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Indian Stories by Great Grandma

Wampum


The ancient tale of Moon Boy was perhaps 5,000 years old. It was circulated around the neighborhood where Indian children played the French game Lacrosse. It was originally a poem, but greatgram remembered the story, but couldn't remember all of the lines.

It had a natural cadence to it, and great grandma said it was originally a poem. She wrote down the whole story and as many of the lines of the poem she could remember.

With the story and the cadence in hand, I was happy to collaborate with great grandma by turning the story back into a poem.

The story line loses nothing in the translation. I hope you like it.


 

An Ancient Tale Of Moon Boy

Moon Boy was a young Indian trapper who lived many years ago

and he tended his traps every night no matter whether rain or snow.

And then one night and on another, mattered not what trail he took

found traps empty, his game was gone, he knew not where to look.

"Robbers it must have been," thought his father, "that must be true,

"you must catch the one my son who did these terrible deeds to you."

"You must set a trap my son," his mother said," to capture this retch

upon the hill and hide it well, hide and wait, see what that will fetch."

Upon the hill beside the trail he hid it well and set his trap so strong

and up there by the trail, hid in a cave to see what would come along.

A terrible storm blew in that night, covered the forest deep with snow

and nearby trees with mighty crashes fell, so hard the wind did blow.

Then from sky above the light appeared, so bright it hurt his eyes

And Moon Boy trembled in mortal fear of those spirits from the sky.

And then a terrible rage heard he, like thunder, horrible was it's ire

bushes, leaves, trees, earth, everything seemed consumed by fire.

For several hours hid he, while snow so slowly cooled the ground

the fires so wild a while ago, slowly turned to clinkers all around.

Soon from his warm cave came he, out to see what he could see.

On trembling legs, in mortal fear, slowly across the trail crept he.

The storm had gone away, the only sounds he heard on quiet path

the frantic beating of his strong heart, as in sweat he took a bath.

On silent knees he forward crept until he found his rawhide noose

a gentle tug, but very taunt, something big, did he snare a moose.?

Dimly in the light, a mound of snow was there, to it ran his snare

hatchet tight in hand, carefully moved, could it possibly be a bear?

A mighty roar from snow mound came, while flakes flew all askew.

Young brave drew back in haste, to safety watch what it would do.

The monster roared and thrashed about, and terrible was it's rage

struggled vainly against it's bond, as an animal trapped in a cage.

Through dim light he saw at once, that what he caught was blue

but fire crackled from it's eyes, not any animal that he ever knew.

The beast then saw the boy and recognized the futility of the strain

the bonds grew tighter still, and became quite painful in the main.

Still the blue shape raged and howled and shot it's flames around

the boy threw snow upon the thing and bravely stood his ground.

"Sever the bonds and turn me loose", blue thing again implored.

"No," refused the boy, "for too long my game you have devoured."

"Release me now" demanded the beast, "your traps I did not rob.

Release the bond and do it soon, else my life's not worth a bob."

"I am the man in the moon" said he, "I must soon go home or die.

I offer a deal to save my life young man, about that I will not lie.

I'll guard your traps myself, I'll watch them for you every night.

No man will dare to rob your traps, they'll get a terrible fright."

"Light is coming in the east, from that I must flee", it did exhort.

"Think fast boy," pled the thing in blue," my life is growing short.

"Young brave decided to think awhile, to observe the thing in blue.

"I'm thinking about your promises now, I'll get right back to you."

"My decision is made to cut your bonds, your life I will not take.

Step back blue thing, give me room, mistake I'm wont to make"

A slashing blade and a parting thong, and everything was right.

With thankful nod it stepped away, upward shot a flash of light.

He walked his traps and what a sight , that harvest was so great

many trips he had to make, struggled mightily under the weight.

Told his story in his village home, made no matter friend or foe

an epic story told around campfires bright, wherever people go.

Young Moon Boy to manhood grew, he trapped for food no more.

He traveled by light both day and night and greatly grew his lore.

Whether boy or man it mattered not, his name he could not shake,

Moon Boy he was, and every one knew, none other could he take.

END

 

NOTE: There is no question that this is a legend. The question is, how old is it? It could be a thousand years old, or ten thousand years old, no way to accurately know. Has anyone who read this ever heard that legend elsewhere. I am trying to find out how far from Iowa the same legend spread, how many Indian tribes of the north-east great lakes area told the same tale.

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