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1001 Stories Collection

How Coyote Stole Fire

Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition Native American folktale

Brave Coyote wants to help the people stay warm in the bitterly cold winter and so enlists the help of several animals to fulfill the quest.


When you live outside in the wild, cold weather can be fatal. In this story, the Coyote realises that he can help the freezing humans of his community by bringing them fire. However, in order to bring warmth to their tents, he must face the Fire Beings who live on a far-away mountain top…

Why we chose it

This was one of the stories chosen by Geraldine McCaughrean for our World Stories project with St Ebbes School in 2016. It became one of the Learning Team’s favourite stories to tell and was much enjoyed by primary school visitors.

Where it came from

How Coyote Stole Fire is a folktale from Native America. Coyote is a mythical figure for many Native American tribes and there are many stories about him. In some stories he teaches and helps, in others he is a clever trickster. Sometimes he is both. How Coyote Stole Fire has been attributed to the Shoshone and the Karuk tribes but others have similar versions of the tale.

Where it went next

The tale has largely been transmitted orally between communities, along with many other Native American tales which focus upon the figure of the Coyote

Associated stories

Many stories exist about Coyote and his pursuit of warmth or light, such as How Coyote stole daylight. The Zuni tribe of Southwest America tell the tale of How the Eagle and the Coyote Stole the Sun’ in which the Coyote releases the moon from a box and brings winter upon his homeland.

Added on 29th June 2020

Oral tradition Native American folktale