The image of a child hero or trickster is seenin many cultures.
This kind of role can tell a lot about how a cultureacts and reacts to things. The idea of the child hero in storieswritten and told before the birth of Christ probably reflect thepeoples beliefs that the child is the future, and therefore carriessome sort of power or gift. For stories that were written after thebirth of Christ, the child could reflect the idea stated above, or itcould also be the peoples belief in an infant savior, that a child willmake everything right again.Whether the story comes from before Christ or after,the one uniform aspect about these stories is that they are presentin every culture, all around the world.
The image of the tricksteris also very prevalent in the different cultures. It is seen in manydifferent fables and moral-based stories. You cannot go against the Philistine, you are but ayouth, and he has long been a man of war(Metzger 145).
This iswhat King Saul of Israel said to David when he proposed that hefight the Philistine warrior Goliath. The story of David and Goliathis quite possibly one of the oldest child hero stories. It was part ofthe Bible, in the Old Testament. In this story a young man namedDavid proposes to the king of Israel that he fight and attempt to killGoliath, the giant that had been plaguing Israel. The king agrees,however hesitantly, and David goes on to slay the beast using just aslingshot. Whilethis story is not one that was made up, it still M. Harrington 2shows us that the ancient Hebrews believed in the fact that a child,or in this case teen, has the will and motivation to do theimpossible.Staying on the eastern side of the world, we will nextsee examples of Russian stories.
In the former Soviet Union, a lot ofthe time stories, books and other types of art were hard to come by.In a broader sense, though, recent years have witnessed genuinecultural enrichment, as Gorbachevs glasnost policy permitted theworks of previously forbidden writers, artists, andcinematographers to become accessible(Grolier Multimedia). Afterthe public was able to get at the mass of stories that had been keptfrom them, there was even more of an increase of books and other forms of art. The Russian people now had much more of anincentive to write. In a certain village, not near, not far, not high,not low, there lived an old couple with one little son namedIvashko(Wyndham 32).
This is the line that begins the story of Ivashko and the Witch. This story takes place in a small village inRussia, and the main character is a small boy named Ivashko.Ivashko was a very independent boy who wanted to go of on hisown and go fishing. He begged and pleaded with his parents, andfinally they gave in. His father built him a canoe and off he went.Ivashko was doing well while he was fishing, but and one point waslured to shore by an evil witch. The witch grabbed him and tookhim to her house deep in the woods. She showed him to herdaughterandtheydecidedthattheywouldeathim.
M. Harrington 3At this point the witch left to get some of her friends. Ivashko seizedthis opportunity, and when the witches daughter went to sit downon a shovel in order to demonstrate to Ivashko how to do it, hethrough her into the fire. He then left and ran up a tree. The witchfound him and started gnawing at the tree. Luckily for Ivashko, aflock of geese was flying overhead and one flew down to sweep himup. Just as he left the tree fell over on the witch and all her evilfriends, crushing them.
Ivashko lived happily ever after. This showsthat in the Russian culture there is a presence of the child hero, andeven shows the image of the trickster in the way Ivashko tricked thewitchs daughter into showing him how to sit on a shovel. Ivashko isa hero in this story not only because he killed the witch, butbecause he rid the lake and the woods of the evil that kept mostpeople from going there. Although this isnt one of the newlyreleased works