For this assignment, you are going to tell a story, but not just any story. It will be a First Nations story, and it will be your version of it.
Choose one of the two stories at the end of this unit, either “Why the Flint-Rock Cannot Fight Back”
You can write of yourself telling one of the stories.
In telling your story, here is what you will need to consider:
- Clarity of speech
- Pacing and pauses
You will also have to work out how to make this telling of the story yours. You might want to read it aloud with point form notes for a prompt or to memorize it. Perhaps you want to rewrite it so that it sounds more like your words. Maybe you will change names and place-names to those you are familiar with. If you are making a video or performing this live, you should practice facial and hand gestures as well as stance and body language. The purpose of all of this is to bring your own meaning to the story.
HERE IS THE STORY
Why the Flint-Rock Cannot Fight Back
Sto-Way’-Na—Flint—was rich and powerful. His lodge was toward the sunrise. It was guarded by Squr-hein— Crane. He was the watcher. He watched from the top of a lone tree. When anybody approached, Crane would call out and warn Flint, and Flint would come out of his lodge and meet the visitor.
There was an open flat in front of the lodge. Flint met all his visitors there. Warriors and hunters came and bought flint for arrow-points and spear-heads. They paid Flint big prices for the privilege of chipping off the hard stone. Some who needed flint for their weapons were poor and could not buy. These poor persons Flint turned away.
Coyote heard about Flint and, as he wanted some arrow-points, he asked his squas-tenk’ to help him. Squas-tenk’ refused.
“Hurry, do what I ask, or I will throw you away and let the rain wash you— wash you cold,” said Coyote, and then the power gave him three rocks that were harder than the flint-rock. It also gave him a little dog that had only one ear. But this ear was sharp, like a knife; it was a knife- ear.
Then to his wife, Mole, Coyote said: “Go and make your underground trails in the flat where Sto-way’-na lives. When you have finished and see me talking with him, show yourself so we can see you.”
Then Coyote set out for Flint’s lodge. As he got near it, he had his power make a fog to cover the land, and thick fog spread over everything. Crane, the watcher, up in the lone tree, could not see Coyote. He did not know that Coyote was around.
Coyote climbed the tree and took Crane from his high perch and broke his neck. Crane had no time to cry out. Then Coyote went on to Flint’s lodge. He was almost there when Flint’s dog, Grizzly Bear, jumped out of the lodge and ran toward him.
Coyote was not scared, and he yelled at Flint: “Stop your grizzly bear dog! Stop him, or my dog will kill him.”
That amused Flint, who was looking through the doorway. He saw that Coyote’s one-eared dog was very small, hardly a mouthful for Grizzly Bear. Flint came out of his lodge. He was laughing.
“Sin-ka-lip’, you better take your dog away. My Grizzly Bear will eat him up.”
“No, stop your dog,” repeated Coyote. “One-Ear is bad!”
“Hah!” laughed Flint. “No dog can hurt my Grizzly Bear!”
So, without more talk, Coyote sent One-Ear at Grizzly Bear, who opened his mouth wide. The little dog went right ahead and jumped straight into Grizzly Bear’s mouth, and kept on going. He went clear through Grizzly Bear. His sharp knife-ear cut Flint’s dog wide open.
“See!” Coyote said. “I told you that One-Ear was bad. He can kill anything.”
About that time Mole appeared at the far edge of the flat. She was dressed in skins that were painted red, and she looked very handsome.
“My friend,” Coyote spoke to Flint, “see that woman over there. Let us run a race. The one who gets to her first shall take her for his wife.” Flint was willing. So they raced. They ran toward Mole. She pretended to be digging spit-lum (bitter- root). She had made tunnels all through the flat, and they were a bother to Flint. He kept stepping into them and falling, and every time he fell Coyote would jump over him, and shout: “Eh! Ha-yea! My friend, what is wrong?”
Flint was heavy, and slow in picking himself up. Sometimes Coyote jumped over him twice before he could get
up. When they got to where Mole was standing, she changed herself into a real mole and skipped into one of her tunnels. Then Coyote began to hit Flint with the squas-tenk’ rocks. At each blow they scaled off big flakes of flint.
Flint also tried to catch Coyote, but every few steps he stumbled into one of Mole’s tunnels, and he grew weaker and weaker. Coyote kept striking him with the medicine-rocks. At last all of the monster’s body was chipped away. Only the heart was left. Then Flint died.
Coyote picked up the heart and threw it across the flat. There it is today. It is a hill standing there. Much flint is found there.
The pieces of Flint’s body which were scattered around on the flat were gathered up by Coyote and thrown all over the earth for warriors and hunters to use.
That done, Coyote said: “Sto-way’-na, you are a person no more. From this sun you are only dead stone!”
And this is why the flint-rock is senseless and cannot fight back when chipped for arrow-heads. Coyote made it so before the New People came.