art by M.S. Corley
by Melissa Mead
A woodcutter was walking through the forest one day when he heard something howling.
It sounded terribly close by, but if he didn't go into the forest and do his work he and his wife would have nothing to eat that day. Soon he came upon a fallen tree, and found a golden Coyote with its paw trapped beneath the trunk. The woodcutter raised his ax, but the Coyote turned and cried, "Don't kill me, kind sir!"
The woodcutter stopped short. He'd listened to his grandmother's bedtime stories and knew to beware Coyotes, especially talking ones, but he was a kind man, reluctant to kill a creature who'd done him no harm.
"If I free you, will you promise not to eat me?" he said.
"Good woodcutter, if you set me free I'll be so grateful I'll give you three wishes, for I am the King of the Coyotes."