Thursday, October 9, 2008

Two Ways to Settle an Argument - Peace Tales

One Cookie.
Two Kids.

One child divides the cookie in half.
The other child gets first choice of halves.

American Folk Advice from Peace Tales
by Margaret Read MacDonald


Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow were brothers.
They lived by Singing River, and they played from sunrise to sunset.
They were as happy as the day was long.

In the summer, they fished and swam in Singing River, and they shot their arrows into chipmunk and woodpecker holes.
Sometimes they played "Dodging Arrows," a game their mother had taught them.

In the winter, they jumped into snowdrifts and rolled until they became red with cold. Then they would send their snow-snakes skimming over the hard crust of snow.
(Snow-snakes were small rods of wood, polished smooth with resin, oil, or wax. They could be thrown long distances. Their father--could throw a snow-snake a mile and a half. But the snow-snakes he used were eight feet
long and tipped with lead.)

It was the Moon of Berries. Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow were six years old. And not once in all their lives had they quarreled.

One morning, Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow planned a foot race.
Seven times they were to run.
Three times, Flying Squirrel reached the goal first.
Three times, Lightning Bow had outrun him.
The seventh race was so close that each boy claimed the victory.
No one saw them run, so no one could decide the game.
For the first time in their lives the boys quarrelled.

The boys voices became louder and louder as they became more and more angry.

Their mother, was baking corn bread on the coals of their fire, when the sound of angry voices reached her ears.
She stepped to the door. "For shame!" she called. "Both of you come here."
When the boys reached their mother, they saw that she was holding three sticks.
"These are Argument sticks" she said, "They will help you settle your disagreement."
Then she showed the boys how to set up the sticks so they would stand for many days.
"Now go into the woods, set up your sticks, and leave your quarrel there. When the Berry Moon has passed, you will return and see if the sticks are still standing. If they lean toward the rising sun, Lightning Bow is right. If they lean toward the setting sun, Flying Squirrel is right. If they have fallen down, neither of you are right and neither won."

Lightning Bow and Flying Squirrel went into the woods and set up their
Then they began to throw balls with willow wands, and soon they were happy again.

The sun had risen and set many times.
The Berry Moon had passed.
It was the Thunder Moon when the boys mother said to them, "Today you may go into the woods and see if your sticks are still standing."

Hand in hand, the two little boys ran into the woods.
They found only a heap of rotting sticks.
Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow stood and looked at the sticks.
They thought and thought.

"What did we set up the sticks for?" each asked of the other.
And for the life of them they could not remember what they had quarrelled about, and why they had set up the sticks!

Retold by LaurenLanita original story found in Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children @ Project Gutenberg

Here's a wonderful list of books that deal with a variety of difficult situations......stress, conflict resolution, methods of dealing with fear, death, etc. As well as topics like peace, tolerance and unity.
Finding Comfort in Books