Peter Blue Cloud is an honorary member of the Edge-ucation Council for this
beautiful story he wrote. I discovered it years ago in Whole Earth Review magazine
and was so taken with it that I got together with several friends to make our own
audio telling of it (coming soon).
Badger's Son went to Coyote's winter camp where Coyote spent his days and many nights fashioning drums which were able to make very beautiful songs.
"Coyote Old Man, will you teach me to make those drums that only you can make?" asked Badger's Son.
"And what, nephew, will your first song be about?"
And Badger's Son said, "Why of course it will be about you."
"Nephew, I'm very sorry, but, I've just forgotten how drums are made," answered Coyote.
And Badger's Son walked slowly, sadly home, hurt, but not angry. And waited 4 days, and again went to Coyote's camp.
"Coyote Old Man, I must learn to make those drums that only you can make, and my first song will be a thanks to the deer for his skin."
Coyote shook his head sadly, "Nephew, I surely wish I could remember how to make those drums, so I could teach you." So Badger's Son left Coyote's camp, and decided to have a long sweat bathe and clear his mind of making drums.
On the fourth day of his sweat, he saw a drum floating before him, making sounds like tapping raindrops. He followed his vision, and bent a frame of cedar to a roundness.
"Now is must get some deer hide for the head," he thought. Then he picked up a stick and pretended to beat a gentle rhythm on the empty drum.
He imagined a song. The song was about the creation. All things around him grew silent, listening to the song. Coyote Old Man quietly entered the camp and sat and listened until the song was done.
"Nephew," he said, "You have indeed become a very good drum maker."
Then Badger's Son handed Coyote Old Man the headless drum and he, Coyote, began to drum and sing.
And all the creatures entered camp and began to do a round dance.
"And where," asked someone, "did such a fine drum come from?"
And Badger's Son said, "Oh, it was Coyote Old Man who refused to teach me to make this fine drum."