As I’ve been reading Crazy Horse and Custer by Stephen Ambrose I have become quite interested in the stories behind the names of many of the Sioux. Some interesting ones include Crazy Horse, who’s father was also named Crazy Horse. When the elder Crazy Horse passed the name to his son (who was well on his way to becoming an accomplished warrior by that time), he took a new name: Worm. I really wish I knew why he chose worm. Something to look up me thinks.
But my favorite name so far is “Man Afraid” of which there were two, Old Man Afraid and Young Man Afraid. Again, father and son. Upon first reading the name I was quite perplexed as to why a man would take on that name; but then it was explained that “Man Afraid” is short for the full name of “Man Afraid of His Horses”. Apparently the name loses a bit in the translation as the full name indicates that enemies are not only scared of him, they are scared of his horses. So, the name would be a little more accurate if written “Man Whose Enemies are Afraid Even of His Horses”. Wow.