Description of Figure/Doll

New Mexican ceramic storyteller figurine with a woman, five children, and a dog. Storytellers (a man or woman with an open mouth, who is surrounded by many children or animals) were first introduced by the Cochiti Pueblo Indians in New Mexico. Helen Cordero is credited with creating the first storyteller sculpture (in 1964) in honor of her grandfather, a tribal storyteller. Painted on bottom of pottery: “E. Cajero.  Bird Image. Jemkz ’92 - Sun Bird.”

Link to higher resolution images at ClipPix

USA: New Mexico

Location: Southeast USA

Capital: Santa Fe

Main language: English

Currency: US dollar


Construction: ceramic clay

Height in Centimeters: 13

Height in Inches: 5

The Pueblo Storyteller: The Tale of the Coyote and the Turtle

Reading Level: 2.30

My name is Cyanne, and I live in New Mexico. We are referred to as Pueblo People or Pueblo Indians. The term “pueblo” actually comes from the Spanish word for “town” because we live together in small villages.

Throughout the years, the Pueblo People have told stories to teach children about our traditions and about life in general. There are many, many legends that have been told over and over. Here is one of my favorite stories about a very smart turtle!

Mr. Coyote was hunting near the place where turtles live in the river. Mrs. Turtle has a little baby turtle. When the baby is sleeping, she leaves to go hunting for food.

Little Turtle awakes and, nobody being there, he cries and comes out of water. Little Turtle finds tracks and follows them. Soon Little Turtle is lost and can not get back to the river. Little Turtle starts to cry.

Mr. Coyote hears Little Turtle and finds him. Mr. Coyote asks Little Turtle what he is singing. Little Turtle says, “I am not singing.”

“I know you were singing. I heard you singing, and I want to learn your song. If you do not teach me your song, I will swallow you whole!” said Mr. Coyote.

“You can’t swallow me,” said the Little Turtle, “I have a hard shell that will hurt your throat.”

“Well then,” said Mr. Coyote, “I will throw you into the river if you do not sing.”

“Oh, please Mr. Coyote,” said Little Turtle, “Do not throw me into the river. I might drown if you do. Please do not throw me in!”

“Yes, I will!” and Mr. Coyote threw Little Turtle into the river

Little Turtle swam out to where Mr. Coyote could not reach him. Then he stuck his head up out of the water and laughed.

“Thank you Mr. Coyote, for throwing me into the river. This is my home. I was lost and could not get back to the water.”

Mr. Coyote was not happy. He knew he had been tricked by a baby turtle.

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