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Origin Of The Saguaro And Palo Verde Cacti






Source: Myths And Legends Of California And The Old Southwest

Pima (Arizona)

Once upon a time an old Indian woman had two grandchildren. Every day
she ground wheat and corn between the grinding stones to make porridge
for them. One day as she put the water-olla on the fire outside the
house to heat the water, she told the children not to quarrel because
they might upset the olla. But the children began to quarrel. They upset
the olla and spilled the water and their grandmother spanked them.

Then the children were angry and ran away. They ran far away over the
mountains. The grandmother heard them whistling and she ran after them
and followed them from place to place. but she could not catch up with
them.

At last the older boy said, "I will turn into a saguaro, so that I shall
live forever and bear fruit every summer."

The younger said, "Then I will turn into a palo verde and stand there
forever. These mountains are so bare and have nothing on them but rocks,
I will make them green."

The old woman heard the cactus whistling and recognized the voice of her
grandson. So she went up to it and tried to take the prickly thing into
her arms, but the thorns killed her.

That is how the saguaro and the palo verde came to be on the mountains
and the desert.





Next: The Thirsty Quails

Previous: Coyote And The Rattlesnake



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