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A Tragic Legend Of The
There is a story that tells how this
wildflower came to be--a tale from the Comanche Nation that
once called this land home. The Comanche Nation was proud and
strong. The warriors were expert horsemen who displayed great
skill and courage. In American Indian sign language their identifying
sign was the twisting path of the serpent moving in a reverse
Legends were told by the Comanche
during the long winter nights around the lodge fires, with children
watching in awe as elders used pantomime and speech inflection
to emphasize a significant point. Traditional tales were far
more than mere entertainment or myth, however. Each story was
carefully crafted to convey important teachings. Some of these
stories are still told. They are often fun to hear, but within
each tale are precious kernels of wisdom.
The tale that follows explains how
this beautiful flower was gifted to the Comanche, yet it is
also a fine tribute to a people who knew the meaning of self-sacrifice
and survival. It is my own re-telling of a legend about a little
girl, She-Who-Is-Alone, whose heart is as big as Texas and whose
spirit is as beautiful as the bluebonnet.
Long ago, the elders say, the Comanche
people were as many as the grasses on the prairie. Each spring
the Comanche would dance, sing and pray to the Great Spirit
so the life-giving rain would come. But there came a time when
the rains stopped and a great drought brought famine and death
to the people. For three days the Comanche danced, the drums
sounded, and the people sent their voices to the Great Spirit:
"Great Spirit, the life-giving rains have not come to your
people. The land is scorched, and your people are dying from
There was a great drought and famine
and pestilence. The dancers danced to the sound of the drums
and prayed for rain. They watched and waited for the healing
rains, and danced again. No rains came.
Among the children of the tribe there
was a small girl named She-Who-Is-Alone. She watched the dancers
and held her warrior doll. Her doll wore beaded leggings and
a headdress of brillant blue feathers from the bird who cries
"Jay-Jay". She loved this doll very much. Her doll
was the only thing she had left from the happy days before the
great famine took her parents and grandparents from her.
As She-Who-is-Alone sat and held
her doll, the Shaman, or Wise Man, came to speak to the people.
He told them that the Great Spirits were unhappy. He said that
the people had been selfish, taking everything from the earth
giving nothing in return. He said that the people must make
a sacrifice and must make a burnt offering of their most prized
possession. The Shaman said the ashes of this offering should
be scattered to the home of the Four Winds-North, South, East
and West. When this sacrifice was made the drought would cease.
Life would be restored to the land.
The people talked among themselves.
The warriors were sure it was not their bow that the Great Spirits
wanted. The women knew that this was not their special blanket.
She-Who-Is-Alone looked at her doll,
her most valued possession. She knew what the Great Spirits
wanted and knew what she must do.
While everyone slept she took her
warrior doll and one stick that burned from the teepee fire
and made her way to the hill where the Shaman had spoken -"Oh
Great Spirits," she called out, "here is my warrior
doll the only thing I have left from happy days with my family.
It is my most valued possession. Please accept it."
Then she made a fire and thrust her
precious doll into it. When the flames died down she scooped
up a handful of ashes and scattered them to the Four winds-North,
South, East and West. Then, her cheeks wet with tears, she lay
down and fell asleep.
The first light of morning woke her
and she looked out over the hills. Stretching from all sides
where the ashes had fallen, the ground was covered with flowers,
beautiful blue flowers, as blue as the feathers in the hair
of her beloved doll.
Now every spring the Great Spirits
remember the sacrifice of a very small girl and fill the hills
and valleys of the land now called Texas with beautiful blue
flowers. And this is so to this very day.
THE LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET
The Texas fields are covered,
With a blanket of deep blue.
But for a little Indian girl,
This would not be true.
Texas land was buried and dry.
Rains just would not come.
Indians danced and prayed for rain,
And bent upon their drums.
The chief made a proclamation.
He appealed to one and all.
A prized possession must be sacrificed
Before the rains would fall.
The Indian camp was silent,
While each person searched his heart.
But when it came to sacrifice,
With possessions they would not part.
Suddenly a little girl steeped forth,
Holding her blue clad doll.
She placed in the roaring fire
and rain drops began to fall.
The rains brought forth the grass,
Among its blades,
flowers of blue to be the sign for all the time
Of a love so pure and true.
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