Review by Ariadna Sánchez
Juchitán de Zaragoza, Oaxaca is the home of poet Natalia Toledo and painter Francisco Toledo. Daughter and father bring the beauty of ancient oral Zapotec tales alive. Cuento del conejo y el Coyote/Didxaguc’ sti’ Lexu ne Gueu’ is written in Spanish and Didxazá, the language of the Zapotec people. Zapotecs located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec pass to the young generations many traditions orally. Natalia Toledo grew up listening extraordinary stories from her relatives. Natalia Toledo’s poetic words portray the beauty of a community that fights to preserve its dynamic and colorful heritage. Francisco Toledo’s sublime artwork complements the tale of Rabbit and Coyote. Each page is an open invitation to discover the region of Tehuantepec.
The tale of Rabbit and Coyote shows that “brains over brawn” is the key to remain safe when danger knocks on the door. Conejo steals chiles from the farmer’s orchard. The farmer decides to place a trap to catch Conejo for a succulent meal. The farmer’s plan succeeds! Rabbit is inside the cage ready to be cooked. Meanwhile, the farmer is preparing the ingredients for a delicious dish; Coyote passes by the helpless Conejo. At that moment, Conejo convinces Coyote to take his place arguing his immaturity to marry the farmer’s daughter. Conejo fools Coyote for the first time. As the tale continues, Conejo tricks Coyote for several occasions until Conejo finds a safe place in the moon. This explains why coyotes howl at the moon at night. Natalia and his father Francisco are fervent promoters of the Zapotec culture around the world. For more information about their work visit the following links: