Swimming in the Desert

Coyote and the Skyfather are the oldest of friends. They’ve always enjoyed competition, contests, and riddle games.

One warm summer day, Coyote remarked to Skyfather, “It is such a hot day, I shall die if I don’t find a cool bath.”

“Let us see which of us can find the most refreshing bath,” said Skyfather, eyes already twinkling with the thought of a good trick he might play.

“Very well,” Coyote barked, “I accept your challenge.”

So Coyote was to go first and bathe in the Skyfather’s selected pool. Skyfather directed Coyote to a raised promontory, and told him to leap into the pool below.

Coyote leapt as instructed, and landed with a “fooph” in a pool of fine, gray dust.

Skyfather rolled on the ground, laughing, as Coyote jumped free of the dust-pool, hotter and more parched than ever.

(And that children, is why the Coyote is gray.)

But Coyote was undeterred and prepared his own pool carefully. He gathered hundreds of blueberries and added their juices to his favorite watering pool.

When Skyfather saw the pool he was to bathe in, he was delighted. He’d rained on this pool many times, and knew it to be cool and inviting. And so in he eagerly dove and swam for many refreshing hours.

When he climbed again from the pool, it was Coyote’s turn to laugh; for the Skyfather’s skin was now (of course) dyed a lovely shade of cerulean.

(And that, children, is why the Sky is blue.)

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(250 words)

Inspired by this month’s Storybook Corner prompt:


9 thoughts on “Swimming in the Desert”

  1. I was curious about “leapt” and “leaped”. Leapt is more common in British English, it turns out. So to be internally consistent, this story should use “Grey” over “Gray”?

    Paging Grammar Girl!

  2. Love this story. I saw the last line coming as soon as I saw the word blueberries, but it’s still great.

    Also, regardless of consistency, my preference is “gray.” Something about “grey” bugs me every time I see it. No idea why.

    1. Yeah, I thought it was weird that “leapt” felt more natural to me, since it’s (supposedly) a Britishism.
      Gray and grey, meh, I have no special preference at all.

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