How Coyote Was the Moon: Translated by Solomon Ratt (y-dialect)

An English version of this Kalispel trickster story from Idaho is published in Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac’s Keepers of the Earth: Native Stories and Environmental Activities for Children, is published in 1989 by Fifth House Publishers. Here, Solomon Ratt translates that story into Plains Cree (y-dialect), for us to listen and read along. Sol also provides original artwork to accompany the story.

ispîhk mêstacâkanis kâ-kî-tipiskâwi-pîsimowitHow Coyote Was the Moon
(Kalispel – Idaho) Translated from English by Solomon Ratt (y-dialect) From: “Keepers of the Earth: Native Stories and Environmental Activities for Children.” Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. Saskatoon: Fifth House Publishers, 1989.
kayâs namôya kî-ohci-ihtâw tipiskâwi-pîsim. iyiniwak kî-saskatêyihtamwak ka-pimahkamikisicik kâ-tipiskâyik, kaski-tipiskâhk. pâmwayês kî-ihtâw tipiskâwi-pîsim mâka awiyak ê-kî-kimotit. êkosi kî-mâwacihitowak kita-mâmiskôtahkik ôma.A long time ago there was no moon. The people got tired of going around at night in the dark. There had been a moon before but someone stole it. So they gathered together and talked about it.
“kinitawêyimânaw tipiskâwi-pîsim,” kî-itwêwak. “awîna ta-tipiskâwi-pîsimowit?”“We need to have a moon,” they said. “Who will be the moon?”
“niya nika-itôtên,” kî-itwêw osâwahkêsîs. kî-ahêwak kîsikohk. mâka pîhtaw osâm kî-wâsêsiw, mêtoni ê-kî-kisâstêyik kâ-tipiskâk. êkosi kî-nîhtinêwak“I will do it,” said the Red Fox. They placed him in the sky. But he shone so brightly that he made things hot at night. Thus they had to take him down.
êkwa iyiniwak kî-nâtêwak mêstacâkanisa.Then the people went to Coyote.
“kinôhtê-tipiskâwi-pîsimowin cî? kititêyihtên cî nawac kiya kita-miyo-atoskêyan êkosi isi?”“Would you like to be the moon? Do you think you could do a better job?”
“kêhcinâ,” kî-itwêw mêstacâkanis. êkwa kî-pâhpisiw. kî-kiskêyihtam kîspin wiya tipiskâwi-pîsimowiw kitakî-itâpiw nîhcâyihk kita-wâpahtahk tânisi kâ-ispayiyik askîhk.“I sure would,” Coyote said. Then he smiled. He knew that if he became the moon he could look down and see everything that was happening on Earth.
kî-ahêwak kîsikohk mêstacâkanisa. namôya kî-ohci-kisâstêskam tipiskâw êkwa mîna namôya kî-ohci-wâsêskam. aciyaw kî-nahêyihtamwak iyiniwak. They placed Coyote up in the sky. He did not make the nights too hot and bright. For a time the people were pleased.
“mêstacâkanis miyoskam otatoskêwin kita-tipiskâwi-pîsimowit,” kî-tâpwêhtamwak.“Coyote is doing a good job as the moon,” they agreed.
mâka mêstacâkanis, êkotê ispimihk kîsikohk, kî-wâpahtam kahkiyaw kîkway kâ-ispayiyik askîhk. kitakî-wâpamêw awiya ê-mâyi-tôtamiyit kîkway mâka pihtaw namôya kî-kaskihtâw kita-kâmwâtisit.But Coyote, up there in the sky, could see everything that was happening on Earth. He could see whenever someone did something they were not supposed to do and he just couldn’t keep quiet.
“Hêy!” ê-kî-isi-têpwêt, mêtoni êyikohk ê-kî-kisîwêt kahkiyaw awiya askîhk ê-kî-pêhtawikot. “ana nâpêw kimotiw kahkêwak akwâwânihk ohci.”“Hey,” he would shout, so loudly everyone on Earth could hear him, “That man is stealing meat from the drying racks.”
nîhcâyihk kî-itâpiw pâsci iyiniwa otihtimaniwahk êskwa ê-kî-mêtawêyit nîpâyâstêhk.He would look down over people’s shoulders as they played games in the moonlight.
“hêy,” ê-kî-isi-têpwêt, “ana awiyak kêsiyâkêw maskisin-mêtawêwin!”“Hey,” he would shout, “that person there is cheating at the moccasin game.”
piyisk, kahkiyaw iyiniwak kâ-kî-nôhtê-kîmôc-itahkamikisicik kî-mâwacihitowak.Finally, all the people who wished to do things in secret got together.
“êkatên mêstacâkanis kîsikohk ohci,” kî-itwêwak. “osâm mistahi kâh-kitowêhtâw êyikohk ê-tâh-têpwêt.”“Take Coyote out of the sky,” they said. “He is making too much noise with all his shouting.”
êkosi mêstacâkanis îkatênâw kîsikohk ohci. kotak awiyak kita-tipiskâwi-pîsimowit.So Coyote was taken out of the sky. Someone else became the moon.
namôya ayiwâk mêstacâkanis kî-kaskihtâw kitakî-wâpamât kîkway kâ-itôtamiyit kahkiyaw iyiniwa askîhk mâka namôya kî-pôyow kita-kîmôtâpamât iyiniwa kâ-itahkamikisiyit êkospîhk ohci.Coyote could no longer see what everyone on Earth was doing, but that hasn’t stopped him from still trying to snoops into everyone else’s business ever since.

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