Myths and Tales from the San Carlos Apache
Securing Fire (Second Version)
They say long ago there was no fire. The people ate their food uncooked. There were only two men who had fire. They could see it in the tops of a very tall pine tree which stood there.
Coyote proposed that a large company of people be invited to come together for a dance. He also suggested that a letter be sent to those who had fire asking them to bring some as they wished to gamble with the guessing game.
Coyote told his companions to tie dry grass around his tail. When it was daybreak Coyote danced by himself. “I will dance over the fire,” he said. “Your tail is afire,” they called to him. “Why do you say my tail is burning?” he asked. “Your tail is burning,” they called to him again. He went around the fire four times and then jumped over them. He ran away with the fire. Those who owned the fire ran after him and put out what fire they found. They caught Coyote after he had run a long distance and pulled out his nose so it is long and spread him mouth apart so it is wide.
Then another man was running away beyond with the fire. It was Night Hawk. They caught him after a long chase. They pushed the crown of his head down hard and spread his mouth open.
Another person was running with the fire. It was Turkey Buzzard. They caught him a long distance away and pulled the hair out of his head. He had given the fire to Humming Bird. A large mountain was standing in the distance. Fire was coming out from the top of this mountain. The people had been without fire but came to have plenty of it because of Coyote. The fire went inside of the trees and became plentiful.