The Native American
Indian Butterfly Legend
If anyone desires a wish to come true they must
capture a butterfly and whisper their wish to it.
a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can
not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit
who hears and sees all.
In gratitude for giving
the beautiful butterfly its freedom,
the Great Spirit always grants the wish.
to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly
the wish will be taken to the heavens and be
Another Version of the American Indian
As a gift to His human children, the Great Spirit
created butterflies. He took black from the maiden's
hair, yellow from the warm summer sun, and blues
from the lake and sky. Once he gathered the most
beautiful of colors, He made them into butterflies.
you want a special wish to come true, capture
a butterfly and whisper your heart's desire
to it. Since butterflies make no sound, they
cannot tell the wish to anyone but Him. Being
so colorful, the butterflies will easily be
seen and the heart's prayers quickly answered.
By making a wish and releasing
the butterfly, it will be taken on the wings
of love to the heavens and granted.
your wish for their eternal love and bliss, then
carefully release and free the beautiful
The Shoshone "Ladies Fancy Shawl
Many, many years ago when the Earth was still
quite new, there was a beautiful butterfly who
lost her mate in battle. To show her grief, she
took off her beautiful wings and wrapped herself
in a drab cocoon. In her sadness, she could not
eat and she could not sleep and her relatives
kept coming to her lodge to see if she was okay.
course she wasn't, but she didn't want to be
a burden on her people so she packed up her wings
and her medicine bundle and took off on a long
journey. She wandered about for many days and
months, until finally she had gone all around
On her journey
she kept her eyes downcast and stepped on each
stone she came to as she crossed fields and creeks
and streams. Finally, one day as she was looking
down, she happened to notice the stone beneath
her feet, and it was so beautiful that it healed
She then cast aside her cocoon, shook
the dust from her wings, and donned them once
more. She was so happy she began to dance to
give thanks for another chance to begin her life
anew. Then she went home and told The People
about her long journey and how it had healed
To this day,The People dance this dance
as an expression of renewal, and to give thanks
for new seasons, new life, and new beginnings.
shawl in the Fancy Shawl Dance represents the
butterfly's wings, the fancy steps and twirls
represent the butterfly's style of flight. This
is another reason you will sometimes hear the
Fancy Shawl Competition Dance referred to as " the
The Papago American Indian Butterfly
One day the Creator was resting, sitting, watching
some children playing in a village. The children
laughed and sang, yet as he watched them, the
Creator's heart was sad. He was thinking: "These
children will grow old. Their skin will become
wrinkled. Their hair will turn gray. Their teeth
will fall out. The young hunters arm will fail.
The lovely young girls will grow ugly and fat.
The playful puppies will become blind, mangy
dogs. And those wonderful flowers - yellow, red,
blue, and purple - will fade. The leaves from
the trees will fall and dry up. Already they
are turning yellow." Thus the Creator grew
sadder and sadder. It was in the Fall, and the
thought of the coming winter, with its cold and
lack of game and green things, made his heart
Yet it was still warm and the sun was shining.
The Creator watched the play of sunlight and
shadow on the ground, the yellow leaves being
carried here and there by the wind. He saw the
blueness of the sky, the whiteness of some cornmeal
ground by the women. Suddenly he smiled. "All
those colors, they ought to be preserved. I'll
make something to gladden my heart, something
for these children to look at and enjoy."
The Creator took out his bag and started gathering
things: a spot of sunlight, a handful of blue
from the sky, the whiteness of the cornmeal,
the shadow of playing children, the blackness
of a beautiful girls hair, the yellow of the
falling leaves, the green of the pine needles,
the red , purple, and orange of the flowers around
him. All these he put into his bag. As an afterthought,
he put the songs of the birds in too.
Then he walked over to the grassy spot where
the children were playing. "Children, little
children, this is for you," and he gave
them his bag. "Open it; there is something
nice inside," he told them. The children
opened the bag, and at once hundreds and hundreds
of colored butterflies flew out, dancing around
the children's heads, settling on their hair,
fluttering up again to sip from this or that
flower. And the children, enchanted, said that
they had never seen anything so beautiful. The
butterflies began to sing and the children listened
But then a songbird came flying, settling on
the creators shoulder, scolding him, saying: "It's
not right to give our song to these new, pretty
things. You told us when you made us that every
bird would have his own song. And now you've
passed them all around. Isn't it enough that
you gave them all the colors of the rainbow?"
"You're right," said the Creator. "I
made one song for each bird, and I shouldn't
have taken what belongs to you." So the
Creator took the songs away from the butterflies,
and that's why they are silent. "They are
beautiful even so!" he said.