Song of the Seven Herbs by Walking Night Bear & Stan Padilla
In this slim but wonderful book, children are introduced to seven common Herbs by way of stories “inspired by Native American tradition.” These beautifully written stories include symbolism commonly associated with land-based cultures: Sun, Moon, Rain, Wind, Earth, etc. Additionally, themes (such as Survival, Circle of Life, or Balance for example) provide the situation in which the Creator gives the people a plant to help them.
In “The Plant of Gold,” the Creator of Good Things teaches the people to be thankful and respectful by instilling Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) with the power to burn.
After their water supply is poisoned, an entire village grows weak and are on the verge of death. A young child notices the Star-light reflecting off the flowers of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and saves his people with the “Todzi-touege.”
“Kosi, the Eagle, and the Mountain Lion,” tells of a Medicine Man who makes a death-bed promise to continue to help the sick and wounded after he has passed. A few days after his burial the tribe discover Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) growing on his grave.
“The Secret of Tomuni” recounts of when the Spirit that resides inside a piece of Amethyst asks to see the world outside of the cave, the Great Spirit takes it to the forest and transforms it to a Violet (Viola).
In “The Flowers from the Sky” a displaced tribe is starving as they wander through an unknown land. Their body and spirits are weak until an Eagle shows them the magic of Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
“Moonflower” is the name of a young woman who, along with her best friend – a Bear – found herself caught in a Snow storm. She was able to avoid starvation after discovering the iron and vitamin c rich Wild Rose (Rosa).
After a long spell of darkness and rain the Sun shown its “Bright Light” through the cloud cover until it reached the ground below, at which time a Sunflower (Helianthus annus) sprang forth.
Although ‘Song of the Seven Herbs’ is no longer in print, used copies abound – some for as little as a dollar or two. Well worth it for helping the next generation get to know our powerful allies among the plant world. Highly recommended!