Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The World of Riverside #2.7

The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales

Rate this book
Coyote. Anansi. Brer Rabbit. Trickster characters have long been a staple of folk literature, and are a natural choice for the overarching subject of acclaimed editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's third mythic anthology. The Coyote Road features a remarkable range of authors, each with his or her fictional look at a trickster character. These authors include Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (The Blue Girl), Ellen Klages (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners), Patricia A. McKillip (Old Magic), and Jane Yolen. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess. The Coyote Road is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary fantastic fiction.

518 pages, Hardcover

First published July 19, 2007

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Ellen Datlow

242 books1,612 followers
Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for forty years as fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and editor of Event Horizon and SCIFICTION. She currently acquires short stories and novellas for Tor.com. In addition, she has edited about one hundred science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year series, The Doll Collection, Mad Hatters and March Hares, The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea, Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, Edited By, and Final Cuts: New Tales of Hollywood Horror and Other Spectacles.
She's won multiple World Fantasy Awards, Locus Awards, Hugo Awards, Bram Stoker Awards, International Horror Guild Awards, Shirley Jackson Awards, and the 2012 Il Posto Nero Black Spot Award for Excellence as Best Foreign Editor. Datlow was named recipient of the 2007 Karl Edward Wagner Award, given at the British Fantasy Convention for "outstanding contribution to the genre," was honored with the Life Achievement Award by the Horror Writers Association, in acknowledgment of superior achievement over an entire career, and honored with the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award at the 2014 World Fantasy Convention.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
418 (34%)
4 stars
446 (36%)
3 stars
267 (22%)
2 stars
61 (5%)
1 star
20 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 124 reviews
Profile Image for Nancy O'Toole.
Author 16 books52 followers
September 8, 2011
The trickster has always been one of my favorite characters types in literature. Apparently, I'm not the only one as Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling have crafted an entire short story anthology around the idea of the trickster. This is the second anthology I have read edited by Datlow and Windling, after The Faerie Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm. Once again I found myself impressed by the wide variety of content. We have stories that take place in all over our world, or in completely new worlds. Stories that take place now, or deep in the past. Here the trickster can be a protagonist, a villain, a notable side character, or even a force of nature. I found plenty of stories to love here, even if a handful weren't exactly to my taste and I wasn't always fond of the poetry. In the end I don't think this collection was quite as consistent as The Faerie Reel, but I still enjoyed most of the stories. Below are short reviews of my five favorites:

"Wagers of Gold Mountain" by Steve Breman- A historical fantasy selection taking place in San Francisco, this short story is about two trickster immortals. My favorite part about this story was how the protagonist (Yuan), managed to trick the tricksters and find his way out of a very difficult situation. I also thought that the San Francisco setting came across very strong.

"Realer than You" by Christopher Bazark- Until the end, there is very little about this story that feels magical. Instead it is about a young man who is forced to move to Japan, and how he struggles to adapt to the new culture. I enjoy how the kitsune trickster type was weaved into this story, and how well the author depicted the culture shock of suddenly being in a very different country.

"The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" by Delia Sherman- A story about a unique young woman who is pulled into a dangerous wager where she must out dance and out smart an evil fiddler. The best thing about this story is the strength of it's voice. I can really hear the storyteller in my head. I also enjoyed the ending.

"Crow Roads" by Charles de Lint- "Crow Roads" tells about a strange man that visits a small town, and the impact he has on one girl in particular. I thought the way that Charles de Lint depicted a small, poor town was very accurate, and I found Annie to be my favorite protagonist in the entire book. I was really happy with the decision she made by the end of the story, and wish that other young adult characters could be so levelheaded.

"A Reversal of Fortune" by Holly Black- In "A Reversal of Fortune", Holly Black puts her own spin on the betting with the devil trope, when Nikki enters an eating contest with the prince of darkness. The idea is just the right level of ridiculous, and I really enjoyed how the story ended.

Other stories I really like include "One Odd Shoe" by Pat Murphy, "The Listeners" by Nikki Kiriki Hoffman, "A Tale for Short Days" by Richard Bowes, and "Honored Guest" by Ellen Kushner. The book also has a great introduction on the history of trickster myths and a list of recommended reading in the back.
Profile Image for Sarah Lu.
363 reviews8 followers
October 23, 2012
One Odd Shoe by Pat Murphy: Ever wonder why you see so many odd shoes by the side of the road? This story is Pat Murphy's theory. It is a good tale of how Coyote can appear in all shapes and forms and it is best not to get on his bad side. 3 stars

Coyote Woman by Carolyn Dunn: Poem. Not much to say here other than it was fairly descriptive. No rating

Wagers of Gold Mountain by Steve Berman: A story that takes place during the Gold Rush. The story concerns Ji Yuan and his younger brother Chen, and how they journeyed from China to make their fortune. Ji Yuan's younger brother is ailing, and he has decided to do whatever he can to save his brother, even if it must come to going to two spirits and asking them for help. Personally, I loved this take on the story that I've heard before. There were a few things that irked me, such as the belief that the best woman for a man was one who did not read or was smarter than her husband. However, I can overlook that fact due to the overall quality of the story. 4 1/2 stars

The Listeners by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: This story, while interesting due to the setting (ancient Greece) was a bit more annoying and depressing than fantastical. It dealt with the sad truth that it isn't until recent history that women didn't really have much to say about the events in their own lives. And if the female is a slave, then they can definitely forget about having any sort of control. This point is driven home so many times. The main character, Nysa, does eventually escape her fate with the help of the Trickster god. However, it seems as though this story is left unfinished somehow. When one reads it, obviously, it is the end of the story, but there is something that in the ending that lacks a finality that doesn't sit well... 1 star

Realer Than You by Christopher Barzak: A bittersweet story involving a sixteen year old American boy trying to understand his surroundings in his new home of Japan. While trying to adjust, he meets a fox spirit in two forms, and along the way he discovers things about both himself and his new home. 4 stars

The Fiddler of Bayou Teche by Delia Sherman: I sincerely loved the narrator. It was a bit jarring at first, reading the story in the Cajun accent, but after a while, it felt so natural and attributed to the feel of the story. The descriptions were marvelous; the reader can feel as though they are really in the swamps. The story was fun and sobering at the same time, bringing the funny and threatening ways of Trickster to light in the same moment. While this is how the entire anthology is supposed to read, I believe, this story especially brings that statement home. 4 1/2 stars

A Tale for the Short Days by Richard Bowes: This multi-part story reads more like a summary of events to me. While there is dialogue and description, it all seems a bit rushed. Like this was the first draft of the story and it never really got past it. Admittedly, it is a rather simple story, however, the writing style seems to take away from some of the wonder that this story promises. 2 stars

Friday Night at St. Cecilia's by Ellen Klages: This story started off fairly normal. Girl meets an odd cleaning lady at her school and plays a board game and they talk. The girl loses and then asks for another game. Then, craziness is let out of the bag when our main character is transported to a land where board games come to life. A bit odd, but done fairly well. There are also some amusing lines, such as "If there's one thing Catholic school teaches you, it's never, ever listen to a talking snake in a garden." (Page 189) 3 stars

The Fortune-Teller by Patricia A. McKillip: This story involves what one would think would be the Trickster character getting tricked herself. A young woman steals a deck of Tarot cards from an old woman in order to settle down and make her living but finds that telling fortunes with stolen cards is not a good idea. I found this story interesting, but I couldn't really get invested in it for some reason. 2 stars

How Raven Made His Bride by Theodora Goss: Another poem in this collection of stories about Trickster. The title pretty much says everything about the story; in a three part story, we see how Raven created his wife, what parts of the land, sky, animals, water he used. There was also a clear statement of the story continuing, about how Raven's wife fashioned her own heart, but that being a different story. I would like to see if the author has indeed written that continuing poem. 3 stars

Crow Roads by Charles de Lint: This was a bit of an odd one. I'm not quite sure what de Lint is trying to say about Coyote. Coyote appears as a man that appears in a town one day, sort of dishing out some karma. If you are nice to him, he is nice to you plus some. If you are mean to him, he is mean to you, plus some. He and a young woman start talking about the Crow Roads, which is a road to the place where things don't have names. Perhaps the world of Faerie and Spirits, I think. But again, I'm not quite sure what the point was. 2.5 stars

The Chamber Music of Animals by Katherine Vaz: Radio transistor stuffed orangutans fighting Leukemia with musical notes. 'Nuff said. 2 stars

Uncle Bob Visits by Caroline Stevermer: Trickster visits anyplace he wants, so why not a school house? He causes some trouble in a schoolhouse when the students are being taught how to diagram sentences, and before he will let the students learn their lesson, he first learn his own. 3 stars.

Uncle Tompa by Midori Snyder: This is a poem describing Uncle Tompa, a Trickster of Tibet. It read more as an intro to a collection of stories about Uncle Tompa, then a stand alone. This might have done better either being at the beginning of this collection or at the beginning of a collection of stories just about Uncle Tompa, not in the middle of this collection; it seems a little out of place. However, it did make me interested in the character, and I might go out to look for some stories about him at a later date. 2.5 stars

Cat of the World by Michael Cadnum: This story boggled my mind. The main character, a cat (or not a cat, as will be explained in the author's notes...) just seems so out of touch with the world while still trying to effect it. The cat seems to take himself too seriously and apparently believes that talking cats are an everyday thing and is completely surprised when people don't really take well to a talking cat ending up in their living room. This story just did not make much sense. And if you want to know what exactly this being is, you have to read the author's notes. If you don't read them, you won't know. Which kind of irks me. 1 star

Honored Guest by Ellen Kushner: A smooth talking guest comes to visit a family. This was pretty good. Lots of talking and some bits where you get a little miffed at characters, but that was the point for some of them. 3.5 stars

Always the Same Story by Elizabeth E. Wein: Pretty much what it says on the tin. Though, with a circus child and trains. 2 stars

The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn by Kim Antieau: Princess and the Pea, but with cactus thorns. 3 stars

Black Rock Blues by Will Shetterly: Trickster must embark on a journey to find an item that he doesn't remember stealing, along with a woman named O that he has the sneaking suspicion he knows better than she is letting on, and with no memory of his life beyond 6 days ago. This is an interesting little journey of Trickster's, where we get to see him not only tricking others, but possibly getting tricked himself. 3 stars

The Constable of Abal by Kelly Link: This is a bit of a confusing story at times, and takes some unexpected turns. Ultimately, it is a story about finding yourself. 1 star

A Reversal of Fortune by Holly Black: Deal with the devil. Straight forward and predictable. 1 star

God Clown by Carol Emshwiller: Why do bad things happen to good people while bad people have so much good fortune? The main character of this story goes to find the Great God Clown to find out. 1 star

The Other Labyrinth by Jedediah Berry: A man must find his way through a labyrinth, while also finding his way through the labyrinth of his heart and mind. 1.5 stars

The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford: The Dreaming Wind is a wind that blows through the town of Lapira once a year as the Summer gives way to Fall and causes chaos for a day, changing people, animals and trees, making peculiar things happen, giving life to things that don't normally live, and then everything goes back to normal after the Wind has had it's fun. But what happens when the Dreaming Wind doesn't visit? One would think that the town would be relieved, but are they? This story is told mainly in summary and description, but the last few pages spring to life, and entrance the imagination. 3 stars

Kwaku Anansi Walks the World's Web by Jane Yolen: Poem about Anansi. 4 stars

The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change by Kij Johnson: What if dogs could speak? How would we react? What stories would they tell? Do they have their own Trickster Tales? 3 stars
Profile Image for Jen.
1,433 reviews120 followers
June 30, 2017
I first read this book December 28-January 1, 2013. I did not review it after that first reading.
I reread it exactly four-and-a-half years later, from June 28 to June 29, 2017. And I reviewed it! As I read it for the second time, I reviewed it as I read it, reading and reviewing half of the book (51%) on June 28, and the second half on June 29. :-)

I am giving this book 4 stars, for being a very good book that I really enjoyed, for two reasons: Reason One is that it was a book that I very much enjoyed. :-)

Reason Two is because, if my counting and math were correct, the stories' ratings all added together equal 100, which divided by 26 stories equals 3.85. And I'm rounding up thanks to the excellent decorations by Charles Vess that were found above the title of each story. :-)

If it wasn't for the wonderful illustrations, I might have rounded down. I was a wee bit disappointed by the final story in this collection (it didn't have a trickster in it!) and the Introduction by Terri Windling ran too long - and was kind of boring - for me.

But then again, given how many anthologies I've read lately that have been full of incomprehensible-to-me stories, I might have given this book 4 stars just because all of the stories, except for two of the four poems (and maybe one of the 22 short stories?), were understandable. (!!!)

Also, I really enjoyed the variety in types of tricksters. I don't think any two featured the same "person" as trickster! (Though several had "normal humans" as tricksters.) From those normal humans, to Anansi, the Devil, Loki, and Coyote - mostly (or all?) female Coyotes - they were great fun to read about. (The Coyote multiples were all different, so I'm not counting them as the same character.) :-)

I have *three* favorite stories from this collection: Friday Night at St. Cecilia's by Ellen Klages, from my first day's reading, because of the board game settings: Clue! Chutes and Ladders! Monopoly! The Señorita and the Cactus Thorn by Kim Antieau, for the sweetness of its ending. And The Other Labyrinth by Jedediah Berry, for the labyrinth: So many different types of passages! :-)

My least favorite stories were unfortunately all four of the poems (the first two for being incomprehensible; the latter two for being too short) and The Chamber Music of Animals by Katherine Vaz (I didn't find Rangy the Orangutan very trickster-ish, though he was a stuffed orangutan that "came alive"; mostly, this story was just too weird for me).

And now let's dive in to my individual story ratings, shall we?


The first half of this book was reread on June 28, 2017:

One Odd Shoe by Pat Murphy
4 stars - very good; really liked

This was a rather fun, but chilling, story about a college boy and a female Coyote. Said college boy was full of himself and thought he was God's Gift to Women. Coyote showed him otherwise. ;-)

Coyote Woman by Carolyn Dunn
2.5 stars - average

This is a poem, I think about Coyote Woman and a man who loves her. But I might be wrong about the man (he was definitely a man, though). :-/

Wagers of Gold Mountain by Steve Berman
4 stars - very good; really liked

This was a fun story. At first, I was worried that Ji Yuan would fail - epically - and his future would be short. But then he showed a bit of exceptional cunning. :-)

I enjoyed how Ji Yuan was able to meet both spirits' demands. He saved both himself and his brother! :-)

The Listeners by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
4 stars - very good; really liked

This was another rather fun story. It was about Nysa, a fourteen-year-old slave who But at least she is - hopefully - free to .

Realer Than You by Christopher Barzak
4 stars - very good; really liked

This story was better than I expected after the way it opened. It opened with a few statements about how the world is an illusion and there are no answers. Or something. So I expected an unfathomable ending. Instead, it was a complete story, and I understood it! :-)

This was the story of Elijah Fulton, a boy who was uprooted from his life in the U.S. when his family moved to Japan. He is experiencing what I would call a major case of culture shock, in part because things are so far outside of his experience. {He needed to learn to travel without expectations, is my opinion. "Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens." (from The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster)} In the end, he learned that "nothing is more real than the masks we make to show one another who we are." And he grew more accepting of things in Japan. :-)

The Fiddler of Bayou Teche by Delia Sherman
4 stars - very good; really liked

This was the rather fascinating story of Cadence, an albino girl who lives among loup-garous. She has a run-in with Murderes Petitpas, a fiddler and someone she thought was made up by her Tante Eulalie. But he was real, all right. He blackmailed Cadence into dancing with his sons for a wager he had with them. Cadence came out the winner in that contest. ;-)

But after finishing this story, I realized that I didn't have any idea who the trickster was in it! Was it 'Dres Petitpas, he who bargained with the devil, or Cadence, she who won the contest? I just don't know. :-/

A Tale for the Short Days by Richard Bowes
3.5 stars - good

This was the story of the Sparkman family and their encounters with the God of Thieves, Loki. :-)

I understood it right through to the very end, where it lost me. I don't know what Loki stole after his third appearance, or what Diana meant when she thought, "they wouldn't find her where she was going." Why was she leaving? Why does she need to remain hidden? Where is she going? ???

Friday Night at St. Cecilia's by Ellen Klages
4 stars - very good; really liked

This story is, I think, my favorite out of all that I've read so far. It is the story of Rachel, who is trapped in a world of board games by Mab, Queen of the Faeries. It was great fun to read. I enjoyed how Rachel turned the tables on Mab and rescued herself and Addie. :-)

The Fortune Teller by Patricia A. McKillip
4 stars - very good; really liked

This is the story of Merle, a pickpocket and fortune teller (also, this story's trickster). After stealing some tarot cards and running across an old friend, she soon decides to

Also, thanks to the author's notes after the story, I understood Merle a little better. :-)

How Raven Made His Bride by Theodora Goss
2.5 stars - average

This story is yet another poem. *sigh* Poetry and I just do not get along. Once again, understanding eluded me. I got that Raven stole things from other beings to make his bride, but I was confused about why the river was involved. :-/

Crow Roads by Charles de Lint
4 stars - very good; really liked

Weirdly, after finishing this story, all I can think is, "What a nice story that was!" In other words, it was really good. :-)

This is the story of Annie, a young woman in the 1960s who meets a young man, who accepts "Buddy," a name he was called in derision by one of the local young men, as his name. Buddy was the trickster, but he sure didn't seem like one to me. After all, Annie didn't follow him home.

But it was a fun story. :-)

The Chamber Music of Animals by Katherine Vaz
3.5 stars - good

This story was weird, but good. The trickster here was an orangutan named Rangy. But that wasn't the weird part. . .

Rangy was a stuffed orangutan with a transistor radio inside. . . Uhm. . .Say what, now?! Yes, that is really what happened. So. . .as I said. . . Weird.

I don't think I'll be able to finish this book today. Only 3.75 hours are left and I still have half of the book to go. So I'm going to pause before reading the next story and read a graphic novel, instead, for my June 28, 2017, book.

The second half of this book was read on June 29, 2017:

Uncle Bob Visits by Caroline Stevermer
4 stars - very good; really liked

This story was set in a schoolroom and featured some sort of spirit as the trickster. Uncle Bob, as it turned out, was not a fan of grammar. ;-)

In the end, another teacher got "Uncle Bob" to settle down and accept the lessons. Mrs. Brisbois didn't do anything special, she just :-)

Though as I said in my status update for this story, like the children, I wish I could have heard what Mrs. Brisbois talked about with Miss Lillegren. ;-)

Uncle Tompa by Midori Snyder
3.5 stars - good

This story, another poem, was actually understandable for me! But though I enjoyed it, it was really just an introduction to the character of Uncle Tompa. I would have liked a bit more, to see him "turn the handle of a prank." (And yes, I do realize that we saw him grip the edge of a plateau, shake it, and send "fools tumbling over the edge." I just feel like there should have been more.)

Cat of the World by Michael Cadnum
3.5 stars - good

This story featured an immortal cat as trickster. Captured by a pair with designs to have him provide sport for their fighting dog, he came out mostly unscathed, as you'd expect of a trickster. ;-)

I don't understand what the scene with the girl "with a punctured tire" in the end was for, though. I think it would have been better to end it after the cat "melted away into the night." :-/

Honored Guest by Ellen Kushner
4 stars - very good; really liked

This was the story of Bright Phoenix, who met a trickster who outsmarted her grandmother, Omama.

I liked how Bright Phoenix seemed to come out on top in her dealing with the trickster. "Like a shadow I have kissed, she leaves the garden then, taking with her all my past. But I have gotten my future in return." :-)

Always the Same Story by Elizabeth E. Wein
4 stars - very good; really liked

I really enjoyed this story, about a boy with a bit of the trickster in him. Gus was a "circus boy," child of the owners of a traveling circus. While traveling with them one summer, :-)

The Señorita and the Cactus Thorn by Kim Antieau
4.5 stars; great

This was a beautiful story, about a Señorita and her prospective mother-in-law, who was sort of a retired trickster.

I enjoyed how the Señorita tried to take in everything her prospective mother-in-law shared, and I enjoyed how the mother-in-law changed her opinion of the Señorita from prospective daughter-in-law to future daughter-in-law.

Also, that acceptance in the end put me in tears. :-)

Black Rock Blues by Will Shetterly
4.5 stars - great

This story was pretty great. I really enjoyed it. It was about Trickster, who stole from Death! I also really liked the character, Mama Sky.

I just wish I had an idea as to who Oya is. Besides being Mama Sky's daughter, she's. . . ???

The Constable of Abal by Kelly Link
4 stars - very good; really liked

This story was very long - the longest, yet! - but I really enjoyed it. It was the story of Ozma, 16-year-old daughter of Zilla,

From reading the Author's Note after the story, I understood that Ozma was the trickster. Which didn't make much sense to me, until I remembered how Ozma, So I suppose that was rather tricksy of her. ;-)

A Reversal of Fortune by Holly Black
4 stars - very good; really liked

This story featured the Devil as trickster. But it was the story of Nikki,

Happily, Nikki won. ;-)

God Clown by Carol Emshwiller
4 stars - very good; really liked

This story was really quite interesting, despite the fact that we never learned the name of the narrator. The trickster in it was Great God Clown, and our unnamed narrator eventually went up to find him to ask for help. . It was so nicely done that I didn't realize what was done until two pages later. (This changeover scene happened on pages 446 to 448.) :-)

The Other Labyrinth by Jedediah Berry
4.5 stars - great

In this story, the trickster was a labyrinth builder. And oh what a labyrinth builder he was! It had sooo many different types of passages! I really enjoyed going through them all with Jacques.

And though . I almost cried. :-)

The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford
4.5 stars - great

This story was almost entirely made up of descriptive passages, with very little dialogue, so imagine my surprise when I finished it and almost burst into tears. It was really wonderful.

The trickster in this story was the Dreaming Wind. And it was delightful. :-)

Kwaku Anansi Walks the World's Web by Jane Yolen
3 stars - liked it

This story was yet another short poem that only introduced us to the title character. (I understood it!) And while spiders terrify me, and Anansi as a character freaks me out, I wish we could have seen him do something trickster-ish. :-/

The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change by Kij Johnson
OR Simply:
The Evolution of Trickster Stories by Kij Johnson
4 stars - very good; really liked

This story was pretty devastating. About dogs who were abandoned after they acquired the ability to speak and remember, it really hurt me to read it. :'(

But it was a very good story. I'm glad that Linna, the human lady, cared about and helped the dogs.

I just don't know who the trickster was in this story. And reading the Author's Note after the story makes me think that there wasn't a trickster character in this story. :-(
Profile Image for Beth Cato.
Author 107 books488 followers
February 16, 2016
This anthology features a wide variety of trickster-themed fiction and poetry. As with most compilations like this, some stories resonated more strongly with me than others. The most noteworthy included:

"The Fiddler of Bayou Teche" by Delia Sherman
A fantastic take on bayou lore and fiddling and dancing the devil down.

"Crow Roads" by Charles de Lint
I love the moods that de Lint masterfully creates, and here he sets up a strong teenage girl and a fae boy against the backdrop of 1960s cultural change.

"Cat of the World" by Michael Cadnum
Of course, I love the cat story. A clever long-lived feline escaped the bag and causes plenty of mischief.

"Black Rock Blues" by Will Shetterly
A very urban fantasy kind of trickster tale.

"Kwaky Anansi Walks the World's Web" by Jane Yolen
I love Yolen poetry, and this work just begs to be read aloud. Even her biography is a joy to read.
Profile Image for Иван Величков.
937 reviews60 followers
November 8, 2015
Доста странна сбирка от разкази и поеми. Някой ми харесаха, някой много ми харесаха, а някой естествено, не можах да оценя.
Интрото е завладяващо с кратката си история за появяването на пакостниците:) из всички фолклори и митологии. Разказите са подбрани много разнообразно. Не се повтарят нито един образ, място или време. Накрая има списък с препоръчани произведения, както на нови и стари автори, така и фолклорни сборници, сборници с легенди и детски книжки, мисля че ще ми е доста полезен, обаче от сега мога да го обогатя.
Да взема да кажа по няколко думи за разказите:

One Odd Shoe - Pat Murphy - Точно такива неща очаквах да прочета. В един индиански резерват, ттрябва да внимаваш как се държиш с местните момичета и какво си пожелаваш, иначе може да ти изчезне обувката. А ако случайно видиш пътека от единични обувки, водеща някъде, не бъди глупак, не отивай на там.

Coyote Woman - Carolyn Dunn - Не ме впечатли. Да оставим настрана това дето го наричат поема, но няма нито рима, нито ритъм, нито еднакъв брой срички в строфите, не разбирам от поезия, но не ми хареса и съдържанието, освен формата.

Wagers of Gold Mountain - Steve Berman - Америка по време на златната треска. Севера е пълен с евтина китайска работна ръка. Много ясно, че ще си докарат и техните полубожествени тарикати, които ще се сдушат с местните, но И Юан ще успее да изиграе и двете страни на странния съюз и да взема каквото желае.

The Listeners - Nina Kiriki Hoffman - В древен рим жените са имали по-малко права и от робите, а жените роби - никакви. Как можеш да промениш пътя на съдбата си? Като се помолиш на бога на пътниците и крадците - Хермес, но дали ще ти хареса новия път, който този шегаджия ти е отредил?

Realer than you - Cristopher Barzak - Едно американско хлапе се мести с родителите си в Япония, няма как да не попадне на местен женски дух Китсуне, който да му помогне да се климатизира.

The Fiddler of Bayou Teche - Delia Sherman - Едно от най-добрите неща в сборника. В блатата на Луизяна през 20-те години има един цигулар при блатните хора, който е надсвирил дявола. Когато решава да надхитри синовете си, обаче не му се получава. С любимата ми комбинация от литература, танц и музика разказа упя да ме вдъхнови и аз да нахвърлям нещо малко и нашенско по въпроса.

A Tale for the short Days - Richard Bowes - Богът на крадците и владетел на тъмната част на деня се опитва да надлъже три поколения от известна фамилия, която се занимава с енергийни ресурси. Успява всеки път, но не спира прогреса и нощта е все по-осветена.

Friday Night at St. Cecilia's - Ellen Klages - Ако играеш на табла с малки старици, много внимавай когато се разбирате за правилата. Незнаеща тази максима Рейчъл се впуска в чудато приключение из вселените на настолните игри и осъзнава, че за да надхитри Измамника, трябва да мами самата тя.

The Fortune Teller - Patricia A. McKillip - Да откраднеш стар дек карти от дърта циганка, не е добра идея. Те винаги показват едно и също и то не е добро за теб.

How Raven made his Bride - Theodora Goss - Поема по старата индианска легенда. Пак е от тези "Поеми", но този път съдържанието е супер. Ама легендата в оригинал е по-добра.

Crow Roads - Charles de Lint - Главният виновник да прочета антологията. Както очаквах де Линт е в стихията си тук, но не е от най-силните му произведения. В караванните гета на средния запад, понякога се появява човек без имe. Ако се държиш добре с него и той е добър, държиш ли се лошо - лошо ти се пише. И винаги си тръгва с момиче.

The Chamber Music of Animals - Katherine Vaz - Разкошна идея, но зле представена, според мен естествено. Филип умира от левкимия. Малката маймунка(опа, човекоподобно) с вградено радио и борбен дух на африкански маймунски пакостник, може да пребори болеста с магията на музиката. Само и трябва малко външна помощ от роднините на хлапето.

Uncle Bob Visits - Caroline Stevermer - Чичи Боб е пакостлив дух, който пречи на учебния процес в малко провинцялно училище. Как да го накарат да спре? Само пенсионираната стара учителка знае.

Uncle Tompa - Midori Snyder - Мидори ни запознава с тибетслия хитрец чичо Томпа, който като нашия хитър Петър наказва гордите, алчните и фалшиво-праведните. Кратката форма е по-скоро визитка. Мидори се е въздържала да преразказва тибетските легенди. Само ни зарежда с достатъчно любопитство да ги прочетем сами.

Cat of the World - Michele Cadnum - Един от най-старите Пакостници е котката, още от древен Египет. Минала през цялата човешка история, тя още е тук и още прави каквото си иска, а когато двама идиоти я хващат за да я подхвърлят на пидбула си - си патят сериозно.

Honored Guest - Ellen Kusher - Изобретателката на маниерното фентъзи, отново много силно се отчита в собствения си поджанр. В китай една алчна и богата дама, преговаря с находчива млада търговка. Играта е да не знае какво точно иска търговката, за да и го даде безплатно на края.

Aways the same Story - Elizabeth E. Wein - Най-старият номер в книгата винаги работи. През депресията в америка едно хлапе, син на цирков предприемач, е отвлечено. Как да надхитри похитителите? Разкошен разказ, с лек реверанс към Киплинг в него, хумор и най-стария номер.

The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn - Kim Antieau - Млада жена отива в пустинята за да се омъжи. Трябва да изкара три денонощия със свекърва си, за да докаже, че може да оцелее в дивото. Накрая едната осъзнава, а другата си припомня, че в пустинята ти трябва малко магия и малко измама.

Black ROck Blues - Will Shetterly - Кой е толкова самоуверен, че да открадне от Смъртта камъка с който изтрива спомените на умрелите и толкова глупав, че да го погледне. Само царят на Крадците и глупците Трикстър. А как се измъкваш от такава ситуация жив? С измама, естествено.

The Constable of Abal - Kelly Link - Тази история беше доста неясна, но пък какъв приказен свят. Из него бродят богове и божества, а духовете на умрелите служат за украса по дрехите на живите. Богинята на смъртта е забравила коя е. Как дъщеря ѝ да и върне знанията?

A Reversal of Fortune - Holly Black - Много добър и забавен разказ. Ако се състезаваш с дявола по надяждане с желирани бонбони, трябва да си сигурен, че ще се пробва да те измами и бъди готов и ти да мамиш.

God Clown - Carol Emshwiller - Богът клоун помага и пречи, не защото е добър или лош, просто защото така трябва, за да има баланс.

The Other Labyrinth - Jedediah Berry - За да си поръчаш лабиринт, трябва да говориш с Инженера, но само ако успееш да минеш през всичките му чудати лабиринти до залез слънце. А изминеш ли пътя, със сигурност си се променил.

The Dreaming Wind - Jeffrey Ford - Сънуващият вятър, който минава през долината веднъж в годината, усуква хора, животни и предмети, променя форми и заминава, е нещо което просто изтърпяваш и продължаваш да живееш нормално. Обаче тази година не дойде и никой в градчето вече не можеше да живее нормално. Много хахава история, за чудесата в живота и как ни се отразява тяхната липса.

Kwaku Anansi Walks the Word's Web - Jane Yolen - Още една визитка, този път на индийският пакостник - Ананси Паяка. Успя да ме заинтригува.

The Evolution of Trickster Stories among the Dogs of North Park after the Change - Kij Johnson - Най-доброто произведение в книгата. Промяната е накарал всички домашни животни да проговорят, това изпълва хората с ужас и вина. 90% от кучетата са изоставени, те се събират на глутници, и помнят, и разказват. Ражда се Едно Куче - кучешкият хитрец, със своите поучителни, смешни и странни истории. Не очаквайте да ги разберете, все пак сте хора, не сте кучета.
Profile Image for Nightshade.
126 reviews26 followers
June 25, 2019
For the most part this book is entertaining, even if I didn't quite like some of the stories in it. Windling's introduction was great. Some of the stories I felt may not have really given the Trickster vibe I was looking for, but were at least entertaining enough, and had some kind of trickery within them.

"The Fiddler of Bayou Teche", "One Odd Shoe", "Crow Roads", "The Fortune Teller", "The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn", "God Clown" were my favourite stories. I did like one poem,"How the Raven made his bride" but the rest were just a bit lackluster for my own tastes. One story that kind of broke my soul was the last one, and it was because of the last one that I decided my overall rating should be 4. "The "Evolution of Trickster stories", made me bawl my eyes out, it made me cry because it was true. It was true in the sense of human cruelty and stupidity that it evoked. Like another reviewer, I was unsure that there was an actual trickster in the story, even while Coyote is invoked in it in some sense. I feel the trickster may have been in the "change", because Tricksters change the status quo, they reverse roles, they make you see from another viewpoint, and this story does that.

In the end, as with all short story collections and anthologies, there will be hits and misses, I am just glad that I got around to reading it after having it on my bookshelf for the last couple of years, it made me think of the Tricksters in my own life.
653 reviews4 followers
April 12, 2021
Short story collections are always a mixed bag. I think that is good, you get introduced to new authors, get reminded why you love some of your favorite writers, see new writing tricks and techniques. You don't have to love them all, you just have to give them a chance.

Give it a go, you'll find something you like in here I hope.
Profile Image for M—.
652 reviews111 followers
May 10, 2012
Fabulous. I've rarely enjoyed anthology this much. I mostly really liked these stars or really didn't, with little in betweeen.

One odd shoe / by Pat Murphy -- shoes by the highway; archiologyical dig; propositioning a coyote woman. Excellent. Five stars.

Coyote Woman / by Carolyn Dunn -- poem

Wagers of Gold Mountain / by Steve Berman -- Chinese-culture enthused. Three stars.

The listeners / by Nina Kiriki Hoffman -- godstruck in Rome, new path to follow. Felt like the first chapter in a novel. Four stars.

Realer than you / by Christopher Barzak -- young expat in Japan meets a kitsune. Or a ghost. Four stars.

The fiddler of Bayou Teche / by Delia Sherman -- Gorgeous. Five stars. Dancing the devil down and down again. Five stars.

A tale for the short days / by Richard Bowes -- energy cycles, or the three times he stole from a family. Four stars.

Friday night at St. Cecilia's / by Ellen Klages -- Egh. Bad-girl cathologic schoolgirl tricked by an evil nun. Readable but fluffy. One star if I'm feeling particularly mean.

The fortune-teller / by Patricia A. McKillip -- I love McKinley but I didn't care for this. She wrote it as 'the trickster getting tricked' and I found it heavyhanded and moralistic. Two stars.

How Raven made his bride / by Theodora Goss -- Poem. So lovely.

Crow roads / by Charles de Lint -- Standard excellent de Lint. Visitor comes to no-end town; lover descids to follow him. Later. Three or four stars.

The chamber music of animals / by Katherine Vaz -- Ech. Kid dying of cancer, something about a musical toy saving him. One star.

Uncle Bob visits / by Caroline Stevermer -- Not a fan of this author. One star.

Uncle Tompa / by Midori Snyder -- poem

Cat of the world / by Michael Cadnum -- Fluffy. Better suited for one of the Catfantastic anthologies. Two stars.

Honored guest / by Ellen Kushner -- World of Swordspoint and massively interesting. Three or four stars.

Always the same story / by Elizabeth E. Wein -- heaps of fun. Son of the circus uses Briar Rabbit trickery and his own skills to escape kidnappers. Three or four stars.

The señorita and the cactus thorn /by Kim Antieau -- Fun fable-like tale of learning to live in the desert. Wtih a Coyote mother-in-law. THree or four stars.

Black rock blues / by Will Shetterly -- Dull. Something about gangsters, maybe. One star.

The Constable of Abal / by Kelly Link -- tethering ghosts and escaping a murder charge. Oh, and your mother is a godess. Three stars.

A reversal of fortune / by Holly Black -- Tricking the devil in a eating contest. I was vaugely unsatisfied by some of the characterizations, but I really enjoyed this. Three or four stars.

God clown / by Carol Emshwiller -- Whoa. I liked this, and I hate Emshwiller's work. Tricky tricky insperations. Four stars. Maybe five.

The other labyrinth / by Jedediah Berry -- A bit conveluted, but fine. Three stars.

The dreaming wind / by Jeffrey Ford -- Not bad but forgetable. Two stars.

Kwaku Anansi walks the world's web / by Jane Yolen -- poem.

The evolution of trickster stories among the dogs of North Park after the change / by Kij Johnson -- heartbreaking and extraordianarly done. Five stars.
2 reviews
July 9, 2015

This review will offer a look into The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales by Ellen Datlow by exploring observations of ecology, theology, social commentary, and science fiction. This story takes place in North Park for the most part. North Park is the area where most of the unwanted dogs have retreated to for shelter and scraps that they have to scrounge for. The dogs have been given the ability to talk and express themselves through voice. Their owners fell very threatened by the dogs ability to communicate their needs and desires so instead of insuring their comfort and needs, the owners discard their dogs to a life on the streets.


The rejected dogs find themselves living in a less than desirable park where they must hide from Animal Control, find food to survive, and use whatever means possible to find and secure shelter. The towns people believe that they pose a health risk to humans and their community so their answer is to dispose of all the dogs.


Linna is the main human figure in this short story. She befriends many of the dogs and tries to save them from an inevitable demise. She is compassionate but can be cunning and resourceful when she needs to be. She will use any means possible to save as many dogs as she can. Linna tries to understand why the humans could be so uncaring of their dogs.

Social Commentary

The dogs of North Park experience social injustice on a daily basis. Despite being kicked out of their homes, they still remembered and longed for their masters who used to love them and take care of them. The dogs were now the undesirables because they were different. They no longer fit the norm of society. The park was the only place that they could go that offered some form of shelter. How sad it was that the humans passing by walked by with their heads held low because they know their pets were left to fend for themselves. In the end, the dogs were just disposable.

Concluding Thoughts

This short story exhibited many tropes but the one that stuck out to me was social injustice. The dogs didn't pose a threat until they were able to talk and express their feelings to their owners. Some dogs were content with the bare affection and nibbles from their owners. Others were lucky enough to have owners that loved them, showed them affection and tried to make them as comfortable as they could. For those dogs that were abused and neglected, they didn't really care either way if their owners loved them or not. Just having a safe haven was enough for them.
I really enjoyed this short story. I have always had an affinity for dogs. I couldn't imagine not treating my dog any other way than with love, affection and great care. She is part of the family despite the fact that she has 4 feet, no tail, and barks instead of talks. I'm sure if she could talk she would only have good things to say about me and her Daddy.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,576 reviews90 followers
Shelved as 'currently-reading-anthcoll'
July 31, 2022
One Odd Shoe • (2007) • shortstory by Pat Murphy
♦ Coyote Woman poem by Carolyn Dunn RE-read 6/11/2015
Wagers of Gold Mountain • (2007) • shortstory by Steve Berman
♥ The Listeners • (2007) • shortstory by Nina Kiriki Hoffman - included in e-book Antiquities — RE-read 8/9/2015
Realer Than You • (2007) • shortstory by Christopher Barzak
The Fiddler of Bayou Teche • (2007) • shortstory by Delia Sherman
A Tale for the Short Days • (2007) • shortstory by Richard Bowes
Friday Night at St. Cecilia's • (2007) • shortstory by Ellen Klages
♦The Fortune-Teller by Patricia A. McKillip RE-read 6/11/2015
How Raven Made His Bride • (2007) • poem by Theodora Goss
♥ "Crow Roads" by Charles de Lint - released as e-book in 2014 re-read 5/7/2015
The Chamber Music of Animals • (2007) • shortstory by Katherine Vaz
Uncle Bob Visits • (2007) • shortstory by Caroline Stevermer
♦ Uncle Tompa poem by Midori Snyder RE-read 6/11/2015
Cat of the World • (2007) • shortstory by Michael Cadnum
Honored Guest by Ellen Kushner
Always the Same Story • (2007) • shortstory by Elizabeth E. Wein
The Señorita and the Cactus Thorn • (2007) • shortstory by Kim Antieau
Black Rock Blues • (2007) • shortstory by Will Shetterly
The Constable of Abal • (2007) • shortstory by Kelly Link
A Reversal of Fortune • (2007) • shortstory by Holly Black
God Clown • (2007) • shortstory by Carol Emshwiller
The Other Labyrinth • (2007) • shortstory by Jedediah Berry
The Dreaming Wind • (2007) • shortstory by Jeffrey Ford
♦ Kawaku Anansi Walks the World's Web • (2007) • poem by Jane Yolen RE-read 6/11/2015
The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change by Kij Johnson
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,230 reviews1,003 followers
November 9, 2015
I had very high expectations of this anthology, both because of the excellent editors, who are two of my personal favorites, and because of the high number of really good authors featured in the contents list.

Unfortunately, I felt a little disappointed in it. Most of the the stories were, I felt, good but not great. Many of the authors mention in their notes that the stories were written on request, specifically for this anthology, and I think that sometimes it shows, both in a commissioned-not-inspired feel to some of the works, or a sense of "maybe I can work a trickster into this work-in-progress."

One notable exception was Kelly Link's "The Constable of Abal," which I loved. I really need to get my hands on more of her stuff!
Profile Image for karenbee.
717 reviews10 followers
August 10, 2016
The Coyote Road came verrrry close to being added to the "did not finish" shelf. In the end, I kept reading, even when I didn't want to, because I knew there were a couple of stories by authors I really liked that I hadn't hit yet.

I'm glad I did, because honestly, I think most of the good stuff was in the last half of the book.

Won't be reading it again, but it was worth slogging through the meh bits to get to the good stories.
Profile Image for Melanti.
1,256 reviews116 followers
January 4, 2011
Not quite what I expected.
While all the tales had a trickster of one sort or another, very few had much of a lesson or a moral to impart. And isn't that the value of most trickster tales, and Coyote tales especially?

While there were several I liked, I was most impressed with the final one - "The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change."
Profile Image for Ralph McEwen.
879 reviews22 followers
June 26, 2011
A very nice collection of well written tales and poems. Short stories and poems are not my usual choice of reading, even so I really enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Robert Sheppard.
Author 2 books83 followers
September 4, 2013

Folk tales, folk song, folk legend and and folk lore have been with us since time immemorial and incorporate the primal archetypes of the collective unconscious and the folk wisdom of the human race. Very often these were passed down for millennia in oral form around primal campfires or tribal conclaves as "orature" before the invention of writing and the consequent evolution of "literature," later to be recorded or reworked in such immortal collections as "Aesop's Fables" of the 6th Century BC. In the 1700-1800's a new interest in folk tales arose in the wake of the Romantic Movement which idealized the natural wisdom of the common people, inducing the systematic efforts of scholars and writers to collect and preserve this heritage, as exemplified in such works as Sir Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," (1802) Goethe's friend Johann Gottfried Herder's "Folksongs," (1779) and the "German Folktales" (1815) of "The Brothers Grimm"---Jacob and Wilhelm.

With the evolution of World Literature in our globalized modern world these enduring folk tales remain a continuing source of wisdom and delight. We encounter them as children in our storybooks and we gain the enhanced perspectives of maturity on them as we introduce them to our own children and grandchildren. Additionally, we have the opportunity to learn of the folk wisdom and genius of other peoples and civilizations which add to our own heritage as the common inheritance of mankind.

Thus World Literature Forum is happy to introduce such masterpieces of the genre as the "Panchatantra" of ancient India, similar to the animal fables of our own Western Aesop, the "Pali Jatakas," or fabled-accounts of the incarnations of Buddha on the path of Enlightenment, folk-tales of the Chinese Monkey-King Sun Wu Kong and his Indian prototype Hanuman from the Ramayana, and the Amerincian Coyote and Trickster Tales. Also presented is some of the history and evolution of the classics of our own Western heritage, whose origins may have slipped from memory, such as Charles Perrault's "Mother Goose" tales, La Fontaine's "Fables," and American Southern raconteur Joel Chandler Harris's "Tar Baby," derived from the African tales of the black slaves,and perhaps of earlier Indian origin.


Aesop's "Fables" (500 BC) were very popular in ancient Athens. Little is known of Aesop himself, though legends have it that he was very ugly and that the citizens of Athens purportedly threw him off a cliff for non-payment of a charity, after which they were punished by a plague. Most Europeans came to know the Fables through a translation into Latin by a Greek slave Phaedrus in Rome, which collected ninety-seven short fables became a children's primer as well as a model text for learning Latin for the next two millennia throughout Europe. An example is:

The Fox and the Crow

A Fox once saw a crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. "That's for me, as I am a Fox," said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree. "Good-day, Mistress Crow," he cried. "How well you are looking today: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of all other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds." The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox. "That will do," said he. "That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I'll give you a piece of advice for the future: 'Do not trust flatterers.'"


Sometime around 600 AD the enlightened King of Persia Nushirvan sent a delegation to India headed by the renown scholar Barzoye to obtain a copy of a book reputed to be replete with political wisdom. Barzoye visited the court of the most powerful king in India and at last obtained copies of not only that book but of many others. Fearful that the Indian king would take back the books, he quickly made copies and translated the works into Persian, or Pahlavi. On returning to the royal court in Persia Barzoya recited the works aloud to the King and court, who were so delighted they became Persian classics. Thus began the travels of the Panchatantra, which would be brought to Paris in the 1600's translated from the Persian into French, and from thence into all the modern European languages.

The Panchatantra, or "The Five Principles," is ascribed in India to a legendary figure, Vishnusharma, and is the most celebrated book of social wisdom in South Asian history. It is framed as a series of discourses for the education of royal princes, though like the Fables of the Greek Aesop, it utilizes the odd motif of talking animals--animal fables. Thus the core ethical problems of human existence such as the nature of trust and the limits of risk are entrusted to the wisdom of the beasts.

One of the most famous of the Aesopian animal fables of the Panchatantra is that of "The Turtle and the Geese." In the story two geese are close friends with a turtle in a pond named Kambugriva, but the pond is quickly drying up threatening all three with death. The geese resolve to fly away to a large lake and come to say good-bye to Kambugriva. He replies:

“Why are you saying good-bye to me? If you love me, you should rescue me from the jaws of death. For you when the lake dries up you will only suffer some loss of food, but for me it means death. What is worse, loss of food or loss of life?”

“What you say is true, good friend. We will take you with us: but don’t be stupid enough to say anything on the way.” The geese said.
“I won’t” Kambugriva promised.

So the geese brought a long stick and said to the turtle: “Now, hold onto the middle of this stick firmly with your teeth. We will then hold the two ends in our beaks and fly you through the air to a large beautiful lake far away.”

So the two geese stretched out their wings and flew with the stick in their mouths, the turtle hanging on by his teeth over the hills and forests until they flew over a town just near the lake. Looking up the townspeople saw the two birds flying, carrying the hanging turtle and exclaimed: “What is that pair of birds carrying through the air? It looks ridiculous, like a large cartwheel!”

“Who are you laughing at?” shouted the turtle with indignation, but as soon as he had opened his mouth to chastise them he fell from the stick and landed amoungst the townfolk, who proceeded to shell and cut him up for meat in their soup.


“When a man does not heed the words of friends
Who only wish him well,
He will perish like the foolish turtle
Who fell down from the stick.”


One way in which folk tales travel about the world is through the process of conscious adoption and adaptation by authors in other nations. La Fontaine (1621-1695) was a literary courtier in the court of Louis XIV of France. The raciness, dangerous ambiguity and rampant wit of some of his tales led sometimes to the disfavour of Louis, but the purity and grace of his style led to his election to the Academie Francaise. His first edition of verse "Fables" was modeled on Aesop, but in later editions he turned to oriental sources, of which a French translation by Pilpay of the Indian "Panchatantra" from the Persian and Arabic was one. Its moral had survival value in the treacherous world of the French court at Versailles, particularly in its invocation to keep one's wits about you in a crowd and learn how to hold one's tongue:

The Tortoise and the Two Ducks

A light-brain’d tortoise, anciently,

Tired of her hole, the world would see.

Prone are all such, self-banish’d, to roam —

Prone are all cripples to abhor their home.

Two ducks, to whom the gossip told

The secret of her purpose bold,

Profess’d to have the means whereby

They could her wishes gratify.

‘Our boundless road,’ said they, ‘behold!

It is the open air;

And through it we will bear

You safe o’er land and ocean.

Republics, kingdoms, you will view,

And famous cities, old and new;

And get of customs, laws, a notion, —

Of various wisdom various pieces,

As did, indeed, the sage Ulysses.’

The eager tortoise waited not

To question what Ulysses got,

But closed the bargain on the spot.

A nice machine the birds devise

To bear their pilgrim through the skies. —

Athwart her mouth a stick they throw:

‘Now bite it hard, and don’t let go,’

They say, and seize each duck an end,

And, swiftly flying, upward tend.

It made the people gape and stare

Beyond the expressive power of words,

To see a tortoise cut the air,

Exactly poised between two birds.

‘A miracle,’ they cried, ‘is seen!

There goes the flying tortoise queen!’

‘The queen!’ (’twas thus the tortoise spoke;)

‘I’m truly that, without a joke.’

Much better had she held her tongue

For, opening that whereby she clung,

Before the gazing crowd she fell,

And dash’d to bits her brittle shell.

Imprudence, vanity, and babble,

And idle curiosity,

An ever-undivided rabble,

Have all the same paternity.


The Pali Jatakas are preserved in the "Pali Canon of Buddhist Scripture" which was compiled about the same time as the Christian Bible, in the first centuries AD. Each story purports to tell of a previous life of the Buddha in which he learned some critical lesson or acheived some moral attainment of the "Middle Path" in the course of the vast cycle of transmigration and reincarnation that led to his Buddhahood. The story of "Prince Five Weapons" represents one such prior life of the Buddha. The core of the story is the account of a battle against an adversary upon whose tacky and sticky body all weapons stick, a symbolical case study of a nemesis of the Buddhist virtue of "detachment."

In the opening frame tale of "Prince Five Weapons" the Buddha counsels an errant monk: "Are you a backslider?" he questioned. "Yes, Blessed One." confesses the monk, who had given up discipline. Then Buddha tells the story of his past life: A Prince was born to a great king. The Queen, seeking a name for him asked of 800 Brahmins for a name. Then she learned that the King would soon die and the baby Prince would become a great king, conquering with the aid of the Five Weapons. Sent to Afghanistan for martial arts training in the Five Weapons, on his return he encounters a great demon named "Hairy Grip" with an adhesive hide to which all weapons stick fast. the Prince uses his poison arrows, but they only stick to his hairy-sticky hide. He uses his sword, spear, and club but all stick uselessly. Then he uses his two fists, his two feet and finally butts him with his head, all of which stick uselessly to the hide. Finally, hopelessly stuck to the the monster, the demon asks if he is afraid to die. The Prince answers that he has a fifth weapon, that of Knowledge which he bears within him, and that if the monster devours him the monster will be punished in future lives and the Prince himself will attain future glories. The monster is taken aback by the spirit of the Prince and, becoming a convert to Buddhism releases him, after which the Prince fulfills his destiny of becoming a great King, and in a later life, the Buddha. Thereby, the backslider is counseled to persevere and end his backsliding, with the moral: "With no attachment, all things are possible."


Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) was born in Ante-Bellum Georgia, worked as a reporter and writer and like the Brothers Grimm and Scott collected folk tales by talking with the African slaves working on the Southern plantations, publishing them most famously as the "Uncle Remus" tales of Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit, told by an old and wise slave to the young son of the master of the plantation. Like the Amerindian "Trickster" tales or the cartoon series the "Roadrunner and the Coyote," or "Bugs Bunny" they often focus on how the smart and wily Brer Rabbit outthinks and tricks Brer Fox who constantly seeks to catch and eat him. The most famous of these stories is that of "The Tar Baby" in which Brer Fox covers a life-like manniquin in sticky tar and puts it in Brer Rabbit's path. The rabbit becomes angry that the Tar Baby will not answer his questions and losing his temper strikes him, causing his hand to stick fast. Then in turn he hits, kicks and head butts him until his whole body is stuck fast to the "Tar Baby." The secret of how Brer Rabbit escapes is deferred by the sagacious storyteller Uncle Remus "until the next episode."

Scholars, discovering the similarity of the "Tar Baby" story with the Pali Jataka story of "Prince Five Weapons" debated whether the story had travelled across the world and centuries in the most astonishing way or was simply independently invented in two places. These two competing theories, "Monogenesis and Diffusion" vs "Polygenesis" remain competing explanations. Further research documented how the Pali Jataka had, like the "Panchatantra" been translated into Persian, then Arabic, then into African dialects in Muslim-influenced West Africa, where many American slaves hailed from. Polygenesis Theory also gained some competing support from C.G. Jung's theory of "Archetypes" and the "Universal Collective Unconscious" which would provide a psychological force and source for the continuous regeneration of similar stories and dreams throughout the world. The two theories continue to compete and complement each other as explanations of cultural diffusion and similiarity.


Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a contemporary of La Fontaine at the court of France's Louis XIV, with whom he was elected to the Academie Francaise. He won the King's favor and retired on a generous pension from the finance minister Colbert. He was associated with the argument between two literary factions which became known in England as "The Battle of the Books" after Swift, and which focused on the question of whether the modern writers or the ancients were the greater. Perrault argued in favor of the moderns, but Louis XIV intervened in the proceedings of the Academie and found in favor of the ancients. Perrault persisted,however, in trying to outdo Aesop in his "Mother Goose" collection of folk and children's tales. One of the most famous was that of "Donkey Skin," a kind of variation on the better-known Cinderella theme, in which a Princess, fearful of the attempt of her own father to an incestuous marriage, flees, disguising herself as a crude peasant-girl clothed in a donkey-skin. Arriving at the neighboring kingdom she works as a scullery maid until the Prince observes her in secret dressed in her most beautiful royal gown. Falling in love with her the Prince is unable to establish her true identity but finds a ring from her finger and declares he will marry the girl whose finger fits the ring. As in the case of Cinderella's glass slipper, all the girls of the kingdom attempt but fail to put on the ring, until the very last, Donkey-Skin succeeds. At the marriage it is discovered that she is really a Princess and she is reconciled with her father, who has abandoned his incestuous inclinations. The story is partially a satire on Louis XIV, who himself took as a mistress Louise de la Valliere, a simple girl with a lame foot while surrounded by the most elegant beauties of Paris.


Another remarkable instance of the diffusion of a story or character is that of the character of the Monkey King Sun Wu Kong in the immortal Chinese classic "Journey to the West" or "Xi You Ji." In this instance the character of the Monkey King originated in India as the Hanuman of the Ramayana, a half-man, half-monkey with magical superpowers who aids Rama in recovering his wife Sita from the evil sorcerer Ravanna. This tale was embodied in Indian lore which passed into China with the coming of Buddhism and was later incorporated into the classic novel by Wu ChengEn. Other Indian tales travelled through Persia into the Abbasid Caliphate to become part of the "One Thousand and One Nights."


The indiginous peoples of the Americas had rich narrative oral traditions ranging from tales of hunting and adventure to the creation myth of the Navajo "Story of the Emergence" and the Mayan "Popul Vuh." These tales circulated around the two continents and were most commonly associated with the "Trickster" tales---a devious, self-seeking, yet powerful and even sacred character, often embodied, like the Aesopian tradition, in animal form. In Southwest North America this often took the form of the Coyote. who constantly seeks to get his way by trickery, amorality and double-dealing, and who sometimes is successful but sometimes brings about his own ruin through his own deceit,insatiable appetites or curiosity. In the lustful tale "The Coyote as Medicine Man" the trickster gets all he desires. The Coyote walking along a lake sees an old man with a penis so long he must coil it around his body many times like a rope. Then he sees a group of naked girls jumping and playing in the water. He asks the old man if he can borrow his penis, which the old man lends him. Then the Coyote sticks the enormous penis onto his own and enters the water, at which the enormous penis slithers like an eel into the vagina of one of the girls, who cut it off with a knife, but with one part remaining inside, making her sick. Later the Coyote transforms himself into a Medicine Man shaman to whom the girls go to cure their sick friend. He uses this opportunity and trickery to sexually fondle all the girls as well as curing the sick one by an additional act of copulation, which fuses the two segments of the severed penis again into one, allowing him to extract the whole from her.

World Literature Forum invites you to check out the great Folk Tales and Fables of World Literature, and also the contemporary epic novel Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard. For a fuller discussion of the concept of World Literature you are invited to look into the extended discussion in the new book Spiritus Mundi, by Robert Sheppard, one of the principal themes of which is the emergence and evolution of World Literature:

For Discussions on World Literature and n Literary Criticism in Spiritus Mundi: http://worldliteratureandliterarycrit...

Robert Sheppard

World Literature Forum
Author, Spiritus Mundi Novel
Author’s Blog: http://robertalexandersheppard.wordpr...
Spiritus Mundi on Goodreads:
Spiritus Mundi on Amazon, Book I: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CIGJFGO
Spiritus Mundi, Book II: The Romance http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CGM8BZG

Copyright Robert Sheppard 2013 All Rights Reserved

Profile Image for Adam.
996 reviews196 followers
July 11, 2017
I really enjoyed Kij Johnson's Evolution of Tricker Stories Among the Dogs of North Park and was hoping to find more in a similar vein. At least some good takes on Coyote and kitsune stories to see what's been done with those tropes before I start brainstorming one of my own. Unfortunately this collection is just. . . bad. The stories range from bland and barely on-topic but competent to mediocre and uninspired to a range of rote amateur trash I never expected to see in a published anthology from a well-regarded editor. There are stories in here with prose so bad I couldn't be bothered to read them. And none of them really deliver on the premise of trickster stories at all? They follow a loose aesthetic concern with bets and stakes and hidden information, and trickster deities appear in many of them. But the tricksters are repeatedly cast as potent beings with the power to coerce people into doing their bidding, which sort of removes the whole premise of the trickster story. Others are unfathomably plain takes on old stories (the kitsune entry manages to subtract everything interesting about its source material and add nothing new) or just bafflingly dumb (that games story. . . is this for babies?). The best stories (besides Johnson's) are Kelly Link and Jeffrey Ford's, but they are also the furthest from the premise and still a bit non-plussing.

I'm not sure what conclusions to draw from the contrast between this book and what was going on in this field otherwise in the 2000s. A bunch of cues--the soft feminist slant, the casual cultural appropriation, the poems, the sleepy gentleness of all of these stories--makes it feel like the collaborative product of the book club at a New Age bookstore. It's hard to swallow after reading so many proper weird horror stories from the same period, so many stories that have edge and wonder and mystery. Knowing that many of these authors, and others who could have been asked, could easily have brought the dark flavor trickster stories need, is a bit frustrating. Oh well.
Profile Image for Scout Langley.
231 reviews
December 9, 2021
"He has called her/one last time/and it is in her blood/to answer./ Woman,/he calls/will you ever/heed me?"

Who is the coolest person in any story? The bad guy. The Coyote Road is a compilation of works from different authors all telling their version of the trickster character from their culture. Sold? So was I. However, when I started reading this book I was quickly disappointed. The quality of writing has some high highs and some low lows. For example, the first work was more about the author than about the trickster. Additionally, I found great inconsistencies between the quality of writing between the authors.

"And my voice/ will never leave/ this land/ lighting fires/ and fountains,/ from here/ to your/ soul."

Overall, I think that if the editors were more picky about whose works were included this book would have been alot been. Both of the quotes were from my favorite work "Coyote Woman" by Carolyn Dunn who wrote so beautifully I immediately went to look for more of her works. Just so lyrically beautiful
Profile Image for Dominique.
26 reviews24 followers
July 16, 2018
As an anthology, it was quite difficult to rate the book as a whole, because I felt the different entries were of differing quality. Then again, that inconsistency of quality probably led me to give the rating that I did.

I enjoyed some stories and they were well-written, with interesting takes on the trickster character in different settings. On the other hand, there were others that were... subpar: the story was confusing, the plot and characters could have been better fleshed out despite the limits of space, and I felt there were some that were sort of "throwaway" stories by authors that wouldn't make it elsewhere and that they just rummaged in their old things and found.

That being said, the editors could probably have done a better job of curating the stories, as even though this is a children's book, I believe it should still uphold a standard of quality. This one was very much lacking.
Profile Image for Andie.
90 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2020
I bought this for Theodora Goss' poem "How Raven Made His Bride", which was excellent. Otherwise it's a mixed bag. I enjoyed the stories from the always excellent Patricia McKillip, Charles de Lint and Ellen Kushner, and the new to me authors Caroline Stevermer and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. But the rest I really struggled with. Most of these stories have ironic plot twists, or plucky underdog heroes solving a riddle-type challenge, but they don't really have the anarchic feeling of a true Trickster tale, that unpredictable combination of slapstick humor, pathos, and cheeky villany that you get in actual folklore. Like how Loki creates problems by being a bastard for no particular reason, then uses slapstick humor and dirty jokes to solve it. Or how you find yourself rooting for Coyote and also enjoying his comeuppance at the same time. Luckily this collection includes a recommended bibliography so I can go read the real thing.
38 reviews
May 25, 2020
This book is not quite what I thought it was going to be. I thought it would be new stories about Coyote, Anasi, Hermes, Loki, etc. There are a few about Coyotoe, one about Hermes, a poem about Anasi, and possibly one about Loki.
But, actually, it's more that the editors asked the writers to create a story around the theme of Trickster, so you get a wide range of interpretations.
I found it to be a very mixed bag. Some were enjoyable, some had really interesting ideas, others were romantic and sweet, and a few did not make much sense to me at all.
However, overall I enjoyed working my way through the book. It really did feel like a journey, dipping into the imagination of a wide range of writers, a bit like meandering through a wing of an art gallery.
Profile Image for Kristen (belles_bookshelves).
1,943 reviews9 followers
August 10, 2017
"The stories will continue: stories do not easily die."

Awesome and interesting collection of tales of tricksters: Coyote, Loki, even the Devil makes an appearance.

My favorites:
"The Chamber Music of Animals" by Katherine Vaz: an crazy original tale of a monkey spirit stuffed animal helping the boy he loves. (Coming off The Velveteen Rabbit, I love this tale).

"The Evolution of Trickster Stories among the Dogs of North Park after the Change" by Kij Johnson: Sad and original and moving and definitely made me hug my dog's extra tight.
87 reviews
September 10, 2018
This traditional literature book encompasses "trickster" stories from cultures across the world, from First Nations to China and everywhere in between. "Tricksters" are characters that embody foolishness and cunning, good and evil, and holiness and profanity, all in one. They can help or harm people and animals, but are usually seeking their own interests at all times. I found it quite intriguing how these stories serve as a common thread between cultures. A truly excellent read.
Profile Image for Alan.
441 reviews3 followers
December 28, 2022
I’ve never been too fond of short stories or novelettes, but this selection was juried - taken from the works of some of the greats - and was, therefore, a cut above most collections and quite enjoyable. I loved the few novels I read by Terri Windling. I believe she and Emma Bull had a lot to do with the invention of the sub-genre, Urban Fantasy (although one mustn’t discount the influence of Charles DeLint).
Profile Image for Nu Nightingale.
40 reviews55 followers
January 10, 2019
This is an anthology of short stories focused on the trickster archetype character. I enjoyed most of it (yet skipped some); I think my favorite story was one by Nina Kiriki Hoffman about a slave girl saved from her fate by Hermes.
Profile Image for Gemma.
65 reviews1 follower
October 25, 2020
I found this a very mixed bag and initially struggled to get into it. There were a few I found to be not very interesting to me personally. The stories I enjoyed most were A Tale for the Short Days, Friday Night at St Cecila’s, Crow Roads, Uncle Bob Visits, Honoured Guest and The Senorita and the Cactus Thorn. The stories are nicely varied through different cultures and trickster traditions.
February 15, 2021
Хороший сборник разноплановых историй посвященных всевозможным трикстерам божественным и не очень. Особенно стоит отметить предисловие, написанное с тщательностью характерной для данной антологии, раскрывающее архетип трикстера и его место в человеческой истории и культуре. Что в итоге позволяет более глубоко взглянуть на истории представленные в книге, да и другие давно знакомые сюжеты
Author 1 book27 followers
November 13, 2018
Some great writers in this volume, but very few stories that I connected with. For me, the highlight of the anthology was Jeffrey Ford's "The Dreaming Wind." I guess I'm just not that into trickster stories.
Profile Image for Shelby A.
101 reviews3 followers
August 11, 2017
I read the other two anthologies from this same line, and it did not disappoint.
Profile Image for Pat.
Author 19 books5 followers
April 11, 2018
A nice mix of stories I liked a lot and stories I ... didn't. (The Kij Johnson is kind of brutal.) I does love me some tricksters, so that aspect was fun.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 124 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.