Ma’ii and Horned Toad

by Vicky on February 8, 2012

Every winter I look forward to telling the Navajo story of Ma’ii (Coyote) and Horned Toad.  There is a set of stories that are told only during the winter, so one’s appetite is whetted for a whole year!  I tell a version of the story that my friend, Erik Bitsui, told me.  I always try to channel his portrayal of the gruff, taciturn Horned Toad. There is a wonderful picture book version by the renowned Diné artist, Shonto Begay: Ma’ii and Cousin Horned Toad: A Traditional Navajo Story.

I had planned to tell this story the previous week, but we got off schedule in January when our library was closed due to snow.  So my lunar new year story time was delayed a week.  After the snow melted, we had much warmer weather, so I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer!

I love bringing the story to life with my lovely horned toad puppet, inherited from my parents’ folk art collection.

To set the mood, I played Radmilla Cody’s song, “Little Horned Toad.”

After the story, the kids told me they were worried about how the story would turn out.  But it had a very satisfactory ending.

Then they had fun making Coyote masks and learning how to say “goodbye” in Navajo.  (By the way, I’ve been having fun playing with the free “Navajo Toddler” app on my iPhone.  Check it out!)

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