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Crawfish Races Coyote



Crawfish Races Coyote – Small Lake in the Area

Arrow Lakes Legend Told by Martin Louie

Colville Confederated Tribal Member and Elder


Coyote was teasing Crawfish because he was so slow and because he walked sideways. Crawfish argued he was not slow, but indeed very fast. Coyote laughed, gave him a long look, and challenged him to a race.

Crawfish told Coyote, “You go ahead and I’ll follow you.”

Coyote agreed.

They got ready to race and met by the lake. Coyote stood in front of Crawfish, and said, “We’ll race to the log in that little lake up ahead.”

Crawfish agreed.

crawfish sketch

Off they went and as Crawfish was about to pass, Coyote sped up. He kept running, but just as he approached the finish line, he turned around to have one last look at Crawfish. In doing so, he swung his tail and threw Crawfish over the finish line, which was the small lake, ahead of him.

They say that the small lake used to be in the area of northeast Washington State, on the Colville Confederated Reservation and served as the finish line between the race of Coyote and Crawfish.

Where small lake is….


This is one of the many legends recorded by the elders of the Colville Confederated Reservation. These stories are still shared by elders and passed down through generations and each one telling a valuable lesson to youth. What do you think the lesson is of Coyote and Crawfish?

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  1. Cute story. When we were in New Orleans I ate crawfish for the first time. It was delicious. I didn’t know they were in Washington lakes. (Or am I taking this fable too seriously?)

    1. Carmen Peone says:

      The legends are fun. Crawfish around here are called crawdads and are much smaller due to colder temps and harsher winters. Kids love the chase them around. I’ve never eaten crawfish, so I’ll take your comment at will.

      1. Heidi Archer says:

        Love the story Carmen, Can’t believe you haven’t had crawdads, they are very good. love catching them (challenging little things) and cooking in a little butter and garlic. get Joe to catch some for you!

        1. Carmen Peone says:

          I have not, Heidi! I will have to have Joe catch one and try it. I’ll let you know.