Ancient lessons fill great stories

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is ready once again to host its annual 11th Moon Storytelling from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29 in the museum auditorium.

The Grand Village is located at 400 Jefferson Davis Blvd. The event is recommended for children ages 9 to 99 and light refreshments will be served. Please note admission is free!

Although this storytelling event is only in its 26th year, the tradition dates back long before the written word.

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Cultures from around the world used storytelling to educate and entertain their people. In some cultures the storyteller was highly revered among their people. Even today’s fairy tales continue to teach lessons to our children.

For instance “The Frog Prince” teaches children to keep their word. “Beauty and the Beast” teaches everyone to look for the beauty within the person not just their looks. The fable of the “Ant and the Grasshopper” teaches everyone to work hard so they will be rewarded in the end. American Indian stories are very much the same; however most of us have never heard these stories before.

Traditionally the Natchez Indians would tell their tales during harsh winter months when they had more spare time. Eleventh Moon for which our event is named is based on the Natchez calendar. For them the 11th Moon was the celebration of Cold Meal. But don’t worry; neither cold grits nor corn meal will be the refreshments.

This year features some of our favorite regional storytellers such as Joan McLemore, Sam Jones, Maryanne Raley, Kay McNeil and Layne Taylor.

We also have additional storytellers coming to us this year from the Natchez Little Theatre.

The great thing about the stories you will hear is there is something for everyone no matter what you are interested in. We have romance, mystery, spooky tales and trickster tales.

For the deer hunters out there we have “The Monster Deer,” for those who like ghost stories we have “The Yellow Hand,” “The Walnut Cracker” and “The Alabamas Capture a Witch.”

Our tricksters include “Why Rabbit has Big Eyes and Long Ears” and the “Bungling Host.” Origin stories include “The North Star” and “the Race Between Hummingbird and Crane.”

These are just to name a few of the wonderful tales our storytellers will bring to the event.

We also invite other story tellers to come up and tell a tale or two. Please come early to make sure you have a seat. The 11th Moon Storytelling was mentioned in Southern Living Magazine and apparently it has created quite a stir.

People from out of state are already calling to inquire about our event and saying they will definitely be here for our spectacular event.

I know the weather has been cold and oft times dreary lately, but come on out and avoid cabin fever and the boredom of sitting at home.

So bring your family or bring a friend, everyone is welcome to come and enjoy these stories of long ago.

If you would like more information on this event please call the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians at 601-446-6502.

Becky Martin Anderson is a historian at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians.