The Story of the Meadow DandelionWhen The Wind Loved The Dandelion

glowing dandelion seed overlooking field

One day, old Nokomis was sitting by the fire, cooking a meal for her family. Her young grandson asked her to tell him a story. She paused for a moment, collected her thoughts, and calmly started…

"When the Earth was very young there were four brother manitous (spirits): Ningaabii'an-noodin, the mighty West Wind; Waabani-noodin, the gentle East Wind; Giiwedin-nodin, the blustery North Wind; and Zhaawani-noodin, the lazy South Wind."

When the wind brothers grew up they had to leave home. Zhaawani-noodin was sad to part from his beloved brother Giiwedin-nodin. “Farewell, Brother,” roared Giiwedin-nodin! “I know you will miss my cooling breath in your hot lands to the south, but I will always remember you.” But the lazy Zhaawani-noodin gave no answer. Instead he hung his head in sadness and slowly made his way to the southland, where he built his lodge of branches."

​There, in the flowery tangle of the forest, Zhaawani-noodin sat sleepy and lazy in his lodge. He did not seem to notice the bright birds and beautiful flowers. He did not feel the pleasing scents and wonderful sounds. Instead, he looked toward the north and longed his brother. When he sighed in the springtime, flocks of birds flew northward. In the summer when he sighed, the hot winds rushed to the North to ripen the waiting ears of corn and to fill meadows and woods with flowers. And in the autumn when he sighed, a golden glow drifted northward and caused Indian summer to drape the hills with warmth."

"Too sad to do anything, Zhaawani-noodin just raised his arms to the heavens and sighed with longing - creating his warm winds for the world. "

"​Then one spring, while looking sadly to the north, Zhaawani-noodin saw a beautiful girl standing in a grassy meadow. Her clothes were green and waving; her hair was as yellow as gold. Zhaawani-noodin whispered to himself, “Tomorrow I will seek her out.” The next morning he saw her again, but was too afraid to approach her. In his uncertainty he said to himself, “Tomorrow I will be brave, go to her, and win her for my bride.” But the next day and every day after that, he just looked at her longingly, sighed, and said, “Tomorrow I will go.” But, sleepy and lazy as ever, he never left his lodge to travel northward to get her."

One morning as he went to look at the maiden he saw that her hair was no longer yellow, but was fluffy and white like snow. Full of sadness, he gave out many short and rapid sighs. Suddenly, the air was filled with something soft and silvery like thistledown, and the slender maiden vanished. Zhaawani-noodin cried in sadness for his lost love."

"As he sat in sadness, his brother Giiwedin-nodin appeared, laughing and laughing. He slapped Zhaawani-noodin on the back and asked him why he was so sad. Giiwedin-nodin said, “Brother. My beautiful maiden has vanished!” Giiwedin-nodin, doubled over in laughter at this. When he recovered, he said through eyes wet from laughter, “No brother. That was no maiden that you pined for. That was just a Dandelion waving in the meadow."

"Zhaawani-noodin returned to his lodge and lazily as ever, he returned to his endless sighing."