… “You must guard against your propensity to act foolishly, Coyote,” said Death Spirit.
“Yes,yes,” said Coyote, “I will do just as you say, as always.”
“Very well,” said Death Spirit, “you will travel for five days and cross five mountains. Your wife will be with you the whole time but you must not under any circumstances touch her until the fifth mountain has been crossed at end of the fifth day. Do you understand, Coyote?”
“Yes,yes,” said Coyote, “your instructions are perfectly clear.”
When dawn came Coyote and his wife set out.
At first it seemed to Coyote that he was travelling along alone but after crossing the first mountain his wife’s presence by his side became discernible. Like a shadow, she seemed.
The two of them camped each night at the foot of each mountain in a makeshift, portable lodge. Coyote would sit on one side of their camp fire with his wife facing hm on the other side.
With each passing day, and each successfully traversed mountain, Coyote’s wife became more apparent to him.
Back in the Lodge of the Dead, Death Spirit was counting the days, “I do hope Coyote will do everything correctly and take his wife through to the world beyond,” he thought to himself.
It was now four days since Coyote and his wife had set out.
Together they had traversed four of the five mountains and the morrow would see them cross the fifth and final mountain.
Coyote sat on his side of the fire contemplating the almost wholly corporeal form of his wife. He could see her face and her body clearly but he dared not touch her until their next days journey was complete.
Suddenly an imperious impulse seized Coyote. He leaped to his feet and rushed around the fire to embrace his wife.
“Stop, stop Coyote, no! You must not touch me yet,” yelled his wife, alas, to no avail.
As Coyote touched the body of his wife she disappeared, returning completely to the shadow lands…
To be continued…