The Light in the Forest

Main characters

True Son

True Son (John Cameron Butler) is the story's protagonist. He was kidnapped by the Lenape from his family's home in Pennsylvania. Adopted by a Lenape family, he became assimilated into their culture, undergoing years of traditional lessons of strength and patience, with fire and freezing water tactics, until he was fifteen. At that age, he was forced by a treaty between the Lenape and United States to go back to his birth family.


Cuyloga is True Son’s adoptive Indian father and believed that the boy had become culturally Lenape. His wife adopted the boy, who was then considered to be a member of her clan, as the Lenape had a matrilineal kinship system. Cuyloga is described as the wisest and the strongest father. He is the one who took the boy as captive in the raid.

Del Hardy

Del Hardy is a young colonial soldier who is to ensure True Son returns to his birth family. He is also an interpreter who speaks Lenape. Like True Son, Del spent part of his youth living among the Lenape. While he is distrustful of Indians as a group, he is empathetic toward True Son. He allows his Lenape companions to accompany the youth on part of the journey to his white family.

Half Arrow

Half Arrow is True Son's favorite Lenape cousin. He accompanies him to Fort Pitt. He later travels to Paxton in search of True Son. Together they return to the Lenape village in Ohio.

Uncle Wilse

Uncle Wilse (Wilson Owens) is True Son's maternal White uncle. He is well known as a member of the Paxton Boys, a group notorious for having massacred a band of friendly Susquehannock Indians, also known as Conestoga or Conestogo, during frontier conflicts after settlers had been attacked by other Indians. True Son hates Wilse for having taken part in the massacre. Wilse believes that True Son has been brainwashed by the Lenape and can no longer be trusted as a white man.

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