Native American Insects Legends: A Lenape Butterfly Legend

Published on January 31, 2013 by Casey

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A Lenape Butterfly Legend
A Lenape Butterfly Legend

Native American Insects Legends: A Lenape Butterfly Legend

Traditional story about the Creator’s gift of butterflies.

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Long, long ago, when the Earth was new, the Creator looked down on his creation and was very happy. The world was beautiful and the people were happy. The creation was good.

But as time passed, the people began to age and die and this brought sorrow to the world. And this made the Creator sad, for the people were sad. And so it was that the Creator began to think that there was something missing in his creation. And so one day he decided to create something new.

Then the Creator came to the Earth and began to gather the colors of the creation into a sack. From the sky he took some blue; from the trees he took some green; from Father Sun he took some yellow; from the sunset sky he took red, orange and purple; from the little children he took the white of their smiles and the brown of their eyes. All these colors he gathered into his sack. Then as an afterthought he took the song from the winged-ones and put this in the sack as well. And he shook the sack to mix all these things well. Then he came to the people to give them his new creation.

And so it was that the people gathered around the Creator to see this new creation which he had brought to them. And the Creator opened the sack and released thousands of butterflies into the air. And the people were pleased, and the children danced and sang with the butterflies dancing and singing around them. And happiness returned to creation.

But not all of creation was happy. The winged-ones came to the Creator to ask him why he had taken their song. “Great Creator,” the winged ones’ spokesman said, “our song was what set us apart from all of creation. It was the one thing which was ours that none other in creation had. It is not right that you should take this from us for your new creation.” And the Creator pondered their words and decided that they were right.

And so the Creator put forth his hand once more and retrieved the songs of the winged-ones from his new creation. And so it is that the butterfly carries all the colors of Creation in beautiful array, yet in silence.

Source: Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2014 Native American Encyclopedia.
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American Psychological Association (APA):

Native American Insects Legends: A Lenape Butterfly Legend Unabridged. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from website:

Chicago Manual Style (CMS):

Native American Insects Legends: A Lenape Butterfly Legend Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia (accessed: September 21, 2014).

Modern Language Association (MLA):

"Native American Insects Legends: A Lenape Butterfly Legend" Unabridged. Native American Encyclopedia 21 Sep. 2014. <>.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE):, "Native American Insects Legends: A Lenape Butterfly Legend" in Unabridged. Source location: Native American Encyclopedia Available: Accessed: September 21, 2014.

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@ article {NativeAmericanEncyclopedia.com2014,
    title = { Unabridged},
    month = Sep,
    day = 21,
    year = 2014,
    url = {},
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Did You Know?

The State of Alaska's name comes from the corruption of Aleut word meaning "great land" or "that which the sea breaks against."

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