The First Strawberries
A retelling of a Cherokee legend
The First Man and the First Woman lived in a lodge surrounded by a beautiful, majestic forest where they found plentiful food. Nearby, a magnificent, bubbling stream provided them with fresh, clear water to drink and meaty fish to eat. They wanted for nothing and loved each other very much.
But, after some time had passed, they began to get on each other’s nerves.
“Why can’t you clean up your mess after you eat?” said First Woman to First Man, her dark eyes flashing angrily.
“Why can’t you listen to me when I talk?” said First Man to First Woman in a loud voice.
This continued on for many days. One day, First Woman woke up so angry that she decided to leave. She set off through the forest, never looking back at the lodge.
First Man woke up, stretched, and sat up.
“Where is First Woman?” he said to himself as he searched around the lodge for her. Then he remembered how angry they had been with each other the night before.
“First Woman has left me,” he said. At first, he was angry. He set off into the forest to find her and bring her back. As he walked, he thought about how much he loved her and wanted her to return to him. He no longer felt angry.
The Sun, looking down from above, saw First Man walking with a sad look on his face, and his shoulders rounded and hunched.
“You are looking for First Woman. Are you still angry with her?” the Sun asked.
“No, I want her to come back. I want to be happy with each other like we were before,” said First Man.
The Sun saw First Woman, marching through the forest. She still looks very angry, he thought. So, he made a delicious bush of blackberries appear before her, trying to make her stop so First Man could catch up with her.
But First Woman was still too angry to notice. March, march, march through the forest she went.
The Sun tried again. He made a bush loaded with luscious blueberries appear on the path. But First Woman did not stop. March, march, march through the forest she went.
The Sun thought and thought. I will need something new to make her stop, he thought.
He created a new plant, bright green, with beautiful white flowers, and delicious red fruit, appear on the path before First Woman. He called the fruit strawberry.
The plant smelled so wonderful and looked so beautiful that First Woman stopped. She picked a strawberry and put it in her mouth. It was the most wonderful thing she had ever tasted.
As First Woman ate another strawberry, she thought about how much First Man would like this new fruit. Suddenly, her anger was gone and she missed First Man. She wanted to share this new fruit with him and be happy like they had been before.
Just then, First Man appeared down the path. First Woman gathered some strawberries in her hands and ran to him. They ate the strawberries together and walked back toward the lodge, both no longer angry and both happy to be together again.
Hope you have a great day!
Forest path photograph and illustration is my original. Other photos are courtesy of Pixabay.com