Yellow Bird: Monarch butterfly a special creature

"The Monarch isn't all biology, either. It's the subject of many American Indian stories. My son-in-law, who is Muskogee (Creek) from Oklahoma, told their story of how the Monarch came to be. A scaly monster, he said, who had hands shaped like daggers, came to one of their villages and began to kill. The spiritual men went to the Creator for help. They were told to put four women who are in their moon - in their time of the month - in front of the monster. He will kill three of them, the men were told, and the fourth will be able to find his vulnerable spot and kill him.

Women, the Creator said, are powerful during that time of month.

And so, the men returned to the village and set up their course of action. When the monster returned, they did as they were told. The three women were killed, but not before they loosened a scale on the monster's body. The fourth woman drove a dagger into the spot.

The monster exploded, the legend goes. And as the pieces of the monster floated to Earth, they turned into butterflies - gentle and beautiful; the monster reborn.

A common myth about butterflies is that they are the souls of the dead - children, some say, or lost souls. These legends extend across cultures from Indian people to other nations.

One American Indian legend says that when the Creator made the butterflies, they not only were beautiful but also could sing. The birds were jealous and accused the Creator of favoritism, so he took the song from the butterfly and left it for the birds only. "

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: A Monarch of mystery, beauty and grace (The Grand Forks Herald 6/13)

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