An Ojibwe Legend
An old man sat in his wigwam door and smoked his pipe while a crowd of children begged him to tell them a story. The children brought him tobacco and sage as an offering, so he told them a story…
“There was once a time when the world was filled with happy people. There was no war and no sickness. Plenty of deer and fish could be found, and everyone was satisfied and well-fed. The animals loved the people because they gave offerings to them before they hunted, and it was always warm. The trees gave a bounty of berries to the people and flowers bloomed everywhere. The earth was a paradise and man lived in tranquility.”
“There were so many people that we roamed at will over the forests, lakes, and prairies…millions of us! We made prayers to the Great Spirit and honored the manitous.”
“One night a star shone strangely bright, out-shining all the rest. At first the people deemed it far away, but then they realized it was just over the tree-tops. A council was called and the wisest men came together to discuss this phenomenon. They decided to go to the star and found that it was hovering just above the trees and they feared that it was an omen of something bad to come: a war or some other disaster that could befall the people. One month passed and nothing bad happened.”
“One night, a warrior had a wonderful dream. In this dream a beautiful woman came and stood by his side. In a beautiful voice she called his name and told him that she loved the beautiful lakes and bounty of his people and their land. She told him she came from the sky above to live among the people. She then requested that the man ask the elders in what form she should appear to them.”
“When he woke the man called for the elders and warriors to join him in the council lodge. He told the story of the strange woman and it was decided that the five bravest and noblest warriors would take a pipe and meet the strange woman.”
“That night, she came to them and took the pipe. She asked them, “Tell where I shall live, and what form now must I assume.” The men could not decide and told her to choose whatever form she wished, as they did not want to lose her wisdom by choosing wrongly.”
“I know where I will live” she said. “I shall live where the canoes of the people travel. Dear children I will kiss your cheeks as you sleep by the lakes and there I will make my home.”
“I will be the water lily!”
“The next morning, a thousand water lilies covered the face of the lake.”
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