Myth & Lore

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Coyote & Firefly, How Firefly Got His Blinking Light.
By CinnamonMoon

*NOTE: I do not know the tribal nation from which this story comes, it was shared with me a long time ago and I just wanted to share with you. It's a great tale for little ones!

He was a star and his name was Forgets to Twinkle. This little brother was a part of the Great Star Nation and lived with his Seven Sister Stars, who are still shining brightly there in the sky. They are inside the constellation of the Great Buffalo, showing the children where to look. The Seven Sister Stars held the Seven Sacred Directions teaching us to honor the abundance that the Great Buffalo brings to us from every direction. Forgets to Twinkle was always sad because his sisters had the missions of holding the Seven Sacred Directions for the Great Buffalo and he wasn't sure what his mission was. He was so very sad that sometimes he let his light fade away and that is how he earned his name Forgets To Twinkle.

One Sleep, when Grandmother Moon was showing her Full face, Forgets To Twinkle traveled through the Sky Nation until he was hanging in the clouds above Sacred Mountain. His heart was very happy because he could see all of the Little Sisters and Brothers of the Creature Tribe playing in the moonlight. He shouted down to Brother Coyote and asked if he could join in the play. Coyote was known by all of the other animals as the Trickster, but little Forgets To Twinkle did not know anything about any of the Children of the Earth because he had never been anywhere but the Sky Nation. Trickster Coyote shouted back that he would be delighted if this Little Star Brother wanted to play with him, but Coyote thought Forgets To Twinkle was too far away.

Forgets To Twinkle thought a moment and then decided to come closer, dancing in the sky while Coyote danced with him on the Earth. Coyote started talking to the Little Star Brother very softly, making Forgets To Twinkle come closer to hear what the Trickster was saying. Softer and softer words of friendship brought the Little Star out of the sky until he was floating just over Coyote's head. Then that mean old Trickster grabbed Forgets To Twinkle and gobbled him up!

Forgets to Twinkle was terrified when he found himself inside of the Trickster's belly. He was so upset, he forgot to twinkle and did not know how in the world he was going to get out safely. Around the same moment that Coyote gobbled up the Little Star Brother, Grandmother Moon looked down and noticed that Forgets To Twinkle was nowhere in sight. She looked and looked but could not see her Little Brother anywhere. Because she was concerned, she sent the Stars-With-Tails, who were her scouts, out to look for Little Brother. In those ancient times, the Comet People were messengers who could come and go from the Great Star Nation. These Stars-With-Tails searched high and low for Little Brother without any luck in finding him.

Inside the Trickster's belly, the Little Star Brother was frightened, but he knew that he had better start remembering all the wisdom his Seven Sisters had taught him or he would never see them again. After a long while, he finally remembered why he was called Forgets To Twinkle. He had always been afraid that his light was not as pretty as his sister's and so he would only blink a little light here and there. Now that he was trapped inside Coyote's belly, he decided he had better trust his ability to shine brightly. He huffed and puffed and sent all of his light into his little star body, lighting himself and shining as brightly as he could. The Trickster suddenly found that the trick was on him when his whole furry body lit up like Grandfather Sun. Coyote ran and ran, trying to hide from the Comet scouts that Grandmother Moon had sent to find Little Brother. The Trickster had seen the Stars-With-Tails circling the prairies, looking for Forgets To Twinkle. Old Coyote had thought he could trick the Star Scouts as easily as he had tricked Little Brother. Now the slippery Trickster was so bright that there was no place he could run or hide without the Star Scouts finding him. In a panic, the Trickster opened his mouth and spit Little Brother out and then ran away.

The Stars-With-Tails spread the news to the Cloud People, who told the Thunderers, who told the Fire Sticks that the mean old Trickster needed a taste of his own Medicine. The Sky Nation was filled with the Little Star Brother's angry Relations who gathered the storms, filling the Cloud People with Raindrop People and Ice-Beings who could wet and punch Coyote with their water and ice bodies. Hinoh, the Thunder Chief, belched his rolling roar, and the Thunderbird flapped his giant wings, bringing such enormous sounds that the Trickster stood quaking in fear.

Meanwhile, Little Star Brother was trapped in the Earth Mother's magnetism. He could not move from the ground to go home. He was still shining brightly so that his Sky Relations could see where he was, but no one could rescue him because they would be caught in the Planetary Mother's magnetism as well. He called out to the Earth Mother and asked her to release him and waited for her reply.

The storm was moving across the land, giving the Trickster a chance to run as he finally found his paws and started to dodge the pellets of ice and freezing rain. Lightning bolts crashed around him and one Fire Stick hit him, finally catching his tail on fire. Coyote ran and ran, trying to think how he could trick the Sky Relations and make them leave him alone.

Little Star Brother finally heard the Earth Mother speak amid the sounds of the Thunderers. Her voice traveled on the raging winds that accompanied the storm his Relations had made. "Forgets To Twinkle, you are going to have to live with the Children of Earth now. If I release my magnetism, you will be able to go home, but all of my children will fall off the earth and go flying into the sky. You are responsible for forgetting to pay attention to Grandmother Moon's advice and warning. There is no way that I can help you without hurting my other children. You must stay here with us and decide what kind of creature you would like to become."

Forgets To Twinkle was sad but he knew that the Earth Mother was right. He had not paid attention and had been tricked into ignoring Grandmother Moon's warning. He wanted to be a part of the Sky Nation and to see the world from above as he had always done when he lived with his Seven Sisters. He knew that he would never again forget to shine his light brightly, because he wanted his Sky Relations to know where he was and that he remembered his family. He decided to tell the Earth Mother that he wanted to be a flying creature who could shine like a star. The Earth Mother agreed and changed him into a flying Creepy-crawler of the Insect Tribe. She put a tiny star in his tail so that he could twinkle at his Sky Relations, reminding all other Little Brothers and Sisters in the Great Star Nation what could happen to them if they did not pay attention to the wisdom of the Elders.

Even now, if Coyote hears thunder or sees Firefly, he will run away in fear. The Trickster remembers that the Fire Sticks caught his tail on fire and that he had to jump into a pond to put it out. Some people say that the Fire Sticks and Thunder Beings counted coup on Coyote, bringing victory and honor to Little Star Brother. That is how Forgets To Twinkle earned the name Lightning Bug. His Firefly tail lights up to remind Coyote of the only Relations that ever out-tricked the Trickster by catching his tail on fire. When Firefly's tail lights up, we Two-Leggeds are reminded to let our Medicine shine and to keep a twinkle in our eyes so the Trickster cannot fool us into following the crooked trail.

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