The Legend of the Pink Bluebonnets
There is no other state like Texas. The name itself comes from the Caddo word tejas, meaning friend. And friendly it is. Sure, there are those that are too busy living the fast-paced lifestyle to notice those around them, but the majority of Texans are the epitome of southern hospitality. Gentlemen open doors for the ladies, people wave at strangers in friendly greeting, and chivalry is not dead. But everybody knows that everything is bigger in Texas so it should be no surprise that the hearts of those who live here are just as big. With those big hearts comes a big appreciation for the legends and stories that permeate Texas traditions, like the bluebonnets that grace the fields far and wide each spring. Their popularity dates back generations enough that folk lore about them has been passed down. Now you too can learn the secrets of the bluebonnets if you are not already aware. Perhaps the most interesting tale is the story of how the rare pink bluebonnets came to be.
The Legend of the Texas Bluebonnets
Ever wonder how this beautiful state flower came to be? A little native girl sacrificed her beloved doll, which had a vibrant blue feather attached to it. Her sacrifice compelled the spirits to end the famine that had befallen her people. As the rain began to fall, breathtaking blue flowers greeted the natives on the hillside and the little girl became a hero. Or so the story goes. You can hear more about the legend of the bluebonnets by watching the video to the right.
The Legend of the Pink Bluebonnet
Like the legend of the bluebonnets, the legend of the pink bluebonnets also begins with a child. Two, in fact. These children, brother and sister, were walking with their grandmother on their way to church. As they walked, the children admired the wildflowers in the field.
“Grandma, what’s that?” the little girl asked.
As the grandmother began to explain that every once in awhile a rare white bluebonnet can be found growing among the blue flowers and that many believe the Lone Star flag was inspired by a patch of white flowers amid all of the blue ones, her brother cried out in excitement from a distance. What was it that he found? A pink bluebonnet, and as they gaze upon its beauty, the grandmother recalls a story her grandmother told her in her youth.
“Pink bluebonnets,” she said, “are only found growing along the riverside. They are nature’s way of reminding us never to forget the Alamo.”
“Tell us more!” they begged. “What do you mean?”
Their grandmother retold her grandmother’s story.
Well, many years ago, before Texas was a state, our ancestors fought a great battle at the Alamo. Our family lived a short distance from the Alamo, near the old cathedral. My papa was a hard worker. He awoke early to work the land until the noon siesta. We spent the afternoons and evenings splashing in the river, dancing, eating, and enjoying one another’s company.
Some of those times, Americano families joined us for a visit, It was never long before the conversation among the men turned to politics. They were angry over the Mexican government’s treatment of Texas and there was talk of a revolution. Eventually, word arrived that the Mexican dictator was sending troops to our city. Women began to fear for their husbands, fathers, and sons.
Papa was not sure if he should stay and protect his family or join the Americanos in an effort to defend the old mission. He eventually decided that his family would be safer hidden away in the countryside. Each and every day we could hear the gunfire in the distance. Nighttime too. Eventually, the Texans were no match for the Mexican army.
One day those terrible gunshots finally ended. Papa and Mama were both grateful for our survival and we were able to return home. However, they mourned the loss of many friends whose homes were destroyed during the battle.
Many years later, I saw Mama placing a pink flower in a vase next to the statue of the Virgin Mary. When I asked her about the flower, she said that she found it down by the river. The pink flower, she said, was once a white bluebonnet but because so much blood was shed during the battle at the Alamo, it had nowhere to go. The blood flowed downstream and the white flowers growing beside the river took on the tint of the blood.
“And that is why pink bluebonnets are only found near the river, always within sight of the Alamo,” the grandmother finished.
Bluebonnet Photos: It's Tradition
Texas bluebonnets are an iconic symbol of the arrival of spring. Each year, Texans head out in search of that perfect bluebonnet photo shot. Breathtaking photographs can be found all over the internet of the rolling fields covered in the vibrant blue flowers. It has become somewhat of a tradition that pictures of families and children be taken among the flowers. The trick is to be careful not to step on them. As the saying goes, "bluebonnets grow by the inch, but they die by the foot." Crushing them prevents them from seeding. Plus, it is illegal to pick them. They are not mowed down by lawnmowers either. Another key thing to watch out for are the snakes. Yes, snakes are a very real danger in Texas. There have been reports of children being bitten by rattlesnakes hidden among the flowers. Who knows what other snakes might favor the tall grass. But if you're careful, come visit Texas in early spring and take your own priceless photo among the bluebonnets. While you're at it, impress the locals with your knowledge of bluebonnet folk lore.