Join Date: Sep 2006
I like mystery novels, and recently picked out "Queen of the Night" by J.A. Nance. Imagine my surprise to read the prologue about my favorite flower!
"The Legend of Old White-Haired Woman It is said that long ago a young woman from the Desert People fell in love with a young Hiakim, a Yaqui, and went to live with his family far to the south. The mother of the girl, Old White-Haired Woman, loved her daughter very much and missed her. Every evening she would go out to the foothills and call to her daughter’s spirit, and every night there was an answer. One night, though, she heard nothing.
That night she went to her husband and said, “My daughter needs me. I must go to her.”
Her husband, who was also old and lame besides, shook his head. “You are a bent old woman, and the Hiakim live far from here. How will you find your way?”
“The Little People will help me,” she said. So the next morning she got up and called to Ali Chu Chum O’othham, the Little People, in their own language, for Old White-Haired Woman still remembered how to speak to them. As soon as they heard her call, the animals came right away.
“What do you want, Old Mother?” the Little People asked.
“My daughter’s spirit is calling me from far away in the land of the Hiakim. I must go to her, but I am old and do not know the way.”
“We will help you, Old Mother. We will help you go to your daughter.”
And so the birds brought Old White-Haired Woman seeds and grain to eat along the way. The bees brought her honey, and Coyote, who had once been in the land of the Hiakim, guided her footsteps. After many, many days, they reached the village where Old White-Haired Woman’s daughter lived with her husband and her baby, but the bent old woman found that her daughter was very sick.
“Mother,” the girl told Old White-Haired Woman, “my husband’s people are waiting for me to die so they can take my baby off into the mountains and teach him to be a warrior. I want you to take him back home to the Tohono O’othham,* so he can grow up to be kind and gentle. You must leave tonight. Tomorrow will be too late.”
Old White-Haired Woman was tired and wanted to rest, but she knew her daughter was right. Late that day, she loaded the baby into her daughter’s burden basket and went through the village, this way and that, so people would think she was gathering wood. Then, when she was out of sight, she started back north.
Once more, the Little People came to help her, but the next morning she could hear that a band of Hiakim warriors were following her trail. When they were almost upon her, she called out to I’itoi** for help. He sent a huge flock of shashani, blackbirds, who flew around and around the Yaqui warriors’ eyes until they could see nothing. Meanwhile, I’itoi led Old White-Haired Woman and her grandson into a wash that became a canyon. In this way, they went north toward the land of the Tohono O’othham.
But Old White-Haired Woman was very tired after her long journey. Finally, one day, she could go no farther. “I must stop here,” she said. So I’itoi took the boy the rest of the way home. When he came back, he found that the old woman’s feet had grown underground and all that was sticking up were two sticks of arms.
“You are a good grandmother,” I’itoi said. “You may stay here and rest forever, but once a year, you will be the most beautiful flower on the earth.” He touched the sticks. Wherever he put his fingers, beautiful white flowers grew. “Once each year,” I’itoi said, “during the night, Wind Man will be heavy with your perfume, but when the sun comes up in the morning, you will be gone.”
And that, nawoj (my friend), is the story of Old White-Haired Woman and the beautiful flower that the Mil-gahn call the night-blooming cereus. The Desert People call it kok’oi ‘uw, which means ghost smell, or ho’ok-wah’o, which means witch’s tongs."
RRMS, diagnosed '00
Everything will be alright in the end. If it's not alright, it's not yet the end.