Native American Legends
Legend of the Violet
An Iroquois Legend
Many Moons before the white man came to the land of the Red Indian,
there lived a young warrior who was the pride of his tribe; for
dangerous deeds had he accomplished for the good of his people.
He had slain the Great Heron that destroyed their children, and
he had brought back from the Mountain of the Witches the healing
roots that cured the plague.
Once when he led a band of warriors against another tribe, he saw
in the lodge of one of his enemies a maiden so gentle and lovely
that he longed to have her for his wigwam. But because of the strife
between the two tribes, he could not buy her with quills of the
So after he had returned victorious with his warriors to his own
village, he often thought of the maiden, and how, unless he could
light his wigwam with the brightness of her eyes, he would no longer
lead out his young men to battle.
At last he went forth alone, and hid in the woods near the village
of his enemies. There he watched patiently for the maiden whose
eyes had softened his heart.
He sang her praises so often that the little birds took up his
song and carried it in their flight, over valley and meadow. The
Bear, the Fox, and the Beaver heard him murmur her name in his sleep,
and thought that a bright new flower had been born in the woodland.
With the calls of the song-birds, he wooed the maiden from her
lodge, and lifting her, bore her away toward the hunting-grounds
of his people.
But, alas! a suitor of the maiden saw her carried swiftly off upon
the shoulder of the dreaded warrior. He dared not follow, but fled
to the village and gave the alarm. The braves left him-a coward-in
the hands of the women, and hastened in pursuit of the maiden and
They followed them over mountains and plains all through the dark
night. And as the morning dawned, they found them in the forest.
And when the braves saw the maiden, they were filled with anger,
for she had plaited her hair about the neck of the young man, to
show that she was a willing captive and had given him her heart.
Then her people, enraged at their foe for his daring, and at the
maiden because she had deserted her tribe, killed them both, and
left their bodies lying where they fell.
And from this spot in the forest sprang up the first Blue Violets.
And the winds and the birds carried the seeds of the flowers and
scattered them over all the Earth. So they did, that in the Springtime
youths and maidens might pluck the little blue flower that breathes
of constant love.
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