was shocked because he had not gifted him any watermelon full of sand. The priest entered the office and said: “Yes, you did! I had the proof at my cabin.”

The priest picked both of them up to his cabin and showed him the watermelon full of sand.

Mr. Alberto was completely shocked and apologized thousands of times. He even kneeled on the floor, begging for his forgiveness.

After a while, Mr. Alberto said that this was a prank from Uncle Rabbit. He was sure he had eaten the watermelon and filled it with sand. He offered him another watermelon in compensation so that he could pick it up straight away.

The priest agreed and picked up his new watermelon.

On the way back home, Mr. Alberto was disappointed. He met Uncle Coyote on his way and shared with him the bad prank played by Uncle Rabbit.

Uncle Coyote told him that he knew where he could find the rabbit today. He knew his burrow and there he could trap him. He just needed to think about a good trap.

Mr. Alberto and Uncle Coyote arrived at the rabbit’s burrow, and Mr. Alberto set his trap. He had made a beeswax doll that looked like a nice female rabbit next to a carrot and a tasty watermelon. He was sure because the rabbit was very mischievous, he would go for them. Later, it would be stuck there forever.

Sadly, Mr. Alberto had forgotten the rabbit was extremely smart. He had been chasing them since he had left the priest’s cabin.

After they had set everything, Uncle Coyote and Mr. Alberto returned to their places.

The rabbit just said, “this time the coyote is going to pay for everything he has done. I never thought he could sell my burrow. I feel ashamed for Mr. Alberto, but not for the coyote. I’m not going to play these kinds of pranks with Mr. Alberto anymore.”

The rabbit went to his burrow, brought a stick, and released the carrot. Also, he dressed the doll and added some sunglasses. So, no one would notice it was not the same.

Hours later, the coyote returned to see if the rabbit had fallen into their trap. To his surprise, he thought so.

He told him, “so, how are you doing Uncle Rabbit?”

The coyote asked him three times and no answer. He got mad and complained, “so, did a cat eat your tongue or what? I’m going to slap you because you act like a spoiled child.”

The coyote gave his first slap, and his paw got caught in the doll. He tried to release it with his second paw, and it didn’t work. He later used his other two paws and got completely trapped in the doll. He started yelling for help, but it seemed like no one could hear him.

After a while, the rabbit left his burrow and said, “it seems someone never learns. Did you forget who is the smartest one?”

The coyote yelled angrily, “fool! Release me!”

The rabbit laughed and said, “fool me? Looked at who is trapped.” The rabbit took his stick and hit him so badly that the coyote lost some teeth when he smashed his face in the watermelon.

The coyote kept requesting him to release him. He was desperate and promised him that he would never bother him again.

The rabbit agreed and told him he would bring some flowers that he would use to release him. He went to collect some flowers that the bees were eating.

When he returned, he used the flowers, and hundreds of bees attacked the coyote. The coyote did not understand what was happening!

The coyote kept yelling, requesting more help. The bees were stinging badly on his paws.

The rabbit came this time with a stick-on fire and threw it to the coyote’s tail.

The coyote’s tail got on fire, and somehow, he got released from the watermelon and ran like never in his life.

The rabbit just laughed and said, “Bye-bye Uncle Coyote, broken teeth and burned tail. Be smarter if there is a next time!”

After the coyote was not visible anymore, he started to eat his carrot and the watermelon. No one ever saw the coyote again.

Inspired by the book “Leyendas Cuentos y Adivinanzas de El Salvador, Bancasa, Banco de Construcción y Ahorro, S.A. © All rights reserved 1995.

¹ Courtney Autumn Martin


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