Monday, January 10, 2011

Fairy Tales - When parents need their child to be afraid

In Kipnuk one of the village I grew up in the adults were
concerned that the children would hurt themselves by going
under the school so they created a legend about the ghost
a one legged man who sought to steal the leg of anyone
who went under there.
Picture taken from LKSD
Come away from the river the parent calls to their child or you might fall in and drown. But the child doesn't think that they are so stupid as to fall in so the parents must constantly watch them until they tell the child the story of a fairy, a hag or some other monster in the water.

Sometimes parents need their child to be afraid, the wilderness is filled with dangers. Growing up in one of the most remote regions in Alaska I got to see this first hand. Parents would claim there were monsters by the river, in the swamps, just outside the door during the coldest days of winter, and under the buildings.

These children grow and pass the story to their children until at last only the memory of the monster remains, not necessarily its purpose. And so the wilderness comes to be inhabited by fairies, ogres and witches.