Mule Ears

It was said one time that mule was a very friendly animal. He liked to visit, and just talk and talk and talk to all the other animals in the forest.

But one day, mule noticed that he was starting to have trouble hearing the other animals talk. He couldn’t hear the Nitas (that’s what bears are called in the Alabama-Coushatta language) tell the story about losing fire (a traditional Alabama-Coushatta story). Mule couldn’t hear the big stories (usually big lies) that rabbit would sometimes tell – and he could tell some big ones, so you don’t believe him. And mule started to feel scared and left out.

As the day’s went on, mule’s hearing got worse and worse, until one day mule couldn’t hear anything at all. Well, mule was very upset because now he couldn’t hear when the other animals would talk to him or when they would tell stories or call him to eat (which was very important to him). He was very upset.

But, he stopped and thought to himself, “Aba” mikko (the Creator) created me, so if I can find him, he would be able to fix my ears and I would be able to hear again.

So, mule came up with an idea on how to find Aba”mikko, the Creator.

Early the next morning, mule got up and headed out to find Aba”mikko. First, he headed up into the Northland, but it was too cold and snowy (and he didn’t know how to play hockey or speak French) and Aba”mikko wasn’t there.

Then, mule thought maybe Aba”mikko would be, and maybe could be, around Florida. But there were too many alligators, snakes, and tribal casinos . . .oh my. . . and Aba”mikko wasn’t there either.

Now mule was starting to get discouraged, but he headed out to East Texas.

And not too far from where we are sitting right now, mule found Aba”mikko.

Aba”mikko was here in East Texas working on his trees, Abo”miko loves his trees, and he was trimming them and taking care of them.

Mule ran up to him and cried, “Aba”miko, Aba”mikko, I can’t hear, I can’t hear!!

Aba”miko looked at mule and said “Okay mule. Just sit there and wait a little bit, be patient, and when I finish here, I’ll help you.”

So mule sat down and waited again, but he was very impatient (as always) and after a few minutes, mule jumped up and cried “Aba”mikko, Aba”mikko, I can’t hear, I can’t hear!!

Aba”mikko looked at him and said, “Mule, I told you to wait until I finish here and I would help you!”

So mule sat down, again, and waited. After a few minutes, mule being so impatient, stoop up and cried “Aba”mikko, Aba”mikko, I can’t hear, I can’t hear

Aba”mikko looked at mule and said “Eeeeyy Haa” and Aba”mikko grabbed both his ears and pulled and pulled, until they were very long. And then he asked mule “Can you hear now?”

The moral of my story is simple.

When Abol”mikko, the Creator, tells you to do something, you better listen.

Or you might end up getting your ears pulled until you look like a mule. BUT, for some of you reading this, I can tell it’s too late.


 – Armando, the storyteller

Storyteller Bio

My name is Armando Rodriguez.

I am in my 60s and a member of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. Our Reservation is located about 90 miles north of Houston.

We have been in Texas since about the late 1700s, before Texas was a state. The stories that you will read are an important part of our tribal culture. These stories were used to explain what we saw or tried to explain why things were the way they were. These stories were also used to convey attitudes and behaviors that we thought our people should model or live by.

I am also a grandfather and feel that we must pass as much of this part of our culture on to our children and grandchildren. With that in mind, all of my grandchildren have, at different times, sat beside me and listened to these stories and many other that you will not read. Several of them over the years have also told them.

Finally, every culture has its stories. I encourage you to sit with your elders, listen and start telling your stories.