The Comanche Legend of the Bluebonnet

The Bluebonnets of Ennis. Photography: J Gerald Crawford. You can see more of his photographic art on Caleb and Linda Pirtle.
The Bluebonnets of Ennis. Photography: J Gerald Crawford. You can see more of his photographic art on Caleb and Linda Pirtle.

THE LEGEND IS as beautiful as the flower.

The Comanches, so the old storytellers said, were suffering through the chills of a harsh winter.

The winds cut across the prairie like a reaper of ice.

The days were hard.

The nights were unforgiving.

The Comanches could see the coming of death.

It descended from a cold, gray sky.

It came with the snows.

It turned the fields into a burying ground.

Those who lived were simply those who refused to die.

The Tribal Chieftain received word from the Great Spirit that his clansmen would endure the winter if their most valued possessions were submitted as burnt offerings and the ashes scattered by the four winds.

A little Indian princess heard the words as they were spoken to a grieving council.

Night came.

The tribe slept.

And she climbed onto a hillside and sacrificed her beautiful doll, adorned with a headdress made from the feathers of a bluejay.

When the light of dawn crept above the hills, the snows were gone, and there were clusters of flowers growing where the ashes had fallen, where nothing had grown before.

Their blooms were the unmistakable shade of the bluejay.

Sometimes in the early days of Texas, they were referred to as wolf flowers or buffalo clover.

But pioneers began calling them bluebonnets because they bore a striking resemblance to the sunbonnets that women wore in the Texas sun.

And nowhere do great stands of bluebonnets grow in more stunning profusion than in the fields around Ennis.

I know.

For so long, Ennis was my home.

Perhaps it always will be.

 

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