November 3, 2014
Elements of family within the Waugh narratives and Iroquois Culture
The Kidnapped Baby is an Iroquois folktale that involves a bad man kidnapping a small girl, with the intent to marry her when she is of age. The kidnapper is never given a name, and is consistently referred to as the bad man or using the pronoun he. In the beginning of the story the bad man says that if he ever has the chance to get where “that” girl lives, he is going to take her for himself but there is never any background given on how the bad man knows of the little girl or where she lives. When the bad man gets tired of waiting and decided to travel to the village where the family is staying he must pass the homes of the net maker, the arrow maker and the great dancer, all of which are his enemy, but he persists to the village anyway. When the bad man gets to the home of the family the father is away. So, when the mother goes outside to retrieve some water the bad man sneaks into the house and takes the little girl. Though her brother is crying and the mother returns as he is taking her baby, the bad man is too fast and she is not able to catch him. The father, who was out hunting, also tries to pick up the trail of the man, but can’t find it and eventually gives up. Back at the cabin of the bad man, he nurses the baby girl until she begins to grow into a good-sized woman. He does not feed her milk, but broth and decides it would be best for the child if he pretended to be a woman so she would think that he is her mother. When the child was old enough, the bad man fell into his old routine of hunting everyday, not thinking that as his daughter was growing, her brother was too.
One day, the girl’s brother told her parents that he knew where his sister was, because he heard her talking from a tree when he was in the woods and after this discovery was determined to go and get her. So he went. When he reached the cabin of the man, he was away hunting and was reunited with his sister for the first time. Of course being a baby when she was taken from her family the young girl did not recognize him so he began to explain himself. He told the girl what had happened to her and that he had come to give her instructions and that in a few days he would be back to take her home with him. The boy told the girl to play sick, and when her mother comes home to tell her that she has had a dream she is going to die and in order to save her she must climb up and retrieve the wampum. The bad man agrees to this believing the dream must be true, and the little girl sees for the first time that her mother is not who she says she is. The next morning, the child appears to be better so the ma continues to go hunting like he always does. This is when the brother returns to the home, with a wooden doll made to look and act like his sister along with an arrow that he was intending to put his sister in and shoot southward after the doll took her place. After shrinking his sister to the point where she was able to fit within the arrow, he turned himself into a hare and ran circles around the house to cover their trial. The hare ran into the woods until he came to the arrow . When the man came home, the doll was sick crying in bed, saying the medicine was not working and she was going to die. The bad man held the doll who he though was the girl and they said their goodbyes to each other until the girl (doll) passed away. Struck with grief, when the man tried to get up he found that he was unable to move from the girls grasp. He realized he had been tricked and chopped the doll up with his axe and ran into the woods after the children. While the brother and sister were running they past the three homes of the mans enemies that agreed to help them get away from him and were reunited with their family. Meanwhile, the bad man continued through the woods first coming to the net-makers house, who refused to tell them where the