Mirror, mirror on my wall
Who’s the silliest blogger of all?
Why me, of course.
Thank Goodness, It’s Fairy Tale Friday.
So glad you are here.
We are talking fairy tales again today, more accurately legends. As a librarian, I have classified fairy tales, tall tales, fables and legends under the broad canopy of folktales. And they are all shelved in the same nonfiction area of the libraries where I have worked. The 398.2 section. Each type of folktale has its own qualities that set it aside from the others but they all share some similarities.
So how do you know if the folktale you are reading is a legend?
Check out the Prezi below.
The legend of the bluebonnet is well-known story among fourth graders in Texas who study our state’s history, official symbols, geography, and culture in-depth for the first time in social studies.
The Legend of the Bluebonnet as retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola is a particular favorite. Tomie dePaola is a highly-regarded children’s author-illustrator who has breathed renewed life into several folktales. You can learn more about him here. I was reminded of this legend when the Style Me Bloggers and I shared posts on what inspires us. The sacrifice of the main character in this legend is inspirational to me. I debated about sharing this tale with you then but decided to save it for a TGIFTF post.
You can read more about what (else) inspires me here.
This legend is about the state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet, which grows as wildflowers, now protected by law, across the hill country in the central and eastern part of the state. But more importantly, it is the story of the love of a little girl for her people.
When the Comanche lived in what is now Texas, there was a drought that brought great famine to these native people. The leaders asked the Great Spirits for a sign as to what they should do so that the rains would return. Ceremonial dancers danced and sang in hopes of invoking the powers of the gods.
In time, the famine took the lives of many of the youngest and most elderly members of the tribe. She-Who-Is-Along was one of the few children remaining. She had lost her mother, father and grandparents to the famine, and sat alone with only her handmade warrior doll watching the dancers. The Comanche awaited the return of their shaman from the hill top where he had gone to receive direction from the Great Spirits.
Upon his return, the wise man explained that the spirits were punishing the people with drought and famine for the selfish ways they had abused and taken from the Earth. He explained that the Comanche had to surrender their most prized possession for a burnt offering. The ashes from the offering were to be sprinkled into the winds at the four points of the Earth. Once done, the drought would end and the land would again be plentiful.
However, none of the adults felt that their most valued possession was the object needed for the burnt offering. Only She-Who-Is-Alone was willing to offer the only thing she had in the world as a sacrifice to the gods.
She crept off from the village one evening, built a small fire and cast the doll her mother had made, her father had adorned with blue feathers, into the blaze.
Once the flames died and the ashes were cool, she scattered them to the North, South, East and West.
Then fell asleep.
Her selfless actions were rewarded. She saved her people but I don’t want to spoil the end of the story. So, please, run to your local library, find this book and read this beautiful legend for yourself. I promise it will leave you inspired and your heart full.
We can take so much away from this legend. The importance of community, working together for the common good. I am reminded of the African proverb that says it takes a village to raise a child and perhaps conversely, it takes a child to save a village. The importance of caring for our Earth, for giving back. The Legend of the Bluebonnet is a wonderful spring board for rich conversation and cross-curriculum learning.
I always like to provide you with some lesson ideas or activities you can use to enhance the stories I share. There is a wealth of material available on the Internet based on this legend, this version as well as other versions of this tale. One of the lesson plans I think is especially good is available through ReadWorks.org.
Please click here to check it out.
SMART Exchange has created a differentiated learning experience based on using a SMART Board technology. It looks to me like much of this resource can be used with a SMART Board, too.
Take a look here.
When I was still working, I always incorporated art into my library lessons. Several years, I worked with a small group of a children in an after school program called CAPs: Children Are People (Too) learn more here. The children recommended for CAPs had very sad home lives, family struggles that often spilled into their lives at school. We would make worry dolls similar to those made in Guatemala. The children would take their dolls home to use as sounding boards for their troubles, then sleep with the little dolls under their pillows in hopes of relieving their worries.
Pinterest offers a host of different pins with pictures and directions for making worry dolls. I wish I had a picture of the dolls we made but I don’t think I do. They were very similar to the dolls featured on Gretchen Miller’s blog, Creativity in Motion. There are step-by-step pictures for making the dolls and a little history behind them.
Please click here.
These little dolls remind me of the precious doll that She-Who-Is-Alone loved enough to sacrifice. Many of the children I have worked with have had such difficulties in their lives that no child should have to worry about. Sometimes a hug and a little worry doll can go a long way to restoring their hope.
Before I leave you for today, I want to share a couple of my personal photographs of some of the bluebonnets growing alongside the highway between Houston and Dallas. My sister and I were heading to the Texas Library Association Annual Conference when we drove past this field of flowers. We had to stop. Both of us took dozens of pictures of the beautiful blue blooms. And then I caught her in a photo taking a picture of me as I was taking a picture of her.
When I was in kindergarten, I colored a flower blue. Mrs. Feldman, my teacher, scolded me and explained that there are no blue flowers. Apparently, Mrs. Feldman had never been to Texas.
Hugs and kisses,