There was a white man who was such a sharp trader that nobody ever got the better of him. Or so people said, until one day a man told this "wasichu", "There is somebody who can outcheat you anytime, anywhere." "That's not possible," responded the wasichu, "I've had a trading post for many years and I've cheated all the Indienas around here."

"Even so, Coyote can beat you in any deal."

"Let's see whether he can. Where is Coyote?"

"He's over there. He's the tricky-looking guy."

"Okay, all right, we'll see about this."

The wasichu trader went over to Coyote and said, "Hey, let's see you outsmart me!"

"I'm sorry," said Coyote, "I'd like to help you out but I can't do it without my cheating medicine."

"Hah! Cheating medicine! Ha! Go and get it then, I will wait."

"I live miles from here," Coyote started, "and I am on foot. But if you'd lend me your fast horse I could return much more quickly."

"Fine! Borrow it. Now go and get your cheating medicine."

"Well, friend," Coyote started again, "I'm not a very good rider and I can see your horse is afraid of me... I'm also a bit afraid of him. Maybe you could lend me your clothes so that the horse may regard me more like he regards you."

"Well, alright, here are my clothes." and the wasichu undressed and gave all of his fine clothes to Coyote to wear. "Now go and get your cheating medicine. You'll need as much as you can get to cheat me."

So Coyote rode off with the wasichu's fast horse and his fine clothes, while the wasichu stood there bare-assed.


This story was originally told at Grass Mountain on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, 1974. This rendition is taken from the Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore Library from the American Indian Myths and Legends publication. Stories in this book were selected and edited by both Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz.

Coyote, in this story, appears to be an individuals name. Though the trader is never named, he is referred to as a "wasichu", which is an old Lakota and Dakota (collectively, the Sioux) word for non-indigenous people... essentially white people. The word was intended to be derogatory and unfriendly. -


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