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In the study of mythology and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit or human who breaks the rules of the gods or nature, sometimes maliciously (Loki) but usually with ultimately positive effects. Often, the rule-breaking takes the form of tricks (Eris) or thievery. Animals associated with tricksters include coyotes and ravens.

In many cultures, particularly Native American, the trickster and the culture hero are combined. To illustrate, Prometheus, in Greek mythology, stole fire from the gods to give it to humans. He is more of a culture hero than a trickster. In many North American Indian mythologies, the coyote spirit stole fire from the gods (or stars or sun) and is more of a trickster than a culture hero. This is primarily because of other stories involving the coyote spirit; Prometheus was an intellectual Titan, whereas coyote is usually seen as a jokester and prankster.


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