The Water Lily by Florence Virginia Farmer

The Water Lily by Florence Virginia Farmer

Long, long ago there was a time when the world was filled with happy people.

There was no war, and there was plenty of game in the forests. No one was in want; sickness was unknown; and the beasts of the field were tame and obeyed man.

There was no winter with its cold, icy blasts. The year was one long spring. Every tree and bush yielded fruit, and the earth was covered with flowers. The air was filled with the sweet music of song birds that flew gayly from branch to branch, fearing no one, for there was no one to harm them.

At that time the Indians were the only people in America. Living as the great mother wished them to live, they were happy and strong.

Every night the Indians met on the wide green prairie to watch the heavens. They loved the stars and believed them to be the homes of those whom the Great Spirit had taken from the earth.

One night they saw a star which shone brighter than all the others. It was just over a mountain peak in the far south.

They watched this star for many nights. Each night it seemed to come nearer, and after a while they found that it was over some tall trees, only a short distance away.

A number of warriors were sent to find out what the strange star might be.

They reported that it was like a big bird on the top of the tree.

Then the Indians became alarmed, for they feared that it might be some evil thing that had come to vex them.

One moon passed and they had not yet learned the meaning of the strange star.

Then a young warrior had a dream. In the dream a beautiful maiden seemed to stand at his side and talk to him.

"Young brave," she said, "yours is a lovely world. I like the birds and flowers, the lakes and rivers, and the mountains clothed in green. I have left my sisters in yonder world and have come to live among you. Ask your great and wise men where I shall dwell that I may see your people always. Ask them what form I shall take to be loved by all."

The young man awoke. On stepping out of his wigwam, he saw the bright star in its usual place on the tree top.

He went to the older warriors and told them of his dream.

They thought that the maiden who had talked with him was the star that had been seen in the south, and that, since she loved the Indians, she would dwell on the earth with them.

The next night five young braves were sent with a peace pipe to welcome the beautiful maiden to the earth.

As they went back to the village, the strange star followed them and hovered over their homes until daybreak.

Again the maiden came to the young warrior in a dream.

Again she asked where she should dwell and what form she should take to be loved by the Indians.

Many places were spoken of. Some of the warriors thought that she might live in the top of a big tree; some said that she might take the form of a beautiful flower.

At last she was told to choose a place and form for herself.

At first she chose to live in the heart of a'white rose on the mountain side, but there she could not be seen by all.

Then she went to the wide green prairie to dwell. There she feared the hoofs of the buffaloes.

Next she tried the rocky cliffs, but there the children, whom she loved, could not see her.

"I know where I will dwell," she said at last; "I will dwell where I can see the gliding canoes of the people I love best. Children shall be my playmates all day."

With these words she alighted on the quiet waters of a lake, where she saw herself reflected as in a mirror.

The next morning the Indians found hundreds of white flowers floating on the surface of the lake.

They taught their children to handle these water lilies gently, so that they might be happy and stay on the earth forever.1