Introduction: This story was written back in 2006 by the new-deceased Terry Gardner. He worked as a clinical social worker all the way up to the time of his death. He also was a published author. This Four Directions story, as he called them, is shared in his memory and with permission of his widow, Lin Gardner.
This is one of seven stories he created that he designated as being from the East.
Coyote is up to his old tricks again. He keeps trying to catch and trap the other animal people. Instead, he keeps getting himself in trouble. Eagle, Frog, and Deer assist him and Fawn to learn the lessons about growth within.
Coyote and Fawn learn about growth within– a story from the East
© 2006 by Terry & Lin Gardner; Re-told and re-formatted with the permission of his widow, Lin Gardner, by Debbie Dunn
Ellen Eagle soared and glided high above Master Forest, her home. She so greatly enjoyed seeing the playing, feeding, and sleeping animals, bugs, and birds far below her. She said, “I see so much beauty in the children, adults, and old ones below. The flowers are beautiful as well. I feel like talking about how we grow.”
Eagle circled lower and lower toward Master Forest. She, as usual, found an easy answer to her wishes from the animals below her. Eagle saw Debbie Deer and her son, Fred Fawn, feeding on the very edge of Beaver pond. Deer was watchful for any danger. She now had a young son to protect. She sensed danger and raised her head very slowly so she would not frighten Fawn.
Deer noticed Carl Coyote trying to sneak up on Fawn. She waited until Coyote crawled very near Fawn. Coyote crouched down, tensed his muscles, and sprang toward Fawn. Deer snorted loudly. Quickly, Fawn jumped toward his mother and began running away as fast as he could.
Carl Coyote’s face registered his surprised shock as he went SPLASH! He overshot the spot where he intended to land on Fawn and landed in the shallows of Beaver Pond. Coyote thrashed and splashed in the shallows. He screamed loudly, “I’m drowning, I’m drowning!”
Freddie Frog felt and heard all the commotion from Coyote. He hopped across three of his favorite lily pads toward Coyote. Frog gathered as much air as possible into his lungs. He let out a bellow, “Harrumph, Coyote!”
Carl Coyote immediately stopped thrashing and splashing because he was so surprised. He called out, “Who called my name?”
Frog called out, “I, Freddie Frog, called your name, Coyote. You are making a fool of yourself. You are NOT drowning.”
Coyote replied, “Frog, you can’t make a fool of me. I’ll catch you.”
Frog shot back, “Coyote, I doubt that. Try it.”
Carl Coyote suddenly whirled and jumped toward Frog. Frog easily jumped across two lily pads. Frog heard another loud SPLASH as Coyote missed again and splashed into the shallow water.
Fawn and Deer dashed a safe distance away and turned to watch Coyote and Frog. Deer shook her head and remarked to Fawn, “Son, Carl Coyote just doesn’t learn very easily.”
Fawn asked, “What should Coyote learn?”
Deer answered, “Carl Coyote needs to learn some different ways of treating others and us. He keeps repeating his ways of trying to surprise and even hurt most everyone.”
Deer and Fawn didn’t see Eagle at first. She listened to Deer and finally called to her, “Excuse me, Deer. I’d like to join Fawn and you.”
Deer said, “Please join us. You have much to say, and I’d like to hear your words.”
Fawn raised his hoof and stamped it. He eagerly said, “Me, too! Me, too! I want to grow up quickly. How do I grow up?”
Eagle landed on a tree near Deer and Fawn. She said, “Fawn, you asked a great question. Let’s explore your question and Coyote’s experience. They both relate to growth.”
Deer smiled gently and said, “Eagle, welcome. I would like to talk with you. Son, what would you like?”
Fawn stamped his tiny hoof again and repeated, “I’m eager to grow up. I want to know all about that!”
Deer and Eagle smiled at Fawn. Deer said, “Son, you will grow up quickly enough. Eagle and I will help you know more about growing up inside yourself.”
Deer, Eagle, and Fawn didn’t notice Frog. He hopped to within earshot of the three. He called out, “Harrumph, harrumph! Hi, Everyone.”
Deer, Eagle, and Fawn greeted Frog, “Hi, Frog. We’re glad to see you. Would you like to join us? We’re going to talk about growing up.”
Frog smiled broadly and nodded his head. He said, “That’s a great topic. I know we always grow.”
Fawn looked very puzzled and questioned, “How can all of you grow anymore? You’re all BIG people.”
Eagle smiled again and replied, “Fawn, growth is much more than getting taller, stronger, and older. Growing up means knowing how you feel and think. Growing up means taking responsibility for how you get along with others and yourself.”
Fawn looked confused as he said, “WOW! That sounds REALLY hard!”
Frog observed, “Growing up can be hard if you fight change. Growing up easily means you know how you are feeling, thinking, talking, and behaving.”
Fawn gamboled around Deer, Frog, and Eagle. He said, “I know I’m feeling very happy. Am I talking and behaving happily?”
Deer, Frog, and Eagle smiled broadly again at the playfulness of Fawn. They greatly enjoyed him. Deer assured him, “Son, you talk and behave very happily. You bring much joy to us.”
Deer, Frog, Eagle, and Fawn heard a sudden CRASH and a loud YELP! Eagle quickly said, “Please stay here. I’ll go see what Carl Coyote got into now. I can fly much faster than any of you can move on the ground. I will also remain very safe.”
Deer, Fawn, and Frog nodded their agreement. Then, Eagle swiftly launched herself and found an updraft wind that shot her up into the sky. Eagle leveled out her flight and quickly spotted Carl Coyote.
Carl Coyote was yipping and screaming in the middle of a huge pile of briers and thorn vines. He spotted Eagle circling overhead and screamed, “Help, help! The Rabbits got me!”
Eagle glided lower and landed on a nearby tree branch. She saw Grandfather Randy Rabbit. She called to Grandfather Rabbit, “What is going on here?”
Grandfather Rabbit’s ears wiggled and nose twitched as he grinned at the problem of Coyote. Grandfather Rabbit explained to Eagle, “Carl Coyote chased us once too often. We piled all the thorn bushes and briers in one pile. Coyote tried to chase us. We all appeared and yelled for him to get us. He tried, but we disappeared into the pile of brush. Coyote dived into the middle of the pile trying to reach us. He caught himself instead.”
Eagle started laughing so hard she almost fell out of the tree. She finally calmed down enough to ask, “Grandfather Rabbit, do you think we should help Carl Coyote? He has a hard time learning lessons about chasing us.”
“HELP ME! HELP ME!” yipped Carl Coyote. “I promise I’ll not chase any of you anymore.”
Grandfather Rabbit looked around at his many Rabbit relatives who suddenly appeared. They all started laughing at Coyote’s predicament. Grandfather Rabbit asked them, “Do you think Carl Coyote has had enough of the briers and thorns?”
Everyone nodded his or her head, so Grandfather Rabbit told Eagle, “We will release Coyote on one condition. He needs to learn about permanently changing the way he treats all of us.”
Eagle responded, “Very well, Grandfather Rabbit. I agree with you. However, the decision belongs to Coyote. Carl Coyote, will you join us as we talk about growth?”
Carl Coyote yelled, “Yes, just free me please.”
Grandfather Rabbit nodded his head, and ten Rabbits dived into the brush pile. They quickly pulled aside the branches holding Coyote.
Carl Coyote limped out of the briers and thorns. He carefully checked his forelegs and hind legs. He said to no one in particular, “Everything works. I just have a few patches torn out of my hide from the briers and thorns. Okay, Eagle, where do we go for our talk?”
Eagle answered, “Coyote follow me. You will meet Deer, Fawn, and Frog. Don’t worry. They will cooperate and not try to hurt you. Are you ready to take a long and hard look at yourself?”
Carl Coyote answered, “I, ah, guess so. This will not be either easy or fun.”
Eagle commented, “It is as easy as you wish for yourself, Carl Coyote. With you, honesty is the first step of growth.”
Coyote slowly gulped and nodded. He trotted along as Eagle flew ahead to tell their friends about Coyote.
Coyote slowed his pace as he approached Frog, Deer, and Fawn. He hung his head when he reached them. Carl Coyote said, “I’m, uh, …, I’m sorry for trying to catch you, Frog and Fawn.”
Fawn asked, “Why is Coyote so sad?”
Eagle strongly suggested, “Carl Coyote, please answer Fawn.”
Carl Coyote replied, “Fawn, I don’t like myself when I remember how I scared Frog, some Rabbits, and you.”
Fawn slowly thought about Coyote’s explanation. He replied, “Are you going to keep remembering about not trying to catch us?”
A nearby Rabbit spoke up. “He’d better keep remembering, or he will be in even more trouble.”
Fawn looked puzzled and confused. He questioned, “Can Coyote ever be happy if he always has sad and hurtful thoughts?”
Frog answered Fawn, “You ask very powerful questions for one so young. Carl Coyote needs to let go of his sad and hurtful thoughts. He needs to replace them with helpful, loving, and happy thoughts.”
Carl Coyote shot a comment, “Thanks for telling me what I need to think. I see your point though. Is this part of growth?”
Frog, Eagle, and Deer said nothing but vigorously nodded their heads.
“I bring the opportunities for change through growth,” said Frog. “This requires leaving behind thoughts about feeling bad, sad, and mad. If you think you can’t do this, you stay the same. Your beliefs about yourself make your world.”
Carl Coyote scratched his side and then his head. He had fleas in his side and confusion in his head. He scrunched his face up hard as he thought about the comments from Frog.
Carl Coyote relaxed and gave a HUGE Coyote triumphant howl. He said, “I’ve got it! When I change how I believe, I change how I live. All my Coyote mothers and fathers for many generations were best and happiest when they cared for others and themselves.”
Eagle asked Coyote, “What did you learn today?”
Carl Coyote replied, “My beliefs and thoughts didn’t help anyone, including myself. I now know I have the ability to change my thoughts. I also discovered I have faith in myself to change my talk and behavior. “
Eagle asked, “Deer, Frog, and Rabbit, what do you think?”
Deer, Frog, and Rabbit shouted, “CONGRATULATIONS, COYOTE!!!”
Carl Coyote blushed but looked very pleased.
Fawn asked, “Mommy, did I just learn about growth inside myself?”
Deer, Frog, and Eagle moved over to Fawn and gave him a BIG collective hug.
Deer lovingly answered her son, “Yes, Fawn, yes.”
- Click “Story Comprehension Questions: Coyote and Fawn learn about growth within” to get a copy of the questions for your class to discuss or write about or both.
OTHER STORIES BY TERRY GARDNER
Four Coyote tales
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Meets his Master
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Courage to Fear
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Travels Inside
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Coyote Becomes Mindful
Story featuring Bear
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Bear becomes bearable
Seven Stories from the East
- Read-Aloud Story for Grades 2-6: Dog Learns to Dance
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Teeter-Totter Eagle reviews her past
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Beaver Busy
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Coyote and Fawn learn about growth within (see above)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Argument between the Deer and Rabbits (Coming Soon)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Wise Guy (Coming Soon)
- Read-aloud story for grades 2-6: Flying Eights (Coming Soon)
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