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The Childlore of the Greater Pass

Childlore (tûḍúla in Stenza, lit. "children's ways" or "children's mysteries") is defined as the folklore of groups of children or young people, which can spread all over by various means (the "cool S" is popular in some regions of Earth, for example, and commonly learned by looking at the notebooks of other students). However, the Stenza do not consider childhood to end until a decision on the Citizenship Trial has been made. Therefore, in Stenza terms, the concept of childlore includes the traditional adolescent practice of Legend Tripping, on top of the memes and tales belonging to younger children.   Additionally, folklore is woven into the social fabric of Stenza society, although they try not to let this on to outsiders. Because of this, childlore tends to be a version of traditional adult folklore and religious practice adapted by young people for their own purposes.


Children and adolescents have been known to have their own folklore and ways for thousands of years, but most of the adult knowledge on this topic comes from individuals reflecting on their childhoods and the clan traditions which were prevalent and had significant impact on them growing up. It swiftly became apparent that childlore is as rich and detailed as the folklore of adults which surrounds it, and there is some interplay between the two as children come to understand the world as the older people of their clan do. The earliest anecdotes also told that older adolescents will pass on lore and customs to the younger children of the clan, before being socially barred from doing so by passing the Citizenship Trial (which is considered by some clans "one final legend trip", pointing further to the origins of legend tripping in ancient coming of age rites and tests of courage and fortitude).   However, in the Greater Pass especially, the boundary between adults and the customs of children is notoriously impermeable. Local adults accept this, having grown up in that environment, but on the rare occasions outsiders have tried to study the customs of the Greater Pass, they have been met with staunch silence from the children and teenagers there and deliberately muddled "memories" in the Collective Knowledge.   Except in one case.   During the Battle with the Stone Menace, an incident occurred in the Greater Pass area: every child and teenager in the region journeyed through the Pass and into the Frozen Wastes beyond. Shortly afterward began a stretch of cold, clear days during which the Stone Menace could be seen for miles. After the conclusion of the battle and the establishment of the Unified Stenza Clans, stories began to propagate rapidly about the eight-hundred-strong gathering of young people in the Frozen Wastes with the explicit aim of petitioning the Snow Warrior for help with the invading creature, and his subsequent suspension of all local weather, resulting in the cold, clear days. The stories, told exclusively by adolescent aspiring storytellers to anyone who will listen, spread outward from the Greater Pass area and is to this day the only expression of (or arguably action taken because of) the childlore of the area known to anyone outside of it.


The children of the clans of the Greater Pass, particularly Jal'sa, are keenly aware of the Snow Warrior's patronage of children, even if this recognition has been lost to the adults and to outsiders looking into Stenza society. Therefore, The Lore and Practices of the Greater Pass may apply to adults but not necessarily to the local children.   Legend Tripping, for example, is almost expected among the adolescent population, and in Jal'sa droga particularly is a requirement before an adolescent knows "enough" to pass on the customs to younger children.   Related to the legend trip is the procession made by the children of the Pass region on some indeterminate schedule that works out to something like once every four years. The procession commemorates the events that occurred during the Battle with the Stone Menace that many believe was a turning point in the conflict, and is marked by drumming, specially constructed An'o devised by the dancers themselves, and a venture into the Frozen Wastes, often farther than adults would dare to go. Outsiders are strictly barred from these events, even if they are told the stories behind them.   However, even the most daring of adolescents, or the largest group of children, only goes so far into the Wastes, as to venture farther is legitimately dangerous. Additionally, children and young adults avoid the caves which house the dead; they're considered unlucky or especially dangerous.   Younger children frequently attempt to engage or play with the Snow Pups, which, as far as is known, the Pups seem to enjoy.   Very often, the earliest exposure children have to the ways of wider society is through Migration or Hunting Season, particularly the ways of processing meat and being respectful while in the Wastes. These ideas are unilaterally incorporated into the stories children tell each other, such as about some punk two villages over who disappeared never to return because he didn't dispose of a kill properly or refused to leave a libation.

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Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
17 Apr, 2021 14:37

Funny how yesterday we were talking of some unmentionable child lore too... :D

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17 Apr, 2021 22:34

Hey, folklore is fascinating! And sometimes it's good to talk these things out. (Plus I usually have at least two things on the burner at the same time.)

24 Apr, 2021 16:10

I've never heard of the concept of childlore before, but it makes so much sense that it could be a thing. :D I like that because of the Stenza view of childhood it contains the Legend Tripping. :) <3

24 Apr, 2021 22:15

I only learned of it recently, too, but here on Earth we're like "yeah childhood ends when puberty starts" even though teenagers are more likely to engage in legend tripping, which is a folkloric custom for sure.