Lore of the American Indian Native
It seems that there were different initiations that a young boy had to pass
to prove that he was a man. Some of the initiations had to do with proving
that the young boy was accomplished in overcoming fear, or showing bravery.
This is one such story.
A young lad was taken into the deep woods by his father. He was told that he
had to spend the night alone and also spend this night blindfolded.
It seems that the father found a clearing with a perfect tree stump suitable
for sitting. Night was approaching and the boy sat on the tree stump and the
father placed the blindfold securely over his son’s eyes and said that he
could take the blindfold off and come home when he felt the warmth of the
morning sun. Then he left the young lad.
The boy strained his senses; finally feeling the quiet of the night and its
coolness closing around him. Sounds that the boy understood and accepted
from the safety of his home and the comfort of his family now seemed foreign
He heard the hooting of an owl nearby and the answer of its mate further
away. He wondered what else was out there in the stillness of the night. Was
the sound of the owl warning its mate of a menacing intruder such as a bear,
or was it just the chatter of two affectionate birds?
What caused the rustling of leaves? Was it a night animal such as a mountain
cougar or just the breeze wending its way through the forest?
Even though the night was cool, the boy could feel the heat building in his
belly as the pangs of fear increased as each sound came into his perception.
The blindfold seemed heavier as each hour passed and the night seemed
endless. The boy thought of his family and how he loved them and wondered
how his father could do this to him.
Sadly he felt anger arise from the pit of his stomach reaching a tightly
closed throat so that it seemed to choke him. He labored under the thought
that his father left him to his own devices in a world that now seemed
threatening. How could his father abandon him to the dangers of the forest
and why didn’t his mother dissuade him from this unjust treatment?
After a time that seemed endless, he picked up a subtle change in the night
sounds as now birds began chirping their morning songs. The boy eagerly took
off the blindfold as he finally felt the warmth of the morning sun.
“Father”, he cried, as he quickly ran to the embrace of the one who had been
quietly keeping guard with him throughout the night.
In the boy’s perception, he was alone and abandoned. In truth, he was not.
How often are our perceptions like those of the young Indian boy?