Tale of The Orphan Boy Who Became A Wrestler

A boy lived alone with his old grandfather. His mother and father died when he was only a baby, and there was no one to care for him but his grandfather. They lived together, and the old man cared for the child as best he could until he had become old enough to play around. The grandfather was looking forward to the time when he could make bows and arrows for the boy and teach him to hunt, but before that time came the old man died and the boy was left alone. He went from lodge to lodge and begged, and whatever the people gave him he ate and was grateful. At night he returned to his lonely lodge and cried, for he was poor and alone and afraid. The boys of the village came to his lodge to see him, and they teased him and laughed at him because he was sad and did not know how to play as they did. He was brave and did not lose courage. When he was larger he made himself a bow and some arrows and went out to hunt. He brought back small game at first and was happy, because he no longer had to beg.

One time when he was out alone far in the timber he heard a voice singing and calling to him to wait. He waited and a strange boy came running through the bushes. The stranger was homely, but so full of fun and energy that the poor orphan boy determined to make him his friend. They played together, and finally they tried to see which was the stronger. The stranger looked much stronger than the orphan, but, to his surprise, he found that he could easily throw him. The orphan boy could not understand how he could throw the strong looking boy so easily, for all the boys in the village made fun of him because they could so easily throw him. The strange boy arose and smiled and said: “I have given you my power. I am a wonderfully strong man. I have given that power to you. Now you can go back to your village and throw any one you please. I have been watching you and seeing how the boys teased you. I have decided to give you power. Now you are one of the strongest men in the world and can throw any one.”

The stranger disappeared. The boy lay down to rest, for it had grown dark and he could not find his way home. The sun arose and the boy waked and started on to hunt. He killed three deer and started home with them. His load was heavy and he could not go fast. When he was far from home darkness came again. He lay down on some soft grass to rest until daylight. Soon he heard a voice, and looking up he saw the same stranger who had appeared to him the night before. The stranger asked the boy if he would not go to the meeting place where he and all his friends met to wrestle. The boy said that he would go. The stranger helped him carry his meat, and soon they were at the place. There were many boys and men there. One stepped forward and asked the orphan boy to wrestle with him. The boy easily threw him. A second, third, fourth, and fifth came forward, and he threw one after another. Then the strong men began to fear the boy, and they all went away and left him alone with only the one who had given him the power. While they sat down to rest, the strong man told the boy more things about the wonderful power he had given him and how to use it. When the sun arose the strong man disappeared and the boy took up his meat and returned home. He had been home but a few days when it was noised about the village that the boys were going to have some wrestling matches. He went to watch the wrestling, but stood far out from the ring among the spectators. Soon a young man from the ring called him to come in, if he were not a coward. He only shook his head. Again the young man called, not thinking that he would come, but only to tease him. The boy at once threw off his blanket and ran into the ring. In a short time he threw the man and killed him. Then he asked for another to come and fight with him. None came. All were afraid of his great strength. The report of his deeds soon spread among the people, and it was not long before he had the respect and fear of all.

Caddo, Legends,

Dorsey, George A. Traditions of the Caddo. Washington: Carnegie Institution. 1905.

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