Native American Tales

Tolowim Woman and Butterfly Man

Tolowim Woman and Butterfly ManTolowim Woman and Butterfly Man

Maidu

A woman was out one day and set her baby down in his board on the ground. She began chasing a butterfly. She could never catch it. She took off her robe and her apron and chased the butterfly until night, then she went to sleep.

She awoke and the butterfly was there. It said as she had chased it all day, perhaps she would like to chase it always. She must hold on tight to the butterfly when they went through the valley of butterflies, otherwise, she would be lost.

There were butterflies everywhere, the woman, at first, held on tightly but let go to try to catch another butterfly, but she missed, then she tried to catch another, but missed that one also. She couldn’t catch any and wandered the valley alone.

Some say this story is about a woman who tried to hold onto a lover but lost him and she ultimately died.

Observations

Butterflies are indeed pretty, I can understand the fascination.

Themes

I don’t believe this is a story to be taken at face-value. I think it’s a story about something else. I can definitely see this as being a story about a woman chasing after a lover and getting lost herself. She leaves behind her family to chase a man, who is probably very pretty, but then she lets go of that man and tries to get another one, and it just doesn’t quite work out. I’m sure she was sad over this.

I don’t think it’s right to leave your family for someone else. You have responsibilities. If a split is necessary, by all means do it, but you still have responsibilities to your family, even if you split. This woman just walked away from her family, which is sad. I don’t know, I think she kind of got what she deserved.

Overall

Don’t go chasing butterflies stick with the butterflies and moths you’re used to. 😉

Weigh In

Did she get what she deserved?

Was the butterfly in any way affected by losing her?

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