Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, April 09, 1994, Image 50

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    BlHancastar Farming, Saturday, April 9, 1994
MIRIAM TAYLOR WERT
Juniata Co. Correspondent
(Author’s note: The story of
"The Grasshopper War" has been
handed down from generation to
generation in the area of Port
Royal, Juniata County, Pennsyl
vania. It is of special interest to
me because the battle took place
either on ground that my family
owns or on ground nearby.
Although some folks outside our
part of the country refer to the
story as an Indian legend, natives
of our area feel that it actually
took place.
The friendly Tuscarora Indians
who remained in the Licking
Creek-Tuscarora Creek area
when white people settled here
told the story as fact, though they
used no names and had no written
record. As I read the various
sketchy accounts and heard them
from older local residents, the
characters of Wani and Tuksit
seemed to come alive for me, and I
wanted to write their story.)
Many moons ago two Indian
tribes lived in peace near the
mouth of the Licking Creek. A vil
lage of the Delawares was on one
side of (he creek, and a village of
the Tuscaroras was on the other
side.
These tribes had been Mends
for years. They hunted on the
same grounds, sat together around
council fires, shared the pipe of
peace, and danced the green corn
dance together beneath the light of
the big, yellow harvest moon. The
children of the tribes played
together.
Wani was an eight-year-old
Delaware boy. He liked to play
games with the Tuscaroras and he
especially liked to challenge his
friend Tuksit in contests of skill
and strength. Many times these
boys had crossed back and forth
over the Licking Creek to spend
the day fishing or playing
together.
A certain summer day in the
early 1700 s began as any other
peaceful, lazy day. But one small
incident took place that would
change the lives of the Indians of
both tribes. Friends would become
enemies, and the peace pipe would
no longer be shared.
It began when Wani found the
biggest grasshopper he had ever
seen. He watched it jump so far
that his big black eyes nearly
popped from his head! He wanted
to keep it as his own, but how?
Wani said to himself, “I know. I’ll
make a leather pouch out of deers
kin and punch holes in it so the
grasshopper can breathe. Then I’ll
The Grasshopper War
close it at the top with a drawstr
ing so it can’t jump out."
Wani made the pouch and
caught the grasshopper. He cared
for it and watched it grow bigger
and stronger each day.
Finally one day he got in the
canoe and went to visit Tuksit to
show him the grasshopper and
pouch. He bragged about how far
the grasshopper could jump.
This was too much for the Tus
carora boy. “Your grasshopper
isn’t so great,” he said. “I’ll find
one that’ll beat it”
Wani replied, “No, you’ll never
find a better one. You can try, but
it won’t beat mine.”
“I’ll have a better one by sun
down today,” bragged Tuksit.
“You come over again tomorrow
and you’ll see.”
Wani and Tuksit agreed to meet
on the Tuscarora side of the Lick
ing Creek the next day to have a
jumping contest between the gras
shoppers. They decided that the
one with the winning jumper
would be the “biggest brave.”
On the day of the contest, Wani
went across the rippling creek in
his canoe, his grasshopper tucked
carefully in its little pouch. Before
the contest began, the boys
marked a starting line by scraping
a sharp stick along the soft
ground. When a grasshopper
jumped, they would mark the
place where it landed. Then the
other would jump, and that land
ing spot would be marked also.
The distance was to be measured
with a leather thong a strip of
leather made from deer hide.
Wani’s grasshopper jumped
first Oh, it was a long jump, and
Wani was proud! Nothing could
beat that jump, he was sure. But
then Tuksit’s grasshopper jumped,
and the measurement showed that
it had made a longer jump. Now
Tuksit was the proud one!
In their excitement the boys for
got to place the grasshoppers back
in their pouches. Now there were
two grasshoppers jumping all over
the place with two excited Indian
boys trying to catch them. Wani
caught one and started to place it
in his pouch, but Tuksit shouted
that it was the wrong one. He
accused Wani of trying to steal his
grasshopper because it had won
the jump. Suddenly a fist-fight
broke out between the boys, with
much shouting and accusing.
They got so loud that the women
came from the village to see what
was happening.
When Tuksit shouted that the
other boy had tried to steal his
grasshopper, the women started in
m Wani, who then called across
the creek to his mother for help.
Soon women came over in canoes,
and the battle increased. By this
time, some of the young Indian
braves had returned from hunting,
and they joined the fracas.
By evening, the older men had
joined the battle, and for days the
fierce struggle continued. Hun-
Teach Farm Kids
Dangers Around
The following entreaty,
reprinted from Farm Safety 4 Just
Kids, was written by Laura Klev
er, age 10 of Independence, lowa,
and won the 1993 Grades 4-6
Division of the lowa FmHA Essay
Contest.
Kids, share it with your parents as
a way to talk about safety on your
farm. What chores do you think
you’re old enough to do that Mom
or Dad don’t? Talk about it
Laura asks her family. “Please
remember to give me a hazard free
*93.” Her essay can help remind
your family to talk about safety
issues for a hazard free ‘94.
Please Remember
Please remember that although
I love to ride in the tractor with
you, my little fingers can't hang
onto the fenders very well as the
tractor bounces here and there,
and that I could very easily fall,
and be crushed under those big
tires.
Please remember that I find it
fascinating to watch the PTO spin
around, and around as you grind
feed, but that my chore clothes
quickly get caught as I lean for
X —V
M \fc|l
i Hd
dreds of warriors, women and
children fell beneath the toma
hawks and arrows. No one knows
what happened to Wani and Tuk
sit since there is no written history
from the Indians. We must assume
that these two friends also fell in
the battle.
When white settlers came to the
Licking Creek area in about 1762,
friendly Indians pointed out the
battleground site to them. Over
time, the settlers found many
relics, such as arrowheads and
tomahawks, in the spot where the
Grasshopper War was said to have
occurred. The sachems (wise lead
ers) of the local Indian tribe held
up this battle as a warning to any
tribe about to engage in a useless
war.
ward to watch and I’d never be
strong enough to pull myself back
in time.
Please remember that I love to
pet all our cute and cuddly farm
animals, but I forget that on hot
summer days the animals don’t
like to be bothered. The mommy
and daddy animals could get
angry with me and my little legs
aren’t fast enough for me to get
away from them.
Please remember that even
though I’m tall and strong enough
to mow the lawn. I’m not used to
that big sharp blade, and that I
don’t understand that in the blink
of an eye it could seriously cut my
foot I need to be reminded to
wear shoes, keep my feet away
from the cutting parts and never
mow grass that is wet and
slippery.
Please remember that even
though I beg you to ride on top of
the grain wagons or climb up on
the grain Inns, I could easily be
sucked down into an open pocket
and be unable to breathe, maybe
never again. Please remember to
give me a “Hazard Free *94.”
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