Trickster: Old Man Coyote vs. Legba
The trickster breaks rules of the gods or nature which in the end may have a positive effect. In many cases the rule breaking performed by these folks are often the reason they are in the form of tricks. The role tricksters often play may intend cunning or foolish actions, many times both. Depending on society their actions can be humorous even if it is sacred or cultural. In the trickster myths Shoshoni: Old Man Coyote and Fon (Dahomey): Legba the main characters perform sacred and cultural tricks.
In the myth Old Man Coyote, the “Old Man” is about an older coyote that is weak, patchy and wrinkled with no teeth. With all these negative features he degrades himself to a lower standard of civilization. He cannot hunt anymore because he gets tired too fast and if he did catch anything he does not have strong teeth to chew. Before he depended on his grandchildren who did all the work for him but they have grown and have their own families to assist. In admiration, he saw a buffalo bull standing in the prairie from afar that he believed he used to be like before, young and strong. The “Old Man” approached the buffalo and asked a favor of becoming like him, young, strong and beautiful again in his life. The buffalo granted him his wish without powers and there the Old Man Coyote became a Calf-Coyote without powers. For the next few years in his new life he roamed the wilderness living happily and young but deep inside laid his true self which is the Old Man Coyote. Later on in the years, he met an old ragged coyote who wished to be like him and the Calf-Coyote remembered how the transformation was performed and granted the old ragged coyote his wish forgetting he does not have any powers. He started the process and at the end when they both rolled downside the mountain it ended up with two old, hungry coyotes. Moral of the story is to not start anything one cannot finish.
In the myth Fon (Dahomey): Legba, it is about an...
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