“Noah Body” (Tale)

“My dad would tell me [ever since I was young] about this guy who was kidnapped by a huge cyclops. – He’s super scared and wants to make his escape but the cyclopes won’t let him go, so what happens is that he begins to befriend the cyclops, until the cyclops asks him for his name, and he answers “Noah Body”. He then goes and attacks [the cyclops] by stabbing him in the eye- but when the cyclops in in pain and runs to tell another cyclops what the man did and says ‘Noah Body hit me! Noah Body hit me!’ the other cyclops is slow to react asking ‘What do you mean nobody hit you? What’re you talking about?’ and the man was able to make his escape.”

This story was told to my informant by her father repeatedly in her youth. At the time, she considered it as something that entertained her, but as she grew into the story she realized, “It was about cunning and wit – my dad tried to use it as a lesson on being smart and how to cleverly get yourself out of situations.”

Her father would recite this colorful story to encourage her and her siblings to be consistently clever, so they may more easily navigate their way out of issues that arise.

What interests me as well is the sheer absurdity and nodes of violence in the story, especially as a mode to inform children of life lessons. Many children’s tales are outlandish or horrific in nature in order to be more captivating for their audience, like many iterations of Snow White, or Little Red Riding Hood. If children are more entertained or frightened by a story, the more likely the intention will stick with them.