Native American Legends
Why the flowers grow
A Choctaw Legend
One day little Josephine went with her Aunt Selee to look at her
grandmother's flower garden. Josephine thought her aunt would like
some of the flowers so she started picking some.
When her aunt saw Josephine, she called, "Sutapa, sutapa!
(You hurt; quit)." Then she began to cry.
Josephine was distressed and puzzled. She ran into the house to
her grandmother. "Grandmother," she said, almost in tears,
"why is Aunt Selee crying? I did not touch her but she called
to me, "You hurt, quit!"
"I understand," replied her grandmother as she saw the
flowers in Josephine's hand.
"Would you like to have these flowers, Grandmother?"
Josephine asked when she saw her looking at them. "I broke
them for Aunt Selee but I don't think she would want them now."
"No, Josephine, she wouldn't. The Indians love the wild and
the garden flowers but they never pick them."
"But, Grandmother, they are so pretty!"
"You do not understand, child. Let's sit here and I'll tell
you why." Long ago when the world was young, there was in the
heavens a constellation where shone the brightest star in all the
sky. This beautiful star, Bright Eyes, was happy because Earth people
loved her beauty. After many years a star that made Bright Eyes
dim came into the sky. This made her sad because people could not
see her face. She called to her sisters, "Come, sisters, let
us go down to Earth where we can live with the Earth people and
make them happy. The new star has hidden my light and the sky does
not need us any longer."
"On their way to Earth, Bright Eyes and her sisters stopped
on Mount Joy where lived Uncta, the great bronze spider, spinner
of finest webs. "We must learn to spin if Uncta will teach
us," said Bright Eyes. He was proud of his spinning and weaving
and was glad to teach the maidens. He set them to work and soon
they were able to spin beautiful threads and weave them into fine
cloth. "You and your sisters have done well," Uncta told
"How did they get to Earth?" asked Josephine.
"Bright Eyes said to Uncta one day, "Will you help us
get to Earth? We want to teach the people how to spin and weave."
He wove a basket and fastened it to a strong thread to lower them
"When they touched the Earth, they became the Little Folk.
They loved the forests; and there they lived, working, dancing and
playing. Earth people learned quickly to spin and weave. Then the
Little Folk taught them how to make bright colors and use them in
weaving their rugs and blankets. Earth people, Indians, loved these
Little Folk who helped them and Bright Eyes was happy again.
"Bright Eyes and her sisters assisted the Indians when they
were sick. They went into the forests to pray to Great Spirit to
protect the Indians. They told the people to pray to Great Spirit
"All of the prayers went up to Sandlephone who sat on a great
ladder high in the sky. As soon as the prayers had come into his
hands, they were changed into lovely flowers. He closed the blossoms
and dropped the seeds upon the Earth while the perfume was carried
on into the heavens where Great Spirit was.
"The Little Folk cared for the seeds as they fell and from
them sprang the wild flowers. They watched and tended the flowers.
The Indians loved them but never hurt them. They called the flowers
"Tokens of Love from Great Spirit."
"Oh," said Josephine, "after this I shall not break
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