The Light in the Forest

by: Conrad Richter

Cuyloga

Eleven years ago, Cuyloga adopted True Son in order to replace a child he had lost to "yellow vomit." True Son even states that his Indian father performed a ceremony in which he removed True Son's white blood and replaced it with brave Indian blood. As True Son's Indian father and idol, Cuyloga represents the ideal image of the noble Indian warrior. He is a firm believer in the principles of loyalty, courage, and stoicism. Although Cuyloga loves his son very much and does not want to give him back to the whites, he accepts that this is True Son's fate and, without showing any signs of emotion, forces True Son to leave with the white soldiers. Cuyloga is also portrayed as a very wise figure who always gives True Son sound advice; he is the very opposite of the uncivilized savage that True Son's white family believes him to be. Of particular note is the last message Cuyloga passes to True Son through Half Arrow: Cuyloga reminds True Son of the time he shot a bear who subsequently cried like a coward—the man strongly believes that one must be courageous in both triumph and defeat. Cuyloga later proves his bravery and loyalty to True Son by risking his life to rescue True Son from being killed for his betrayal of the Indians. However, although Cuyloga's actions save True Son's life, we get the sense that he is not as perfect as True Son would have us believe. Cuyloga cannot fully protect his son from the war between the whites and Indians, and in a way he is to blame for True Son's tragic life; had Cuyloga not kidnapped True Son or had he refused to give him up in the first place, he would have kept the boy from being stranded without a father or identity.