The Story of Prairie Rose

This is a true story. A very long time past, there was only the Earth and the Wind Demon. The Wind Demon raged alone across the prairie. It tore apart anything soft that dare appear. "This is my kingdom!" it said. The Earth was sad, for it had great beauty in its heart. But Wind Demon would not set it free.



One day a brave tree took pity on the Earth. "My mother, it brings me great sadness to see you so sad. I will use my strong roots to go to the surface and make peace with the Wind Demon." And to the surface the brave tree went.



"Great Wind Demon, I must tell you of the sadness of our mother!" the tree said. But the demon's ears were closed. His rage was uncontained. "This is my kingdom!" he fumed, "Go away!" He tore that tree into bits and scattered it across the dirt. Not even the tree's great roots were strong enough to withstand the demon's anger. Others stood up to try where the tree failed. The river who is as formless as the wind. The hawk who is as fast. The buffalo whose stubborn horns might stop it in its tracks. All fell into dust.



The Earth's heart sunk. The demon was just too powerful. She mourned the loss of her children, wondering if the beauty in her heart would ever be set free.

Then one day, a delicate little flower stood up. "Mother, I am Prairie Rose. I am not as strong as the tree, as formless as the river, fast as the hawk, or stubborn as the buffalo, but I wish to try," the little flower said. "Oh, brave child, I fear it is no use," the Earth said.



"Mother, I too have beauty in my heart. I do not wish to fight the demon, but a life of gray is no life at all. I must go to the surface and bloom." The Earth then smelled the sweetness of Prairie Rose, and for a moment its sad heart remembered what joy felt like. Perhaps this little flower could unlock the demon's heart after all. "Oh, my brave child. You may go."



So Prairie Rose sprouted to the surface. The Wind Demon saw her and raced toward her.



"Go away!" he growled. And just as he approached, she opened her petals, blooming into a beautiful pink flower. Her sweet scent drifted into the wind's nose. The demon stopped. "What is that sweet smell?" he asked.



He looked down at the delicate pink flower. "It is I," said Prairie Rose. “I suppose now you will shred me into dust." The Wind Demon gritted his teeth. “Do you not fear me, little thing?" The wind asked. “I do," said the flower. "But I am not meant for life under the dirt."

“Very well, I will destroy you now." But he could not. He had never smelled something so sweet, seen something so beautiful. He feared he might never smell again if he destroyed it.



And do you know what happened next? He let that little flower stay. She asked him to slow down when he passed, and he did. He liked to stop to smell her anyway. That sweet little flower tamed the Wind Demon's wild heart. And he thought of the tree, the river, the hawk, the buffalo, and all the soft things he had destroyed in his anger. He understood then that they too were beautiful. He set the Earth free. And all of her children ventured up onto the surface to join Prairie Rose.



To this day, Wind Demon still loses his temper sometimes, raging across the Earth. But never for too long. And anyone wearing the color of prairie rose will always be safe from the wind.



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(from the Sioux)



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