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Iktomi and the Dancing Ducks

            "In what ways does the story "Iktomi and the Dancing Ducks" (60) exemplify this definition of a trickster tale? How is Iktomi a trickster? What established customs or values are being tested by his behavior? What do the ducks represent? What do the episodes of the trees and the coyote represent?" In the tale of "Iktomi and the Dancing Ducks", Iktomi plays the ever cunning and deceptive trickster role. Through this tale, Iktomi's plan to deceive and kill the ducks succeeds, but another trickster thwarts his overall plan. According to Andrew Widget, trickster tales test "the limits of cultural formation and practice" (23). Iktomi pushes against societal norms by using his intelligence to manipulate others and benefit himself. Iktomi personifies these negative characteristics of societal behavior and uses them to satisfy his desires. While Iktomi uses negative behaviors to achieve his overall goal, throughout the tale he shows great cunning and intelligence to do so. While the trickster's role may be to push the threshold of societally acceptable practices and norms, the trickster does so in ways that demonstrate great potential for acceptable behavior and societally beneficial attributes had the tricksters efforts been put to wholesome endeavors. .
             The established customs and norms that Iktomi violates personify the trickster role. He manipulates, deceives, and kills for his own selfish desires. Obviously these are customs and norms that degrade a society. A society of individuals looking to deceive and manipulate one another would fall to ruin. While tricksters are customarily loners and lie on the fringe of society, tricksters play an important role in society. The trickster's role is to portray this behavior and show the inevitable consequences. The telling of tales that show a trickster using their intelligence and deceptiveness for personal gain also show the consequences for these actions.

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