Tejas Legends: The Cloud That Was Lost

You can read about the different varieties of the phlox flower that grow in Texas at the Native Plant Society of Texas website.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Tejas Legends unit. Story source: When the Storm God Rides: Tejas and Other Indian Legends retold by Florence Stratton and illustrated by Berniece Burrough (1936).

The Cloud That Was Lost

In the country of high mountains, the little white clouds that float around in the sky during the day go to sleep on the tops of the peaks. They do this because they become tired while waiting in the sky to grow heavy enough to send down the rains. All day the wind blows them this way and that, they bump into one another, and the sun makes them hot. Because of this they are glad when the sun at last goes down, for then they can float gently down to the mountain tops and curl themselves up among the trees and rest there until next morning. This is why people can see white clouds like fog on the mountains at night and at dawn.

Late one afternoon, one little cloud had sailed off from its brothers and sisters. It had been chasing its tiny white tail like a puppy, and had whirled and whirled head over heels until it was far away from the others. At last, when it was time to go to bed on the mountain tops, and all the other clouds were gone from the sky, the little cloud found itself all alone over a broad, flat land. It looked for the mountains but could not see them. The little cloud was lost. The sun was down and it was time to go to bed, but there were no mountains to be seen. A few drops of rain fell from the little lost cloud because it was crying.

After a while, just as the day was gone, the cloud was so sleepy it floated down and stretched itself out on the flat country, all by itself. Under it, where it was lying on the ground, were some sweet-scented white flowers. These flowers were tired of being white. They had long hoped to find some way to color themselves. Now the little sleeping cloud was colored light pink and lavender, and when the flowers felt the cloud float down upon them they opened their eyes and saw the lovely colors. They opened their throats and began to drink in the little cloud. They drank and they drank until at last the little cloud was all gone.

When morning came nothing was there but the flowers. Some were still white, but those which had drunk in the cloud were now pink and lavender, as the cloud had been. This is how the flowers called the wild phlox got their soft colors that look like the evening clouds.

(400 words)

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