Tale – Native American

One day, all the Indians in tribe decided to go hunting.  Little Yoni was excited to go on the hunt, but his mother told him that he was too young.  Little Yoni got upset.  He thought no one appreciated him, so he decided to run away from his teepee and live by himself in the woods for a while.  It started out fun.  Little Yoni got to go swimming and do whatever he wanted without anyone older to boss him around.  But then night came, and Little Yoni got scared.  He was lost in the woods alone, and it was scary.  While Little Yoni was crying by himself in the dark, all of a sudden he saw a light!  It was his tribe, coming to find him.  Once he hugged his mother and got home to his teepee, Little Yoni realized that his family did appreciate him, and he learned to deal with his problems instead of running away.

This is just one example of the Little Yoni stories that my Grandpa used to tell.  With 37 grandkids, he had a lot of kids to tell stories to, and Little Yoni was a usual character.  Little Yoni was a young boy in an Indian tribe and often got himself into trouble.  My grandpa would tell these stories often to all the kids in order to teach important lessons, though the stories were usually pretty simple because they were geared toward the younger ones.

Stephanie did not know where the character of Yoni came from; she thought that her grandfather just made it up.  I found it interesting that the character was an Indian.

When I asked Stephanie to self identify her ethnicity or nationality she said Caucasian American.  When she told me this story I asked her more about her family history and she told me that she did believe that she had some Native American decent.  Even though her family only had a small connection to Native American blood line, I find it interesting that her grandfather still chose an Indian as the main character he would use.

In this particular story that she recalled, it is a good example of the purpose of her grandfather’s stories.  Many kids often feel unappreciated and want to just run away.  But, they usually realize that they do need their parents, and their parents do love them.  By telling this story in a very simple manor it enables the kids to learn the lesson.  This reflects the universal hope of parents and grandparents to help children avoid certain hardships by teaching these lessons early on in life.

The format her grandfather used is a very common one for folk fairy tales.  I’ve heard of many cases where parents will stick with one character and manipulate the story around that character to teach a specific lesson.  When I was young, my dad would tell me bed time stories that always started with “Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess…” He would make them up as he went and they usually involved some sort of lesson.  Stephanie and I probably heard many of the same general stories growing up even though we lived on different sides of the country.

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