Image of Child HerosThe image of a child hero or trickster is seen in many cultures. Thiskind of role can tell a lot about how a culture acts and reacts to things. Theidea of the child hero in stories written and told before the birth of Christprobably reflect the peoples beliefs that the child is the future, and thereforecarries some sort of power or gift. For stories that were written after thebirth of Christ, the child could reflect the idea stated above, or it could alsobe the peoples belief in an infant savior, that a child will make everythingright again.Whether the story comes from before Christ or after, the one uniformaspect about these stories is that they are present in every culture, all aroundthe world. The image of the trickster is also very prevalent in the differentcultures.
It is seen in many different fables and moral-based stories.You cannot go against the Philistine, you are but a youth, and he haslong been a man of war(Metzger 145). This is what King Saul of Israel said toDavid when he proposed that he fight the Philistine warrior Goliath.
The storyof David and Goliath is quite possibly one of the oldest child hero stories.It was part of the Bible, in the Old Testament. In this story a young man namedDavid proposes to the king of Israel that he fight and attempt to kill Goliath,the giant that had been plaguing Israel. The king agrees, however hesitantly,and David goes on to slay the beast using just a slingshot. Whilethis storyis not one that was made up, it still shows us that the ancient Hebrewsbelieved in the fact that a child, or in this case teen, has the will andmotivation to do the impossible.Staying on the eastern side of the world, we will next see examples ofRussian stories. In the former Soviet Union, a lot of the time stories, booksand other types of art were hard to come by. In a broader sense, though, recentyears have witnessed genuine cultural enrichment, as Gorbachevs glasnost policypermitted the works of previously forbidden writers, artists, andcinematographers to become accessible(Grolier Multimedia).
After the public wasable to get at the mass of stories that had been kept from them, there was evenmore of an increase of books and other forms of art. The Russian people now hadmuch more of an incentive to write. In a certain village, not near, not far,not high, not low, there lived an old couple with one little son named Ivashko(Wyndham 32). This is the line that begins the story of Ivashko and the Witch.This story takes place in a small village in Russia, and the main character is asmall boy named Ivashko.
Ivashko was a very independent boy who wanted to go ofon his own and go fishing. He begged and pleaded with his parents, and finallythey gave in. His father built him a canoe and off he went. Ivashko was doingwell while he was fishing, but and one point was lured to shore by an evil witch.The witch grabbed him and took him to her house deep in the woods. She showedhim to her daughter and they decided that they would eat him.At this point the witch left to get some of her friends. Ivashko seizedthis opportunity, and when the witches daughter went to sit down on a shovel inorder to demonstrate to Ivashko how to do it, he through her into the fire.
Hethen left and ran up a tree. The witch found him and started gnawing at the tree.Luckily for Ivashko, a flock of geese was flying overhead and one flew down tosweep him up. Just as he left the tree fell over on the witch and all her evilfriends, crushing them. Ivashko lived happily ever after. This shows that in theRussian culture there is a presence of the child hero, and even shows the imageof the trickster in the way Ivashko tricked the witchs’ daughter into showinghim how to sit on a shovel.
Ivashko is a hero in this story not only because hekilled the witch, but because he rid the lake and the woods of the evil thatkept most people from going there. Although this