HIGH EAGLE'S NEST
MORE . . . CAMPFIRE STORIES & LEGENDS
"Dedicated to all children, young and old,
who love and keep these stories & legends alive . . . "
Long ago, when people were strong in their traditions, family meant something beyond immediate family. It included uncles,
aunts, cousins and grandparents.
The grandparents, especially, held a unique place of honor. From them,children would grow with respect toward their elders,
and were exposed to the wisdom of those who had seen and lived many, many moons.
As always, they had a choice whether to learn from their elders very young, that wisdom was priceless, because it taught
one the experiences of others who had traveled that path before.
Nighttime was something in which to look forward, and children would hurry to finish supper so they could relax around the
feet of the elders, and listen to the stories and times of way-back-when. It was a rich time before the intrusion of radio,
television, and computers.
The elders always seemed to have one more story before bedding down for the night. Many of them became the basis for my
dreams, I am sure. Also, they must have affected me during the day, too, for I would always remember the lessons embodied
in the stories of what not to do . . . the little reminders about life to keep me from getting into trouble and choosing
not to be mischievous like the coyote.
From each story, children would learn something special. They learned that the "old" people had much to give, and the youth
grew inknowledge and wisdom. They felt apart of the sacred circle of the family, each contributing, each giving and receiving
from one another. The elders were there to give love and care. There were no unloved children,
no battered little ones, no homeless youth.
Storytelling was the best teaching tool, for it gave the opportunity to learn about the lessons of life, without an elder
pointing a finger at you or putting you on the spot. The third-person style of telling and relating the stories to younger
ones was a nice soft touch to getting the message across in an indirect way, without coming on too strong to them in other
forms of direct approach.
The closeness of the family is the heart of the path within tradition.
One's strength and spirit renew as one generation takes the time and effort to give and share life with another.
When an elder, a parent, or grandparent has no one in which to pass along stories and legends to, the family tradition
breaks apart . . . and our remembering will not be complete.
So, may these stories and legends come to life through you,
and may they help to keep family traditions together for now,
and the days to come.
Aho, I have spoken!
"Come close, my grandsons, that I may tell you a
great secret. The partridge has a story. The squirrel
which sits on yonder limb and scolds our presence has a story . . .
see that great pine with its roots drawing life from the Earth, our Mother,
and its branches reaching out to the Sky, our Father,
and that slender blade of grass growing at
its roots. Each, my grandsons and granddaughters, has its own story
All (beings) have their stories."
-- Edward S. Curtis, 1914
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