Another Misnamed Parable
Recently, I wrote an essay about Pandora and Don Quixote. Over the years, people have mislabeled both parables and missed the actual point of both stories. While on the Internet, I stumbled across another parable called the Devils Tower.
Again, Devils Tower has several different names even though it is the same tower. Some choose to call it other names like Bear Lodge, Bear's House, Bear's Lodge, Bear's Tipi, or Brown Buffalo Horn. It is located in the northeastern corner of Wyoming. Interestingly, it was Teddy Roosevelt who selected Devils Tower as America's first national monument in 1906.
The parable issue is complicated due to the various versions of this story. However, one version has to do with some young girls who were playing outside and saw several bears. In an attempt to avoid being attacked by the bears, they climbed to the top of the rock due to the bears not being able to pursue them. The Great Spirit helped the girls by raising the rock higher so as to make it impossible for the bears to reach them. While the girls were safe, the bears clawed at the rock. Hence, one can see the claw marks on the sides of the Devils Tower.
The Great Spirit continued to move the mountain and the girls higher. Finally, the girls became the star cluster, Pleiades or the Sisters, in the constellation of Taurus.
A variation of the seven sisters is that two boys were exploring outside their village when a bear named Mato chased them. Fearing for their lives, they too prayed like the seven sisters and the rock, on which they were standing, grew taller. As a result, the bear clawed at the mountain that protected the boys.
Another adaptation of the storyline was the storyline of seven sisters and their brother. However, the brother morphed into a bear, which traumatized his sisters. They ran away from the bear and sought protection in a tree, which transported them into the sky and the girls became the Big Dipper.
The misnaming of the Devils Tower occurred in 1875 when a Col. Richard Dodge's interpreter misunderstood the Native American name to mean Bad God's Tower. Therefore, the name soon became Devils Tower.
Finally, as for the point of the parable, it is not about a bear clawing after children. It is about how children were rescued supernaturally. Devils Tower is like all parables. It is misnamed and the meaning of the parable is lost.
Additionally, some of my readers might wonder why the word, Devils, which is a possessive noun, does not have an apostrophe. In 1890 and again in 1947, the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) has attempted to unify all geographic names of places. They have dropped the use of the apostrophe when referring to a place that is a possessive noun.
Visit the "Don Quixote" page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.