This time of year is the only time associated with Indian corn, but did you know that corn came into the world through the Great Spirit?
That’s according to an old Indian legend I googled across. It’s pretty lengthy, as legends tend to be, but I found it pretty interesting reading on several levels. You can read the more traditional version here – or a more contemporary version here.
Here’s the Corn Commentary condensed version:
Our hero is a young Indian man named Wunzh who comes from a poor family with a father who is “kind and contented and always gave thanks to the Great Spirit for everything that he received.” Young Wunzh is the same way. When it comes time for him to fast “so that he may see in a vision the Spirit that is to be his guide through life” he goes off filled with longing to do something for his family and his tribe, specifically in the form of finding easier way to get food “than by hunting and catching fish.”
His fasting period where he is visited by a “stranger” whom he must wrestle bears a striking similarity to Jacob wrestling with the angel of God in the book of Genesis. You might recall Jacob would not let the man in his dream go until he blessed him. So Wunzh wrestles his stranger successfully and fasts one extra day to meet him again, wrestle him to the death and bury him as he had been directed in the vision.
But he never forgot the grave of his friend.
Daily he visited it, and pulled up the weeds and grass, and kept the earth soft and moist. Very soon, to his great wonder, he saw the tops of green plumes coming through the ground.
Weeks passed by, the summer was drawing to a close. One day, Wunzh asked his father to follow him. He led him to a distant meadow. There, in the place where the stranger had been buried, stood a tall and graceful plant, with bright-colored, silken hair, and crowned by nodding green plumes. Its stalk was covered with waving leaves, and there grew from its sides clusters of milk-filled ears of corn, golden and sweet, each ear closely wrapped in its green husks.
“It is my friend!” shouted the boy joyously. “It is Mondawmin, the Indian Corn! We need no longer depend on hunting, so long as this gift is planted and cared for. The Great Spirit has heard my voice and has sent us this food.”
Then the whole family feasted on the ears of corn and thanked the Great Spirit who gave it. So Indian Corn came into the world.
So the moral of the story is: be thankful for corn this Thanksgiving!