An incorrigible trickster, a clever thief, a rogue, sometimes a magnanimous hero, often a vengeful loser, but always a survivor, Coyote is the most complex character in the Nez Perce cycle of traditional myths. Nez Perce Coyote Tales, a collection of fifty-two stories translated from the native language, represents the most extensive treatment of the character of Coyote for any Native American group. Within these pages are stories of Coyote and various monsters, such as Flint Man, Killer Butterfly, and Cannibal: tales of Coyote and other animals, such as Bull, Fox, and Bat: and many other stories, including how Coyote brought the buffalo, warred with Winter, killed the grizzly bears, married his daughter, and visited White Mountain.
In an introduction and concluding chapter, Deward E. Walker, Jr., and Daniel N. Matthews analyze Coyote’s social relations and interaction with other character in Nez Perce mythology. They reveal how the myths, besides being entertaining stories, also serve to impart traditional cultural values, proper social relations, and other practical information.