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Oban's Myths & Legends

How Butterflies Came To Be (continued)
Native American - Papago (Tohono O'odham) Story
retold by Sanjit

Then Elder Brother called to the children. “Come here. I have something for you.” Several of the children ran over and he held out his large bag to them. “Take this and open it,” he said. “There’s a surprise in there for you all.”

Butterflies flew out of the bagThe children took the bag and opened it.

Hundreds of coloured butterflies fluttered out. They flew up around the children’s heads, landing on their hair and arms.

The children laughed with joy. The women stopped grinding corn and came over and men joined their families from the fields.

Hundreds of butterflies against the blue skyEveryone watched the butterflies and stretched out their hands for them to land on. They had never seen such beautiful colours.

And then the butterflies began to sing as they flew around.

The people were very happy, but the birds were not.

The birds were not happyOne bird perched on Elder Brother’s shoulder and tapped him with its beak.

“You’ve given our songs to these new creatures and we don’t think that’s fair. When we were made, we were given a song each – our own song. Now you’ve given all our songs away. And to creatures that already have more beautiful colours than we do.”

“You’re right,” said Elder Brother. "The songs belonged to you and I shouldn’t have given them away. I’m sorry.” He reached out to the butterflies, took away the songs gently and gave them back to the birds. This made the birds happy again.

Colours of butterflies are a gift of beautyThis is how butterflies came to be, and why they are silent.

Their colours are a gift of beauty for everyone to share, whenever they appear.

Just as Elder Brother wanted.


The End

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