Caussey's Corner

Caussey’s Corner: Patches of Blue, a Bluebonnet Legend

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Every year, forked in between spring passing and summer presenting, the comely bluebonnet presents herself for unselfish devotion to the beauty of the Texas landscape.

The bluebonnets carry the wind on the azure heads of majesty, as they bob and weave to the natural rhythm generated by the meadows filled with invading aromas. She waves sequential by gentle warming winds with magnificence strained from the Almighty’s smile, radiant bluebonnets move in motion patterns after direction of the breeze.

For centuries the noble bluebonnets have nodded and waved as time and events have marched along. Spanish Conquistadors, led by Indian guides, accompanied by men-of- the-cloth, passed them by riding horse and cart, trod upon by hoof and foot. Around campfires that burned against a canopy of black, their stately fragrance filled the night air, and helped to purge the nightmares of sleeping men.

The ghosts of Cortez and Coronado had long vanished when the sounds of mountain men from Tennessee, led by Crocket, stepped into the hill country and saw for the first time the ambrosia plants called bluebonnets. Sam Houston, as he sat under a giant oak nursing an injured leg at San Jacinto, couldn’t help but feel soothed as the purple floral helped celebrate the passage of time that would found a great nation and an even greater state.

Caussey's Corner: Patches of Blue, a Bluebonnet Legend

Photo: envato elements

There are many legends of the bluebonnets and how they arrived in Texas. But I want to tell you a story that appeared to me years ago when I was a young college student. I was walking in a field. Feeling a little tired, I sat down near an old rotted log perched near a small stream that was fed by a branch of the Brazos River. Across the stream was a meadow filled with bluebonnets. I fell asleep and had a dream. This is that dream.

Millenniums ago, when the land was fresh and man was new, there were only two tribes of people. There were the green people and the violet people. Each group hated the other and warred for centuries between themselves.

The green people were hunters. Their chief had a son named Carnosus. He was a strong and often violent young man. He hated the violet people with all his soul. He longed to kill all of them if he could, and drive the rest to the northlands. He took great joy in kidnapping violet people and bringing them back to his village for torture and sacrifice.

To the west of the green people lived the violet people. They were farmers and herdsmen. They would fight, but only if provoked. They grew corn and wove beautiful blankets from the hair of their sheep and goats. The Princess of the violet people was a beautiful maiden named Lupinus. Each day she took her father’s sheep into the mountains to graze the sweet green grass. She sang them songs and played her flute. Her voice was so heavenly that the sheep never strayed and the big cats and wolves never attacked out of respect for her inner beauty.

Caussey's Corner: Patches of Blue, a Bluebonnet Legend

Photo: envato elements

One day while leading a scouting party, Carnosus heard the music from Lupinus’ flute. He saw her sitting on a rock playing. At her feet sat a wolf and a mountain lion as the sheep were grazing.

Filled with a great rage, Carnosus raced his pony toward Lupinus, scooped her up and retreated back to his village. He arrived in front of his father’s house and threw Lupinus to the ground. His angry pony pawed the ground a few inches from Lupinus’ head.

“Come, Father,” Carnosus said. “I have captured the enemies’ daughter and now we will put her to death.”

Lupinus sat up and looked into the eyes of the chief and heard the angry voices of the green people. Frightened, she began to sing. Her voice settled into nearby trees and sought passage onto high, lofty clouds. So beautiful was her voice that babies stopped their crying and animals stood completely still. Even Carnosus’ horse turned to stone, dropping his head in pittance. The quieting of the crowd and the tears in his father’s eyes enraged Carnosus all the more. He grabbed Lupinus by the hair, dragging her up the stairs to the high altar that stood at the top of the temple. With a vicious cry, he plunged his knife into the heart of Lupinus.

From around the knife wound Lupinus’ blood began to flow. Her blood eventually would flow into great rivers, from the altar onto the ground and down the temple steps. The flow continued through the village, across a bridge, disappearing into a nearby meadow. The people feared to move. The land was hushed. The blood was blue.

Caussey's Corner: Patches of Blue, a Bluebonnet Legend

Photo: envato elements

Carnosus couldn’t sleep that night. His heart was beginning to soften. He had nightmares, and his mind wouldn’t release him from the memory of Lupinus’ voice.

The next morning the village was filled with excited noise. For as far as the eye could see the land around the village was populated with the most beautiful of blue flowers.

Carnosus ran to the top of the temple and witnessed that the land had succumbed to a garden of beautiful blue flowers. He was overcome with shame and remorse. “Please forgive me Great Spirit,” he prayed. “Allow me to see Lupinus again to remind her of my love for her and to ask forgiveness for what I have done.”

Suddenly a wind came and lifted Carnosus up and carried him over the field of blue flowers where he disappeared, as though he had become the wind.

Each year with the arrival of the bluebonnets, you might well remember the legend. The legend of the maiden who became a beautiful flower and the man who the Great Spirit made into the gentle breeze that always accompanies the maiden. Watch him caress her and see how she replies in a friendly loving nod. Also remember the name of this beautiful flower we call the bluebonnet. But a name the ancients know as Lupinus subcarnosus.

This legend started with me. I thought it made an interesting story. There is a poem that goes with this column, but space would not permit. I wrote the poem recently and will send it or email it to you. Please contact me via email or letter to this newspaper.

Durhl Caussey writes for newspapers across America. He may be reached at this outlet or [email protected]