Tall tales draw tall crowd

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 30, 2011

NATCHEZ — The moral of the story at the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians Saturday was that people of all ages enjoy a good tale, particularly tales of a tall variety.

Approximately 70 people filtered through the 11th Moon Storytelling event, with some attending from as far away as Chicago, Grand Village historian Becky Anderson said.

“It is the best (turnout) we’ve had in years,” Anderson said.

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Many of the stories explained in a flavorful manner why things in nature are the way they are.

One of Saturday’s speakers, Trey Price, revealed with much animation that an opossum carries its babies in a pouch as a result of a traumatic incident when a mama opossum’s babies were snatched away by a bat.

Price got the crowd to imitate an opossum “cry,” which was more like a hiss. The awful sound showed folks why the wolf got so sick of hearing the crying that he slit a pouch in mama’s stomach so she would not lose her babies and shed another tear.

Anderson said she was impressed with the crowd’s size and attentiveness. People of all ages from young children to senior adults laughed, clapped and watched the performances wide-eyed throughout the storytelling.

Last year the turnout was not very good, Anderson said, and it was decent two years ago.

Anderson she was pleased people came from as far as Illinois and Alabama for the 26-year-old event.

A Boy Scout troop that was camping out also lent some attentive listeners.

“They sat still has long as boys can,” Anderson said.

Garrett Dobson was pleased to about what he was listening for at the storytelling. He found out the answer to the puzzling question, “Why do catfish have flat heads?”

Price revealed that catfish have flat heads because buffalo stomped on them in the river generations of whiskered fish ago, as payback for sticking the buffalo with their with their catfish “spears.”

Garrett’s mother, Marcey, said she and her husband came to the Grand Village Saturday because her son wanted the answer to the catfish question.

“I liked how they (incorporate) animals into the stories to make a moral,” Marcey said.

Her husband, William said he expected Garrett would enjoy the storytelling, but he was not as sure about himself.

“I didn’t expect to enjoy it, but I did,” Williams said.

Garrett said the catfish story was his favorite, as expected.

“(The event) is a good idea,” Marcey said.

“I wish even more kids came out.”