Inremotetimes, after ourancientswere settled at Middle Ant Hill, a little thing occurred which will explain a great deal. My children, you have doubtless seen Tip-beetles.They run around on smooth, hardpatchesof ground in spring time and early summer, kicking their heels into the air andthrustingtheir heads into anycrackor hole they find.
Well, in ancient times, on the pathway leading around to Fat Mountain, there was one of these Beetles running about in all directions in the sunshine, when a Coyote cametrottingalong. Heprick uphis ears, lowered his nose,archedhis neck, andstuck outhis paw toward the Beetle.
"Ha!" said he, "I shall bite you!"
The Beetle immediatelystuckhis head down close to the ground, and, lifting one of his antennadeprecatingly, exclaimed :
"Hold on! Hold on, friend! Wait a bit, for the love ofmercy! I hear something very strange down below here!"
" Humph! " replied the Coyote. "What do you hear?"
" Hush!hush!" cried the Beetle, with his head still to the ground. "Listen!"
So the Coyotedrew backand listened mostattentively.By and byBeetle lifted himself with a longsighof relief.
"Okwe!" exclaimed the Coyote. "What was going on?"
"The Good Soul save us!"" exclaimed the Beetle,with a shake of his head. "I heard them saying down there that tomorrow they would chase away and thoroughlychastiseeverybody whodefiledthe publictrailsof this country, and they are making ready as fast as they can!"
"Souls of my ancestors!" cried the Coyote. "I have beenloiteringalong this trail this very morning, and have defiled it repeatedly. I'll cut!" And away he ran as fast as he could go.
The Beetle, in pureexuberanceof spirits, turnedsomersaultsand stuck his head in the sand until it was quite turned.
Thus did the Beetle in the days of the ancients save himself from being bitten. Consequently the Tip-beetle has that strange habit of kicking his heels into the air and sticking his head in the sand.
Thus shortens my story.
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