Monday, June 17, 2013

'Ahiohio: The Tornado Myth

Tornadoes have frequented world news recently. I've been asked many times in the last couple weeks if "the tornadoes go where I come from". Being a girl from the Midwest, I confirm that they do, but the bad weather they are referring to is not where my family is currently located. I then show them the globe and point to Oklahoma and Tornado Alley and then point to Wisconsin. Recently, talks about twisters have turned to local legends and myths. I'd like to share one with you now. (I should note that this myth has many variations and what I'm going to share with you is only one version).

This story was told to me by one of the teachers I work with as we stood outside of the school this morning during "morning interval" (recess).
Many years ago in Tonga there was a woman and a man who were very much in love. They got married and were expecting a baby. When it came time for the woman to deliver the baby, the woman went through a difficult labor. Only she did not give birth to a baby, but a stone. The couple, who were very sad and embarrassed, quickly buried the stone in the ground at the cemetery. The couple visited the grave site every day and one day on top of the grave sat a little boy. The small boy was blind. But once he figured out that his parents were standing in front of him, he started to run. Feeling abandoned and angry, the boy ran all over the island. He could not see so his path was not very straight, but instead very chaotic (much like a tornado). Every tree he touched, every house he ran by, blew down. He avoided places that were loud and instead only went where there was quiet. The people living on the island heard of the boy and realized that if they made a lot of noise, their homes and family would not be touched. The people ran outside and banged sticks together, sang loudly and yelled for the boy to go away and he did.

True story: To this day, if there is bad weather in Tonga, people here will bang pots and pans, hit trees, sing REALLY loudly and make lots of noise, so that the destruction that comes with storms and twisters won't effect them. 

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