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The little flute that nobody wanted
A lovely example
An Indian legend
This story is based on a legend that my husband, a Native American of Cherokee descent, heard as a child. He builds Native American flutes and teaches people how to play them. He wanted to tell the story to his flute students, but he couldn’t remember all the details, so he recreated the story with a modern twist and makes no pretense that it is the original. Although he can’t take credit for the legend, he can take credit for his version. I am merely the editor, but I thought it was lovely enough to share.
This is a story about a flute, a boy, and a girl. There was a little flute that nobody wanted because it was a high G flute and it was only good for birdcalls. The flute maker rejected it and gave it away. He gave it to an Indian flute player, and because it was a gift, the flute player couldn’t reject it. The flute player worked with it anyway, and with time, he and the spirit of the flute became one.
Later a little girl about seven years of age was in coma in a nearby hospital. She had been that way for over two months. The doctors feared she would never awaken and were ready to give up on her. Her mother was bereft.
A small boy from the nearby reservation, also a patient in the hospital, saw the mother’s sadness. “Get someone to play a flute for her,” he said. “They can help her, the flute can help,” he cried. He kept urging the mother of the child to get a flute player to play for her. His words went unheeded, and he became more and more persistent as time went on because he didn’t want the little girl to die.
Finally, the mother in desperation agreed to do as he asked. “I know it can’t hurt her,” she said. “I’ll try anything for her.” The flute player was called in and arrived with the little flute that nobody wanted. He knelt down by the bedside of the girl and played the flute close to her ear.
After a short time, the girl’s eyes slowly opened. She said, “I heard birds calling me. Where are they?” The flute player answered, “They are in the flute,” and he played some more. The little girl’s eyes lighted up as she listened. She wanted to hear more, and he played for hours. The longer he played, the stronger the little girl became.
The mother cried with happiness, and the little boy cried with her. The doctors said, “It’s a miracle!”
Native American stories have a moral. The moral of this story is even the humblest of flutes can work miracles.