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Native American Legends

The legend of Trillium

An Ojibwa Legend

Some years ago, the Government of the Province of Ontario selected for its Provincial Official Flower, a beautiful but delicate white flower named for its lovely pink tinged, unusual three petals, the Trillium. The white blossom, backed by three small green leaves in the shape of a star, cannot be picked without also removing the star-like leaves, which, if this happens, caused the death of the entire plant.

So rare is a three-petalled flower that there must have been some very special reason for its creation, and there was Almost 400 years ago, one of the Jesuit Fathers sent over to Canada by the King of France to teach Christianity to the Indians, learned from some of his pupils that there were many more Indians to the West.

In his overwhelming desire to bring the Word of God to as many as possible, he decided to explore this unknown land and, crossing the Ottawa River in a small Indian canoe, entered into what we now know as Ontario.

To his dismay, however, he found that the Indians he encountered red here could not understand a word of the language that he had learned from their brothers in the East.

Desperate to find a way in which to communicate with them, he searched everywhere for a solution and then one duly he noticed that growing all around in the forest, were many pretty white flowers, their four petals forming the shape of a cross. These he thought, he would use to teach the Indians how Christ was crucified. With, the help of the little flowers he was finally able to explain to them how Jesus had died for them but like most Indians, who would never harm a friend, they only became very sad with the story and stayed away from him.

Realizing this, he plucked one of the petals from the flowers and used the remaining three to teach them about The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit and the little star, shaped green leaves behind the flower helped him to explain the Miracle of Christ's birth. When he found what a success he had achieved, he prayed that some sign would be sent to remind the Indians of his teachings.

To his great delight and amazement, the little flowers that he had used had only three petals when they bloomed the following year and since that time, have never changed!

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