23 March 2009

From Uncertainty to Joy pt 1

One of my favorite artists when I was younger, and still today, is Tomie DePaola. He retells and illustrates alot of different legends- Native American, Irish and Italian off the top of my head.

One that suddenly jumped out at me last week was The Legend of the Bluebonnet. The tale focuses on a young Comanche girl, named She-Who-Is-Alone because she was orphaned by a famine in infancy. The famine has continued to the time of the story, when she is 7? 10? years old. The only personal belonging she has is a remnant of the family she never knew-- a warrior doll, which her mother made for her. Her father contributed blue jay feathers to adorn the warrior doll. Anywho, the shaman of the tribe learns from the Great Spirits that the people have become too selfish and in order for the famine and drought to cease, "We must make a burnt offering of the most valued possession among us."
Everyone in the village is confident that their most valued possession is surely not what the Great Spirits desire... and She-Who-Is-Alone knows instantly that it is her precious doll. In the dark of that night, she creeps out to the top of the hill to sacrifice her "...warrior doll. "It is the only thing I have from my family who died in this famine. It is my most valued possession. Please accept it"... She thought of ... her mother and father and all the People-- their suffering, their hunger. And before she could change her mind, she thrust the doll into the fire." She-Who-Is-Alone falls asleep on the hilltop, surely from heartbreak and uncertainty, and then awakens to the sight of flowers, "as blue and the feathers in the hair of the doll."