In the footsteps of her Mother,
Walked the pretty Indian Daughter,
Wise for one her age,
With wisdom far beyond her.
Tall she was and fair of form,
Slender, lissome, agile,
Graceful as a butterfly,
Lovely as an angel
Like the cattails at the creek,
And the tall, thin reeds that swayed,
Willowy, the maiden was,
So, ‘Willow’ was her name.
As if propelled by wind or breeze,
She fairly floated when she walked,
Serene, the look upon her face,
And hushed and quiet was her talk.
A child of the forest,
A friend of tree and shrub,
Sister of the birds and beasts,
All of whom she loved.
Birds perched on Willow’s shoulder,
Chipmunks nibbled from her hand,
Ferocious bears would let her pass,
And wolves stood back without command.
All God’s creatures came to love her,
And she returned their valued trust,
Held each one in high esteem,
None had reason for mistrust.
Not fair game for youthful Braves.
More wisdom in her little finger,
Than most men could claim at any age.
From a distance, Braves admired her,
But very few approached,
Fearful of her Big Chief Father,
And fearful, too, they could not cope.
Through the years, the lovely Willow
Watched other maidens in her tribe,
Saw them wed and bear their babies,
Felt pangs she could not hide.
Her Mother said, “Be patient, child,
One day your Brave will come,
He must be special, as you are,
Fleet of foot and soft of tongue.”
“But, more than that,” her Father said,
“He must be a worthy hunter, too,
And shoot his arrows, straight and strong,
To bring his bounty home to you.”
She knew her Father’s words were right,
But Willow was disturbed and wept,
The thought of slaying forest friends,
No way could she accept.
Satisfied with grains and nuts,
And fruits from bearing trees,
Well fed by healthful roots and plants,
Willow was content with these.
Perhaps she should not marry,
What Brave would understand
Her need to save her woodland friends,
And eat strictly from the land?
Strange, beautiful Indian lady,
Her only chance for happiness
Lay deep within the woods.
One day a visiting tribe arrived,
And a young Brave was introduced,
He was a hunter and a warrior,
And a handsome Indian youth.
Overwhelmed by Willow’s beauty,
He claimed her as his prize,
And under tribal pressure,
She agreed to be his bride.
Their wedding was arranged,
A fine celebration planned,
A feast – a banquet – for them all,
Preparations then began.
A hunting party left at dawn,
The young Brave led the hunt,
Into the forest went the group,
The handsome groom in front.
Also in the woods that day,
The lovely Willow was,
Communing with her forest friends,
The deer, the bears, the doves.
The hunters, spotting wild game,
Approached in soft-soled shoes,
Sweet Willow, hidden by a tree,
Did not come into view.
At the same time … at the same place,
As fate would have it … as you’ve guessed,
The hunter’s arrow missed its mark,
And came to rest in Willow’s breast.
An awful accident occurred,
Willow’s blood flowed to the ground,
There was disbelief and shock,
And sorrow too profound.
Both tribes went into mourning,
As did Willow’s forest friends,
The heavens shed their tears as well,
The grief, it seemed, would never end.
Willow was buried in the forest
At that spot where she had died,
And people say that at her grave,
A tree took root and thrived.
Tall and slender with long branches,
That hung in sorrow to the ground,
Its leaves, rippling in the wind,
Making mournful, quiet sounds.
Today the lovely tree still weeps
Exquisite in its symmetry,
And this truly is the legend, friend,
Of The Weeping Willow Tree.
by Virginia (Ginny) Ellis