Richard Heath, administrator for the Quaker businessman William Penn, was set with the grueling task of delivering notices to anyone who was living on land now owned by his employer. When he encountered Old Hannu, a ‘Forest Finn’ and his Lenape-Dutch grand-daughter, his idea of ‘land ownership’ is fundamentally challenged.
Note: Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.
Topics for Investigation
Delaware History - History of New Sweden, New Amsterdam and New York as it relates to the Delaware River area. - History of Quakers and immigration to America - Timeline of all the different ‘owners’ of the east coast of USA - Biography of William Penn
Delaware Geography - Map of Delaware with different boundaries depending on which countries or proprietors owned the land - Map of Quaker migration to America
‘People Like Me’ Study Topics - What is the Society of Friends? - A general study of American Colonization and how land was ‘claimed’ and then how ownership legally (or illegally) changed over time.
Topics for Reflection
From a Child Development Perspective:
In this story, your child might learn that:
While some people may find their place where they belong without having to travel far and wide, others need to explore other lands and other ways of living and thinking before they find their true home. Such was the case with Richard Heath who left his home in England in order to live with his new community of like-minded folks along the Delaware River--the Quakers.
There are so often different perspectives on the same matter, and while it is fine to hold to your own opinion, it is also important to note that other perspectives can also exist without either being wrong. For example, there were some who supported King George during the time of the American Revolution and some who believed in the same things that William Penn believed in. The same is true today. History is being made every day between and among people who have different opinions.
Quakers strongly believe in being honest, patient and peaceful. You do not need to call yourself a Quaker, in order to live by these important values.
The Quakers also believe that there is no excuse for aggression or bullying, but that there are times where you must defend yourself. There may be times in life where we have to be very clear about what the differences are in our own actions.
We can respect the differences among people and cultures, while at the same time keep our eyes open and to look for the things that connect us all. While Dutch food was different than what Richard was used to, a dumpling boiled in sweet grape juice, the vegetables that grew in the garden were easily recognizable by Richard. Same produce, different recipes! Isn't that wonderful? Richard saw that garden as a picture of collaboration between Europe and the colonies.
The United States of America is she who she is because of the personalities and contributions of those who came to her from many different lands. Old Han came to teach soldiers how to build Finnish cabins. Others brought recipes, and others brought ideas! Additionally, it is also very important to remember that the Native people who were here originally were the first to till the soil from which America has grown. The United States of America is truly "a beautiful garden of so many colors."
About the Authors
David Sewell McCann
David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.
Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.