Whether you have kids or grandkids, nieces or nephews, or cute little neighbors next door, you’ve probably sat kids down and told them a story. Alex Bugaeff has gone one step further: he wrote a book about telling kids a story (which just won an award in this year’s New York Book Festival). Here’s an excerpt from Pilgrims to Patriots: A Grandfather Tells The Story.
My name is “Gomps” and I’m a Boomer and a grandfather. Every Wednesday night for the past four months I had been telling my grandchildren, Hannah, 11, and Carter, 9, the story of our nation’s Founding. By this time, I was into the French and Indian War. It was Wednesday night again and we had finished dinner.
“Last week, I promised to tell you the story of the Indian Prophecy,” I began.
“What’s a prophecy?” Carter asked.
“Carter, you know,” said Hannah. “It’s when someone predicts the future.”
“Oh, yeah,” said Carter.
“So,” I said, “during a battle with the French in western Pennsylvania, an Indian chief on the French side had seen George Washington rallying his troops from horseback with bullets whizzing all around him. Miraculously, Washington was not hit.
“Then, about 15 years later, the chief met with Washington and a group of colonists who were trying to settle an argument over the ownership of land in that area. The chief had a council fire one night to talk with the colonists about his tribe’s views on the matter. Suddenly, he stood up and gave a speech.
“The chief said that he had been the one in charge of the Indians who had fought the English in that battle. He had gotten all his sharpshooters to aim at Washington, but none could hit him. He said, ‘A power mightier than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle.’
“Then, the chief said that he himself was going to die soon, but he wanted to say something ‘. . . in the voice of prophecy.’ ‘The Great Spirit protects that man [pointing to Washington]’ he said, ‘and guides his destinies-– he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!’”
“No way!” exclaimed Hannah. “How do you know he said that?”
“Well, Washington made no mention of it himself,” I said. “That shouldn’t surprise us because of his humility. But others who were there wrote it down in letters and reports and told the story frequently after that.
“So that’s the Indian Prophecy. What do you think?”
“Sounds iffy to me,” said Hannah.
“It coulda happened,” Carter said.