Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross
from "Black Folk Tales"
by Julias Lester
"Well, the Lord had just finished making the world, and He sat back in His big ol' rocking chair to look it over.
"Not a bad job, if I say so myself." He lit up a cigar and was feeling pretty good about it until he noticed that the world looked kind of bare. Fact of the matter was, there wasn't a thing to the world except land, trees and a whole lot of water. There was even more water than land.
"Wonder how that happened?" the Lord wondered. "Seems to me I'd planned for there to be more land than water, well......" He shrugged His shoulders and turned His mind to figuring out how to make the world look a little prettier.
"Give me my pruning shears!" He called out, and one of the little angels ran and got them. The Great Almighty leaned out of his rocking chair, trimmed the trees, and threw the trimmings all over the empty ground. That made the grass, the bushes and all the flowers.
"Now that don't look too bad," He said and leaned back again. "Yessir, I've made a might pretty world." And so saying, He went to bed to rest up from all the work He'd done. So the Lord went on to sleep, looking forward to getting up the next morning and admiring His world some more.
The next morning the Lord hardly had one eye open before He heard the flowers whispering among themselves.
"It's lonely down here," said one flower. "We were put here to keep the ground company and make everything look pretty, but it sure is mighty lonely."
The Lord shook his head in disgust. "Have mercy! You get through making one thing, and the next thing you know you got to make something else to go with it. Gimme them little shears, one of you angels."
An angel brought the Lord the teenichy pair of shears, and He bent over to the earth and started snipping little pieces off of everything, the sky, the ground, the trees, the animals, the bushes, and the flowers. Everything and anything He laid His hands on, got snipped. The very idea of getting complaints about the world and it wasn't even a day old. That was gratitude, and the Lord had a feeling He was going to get complaints about the world from now on. He was so mad He didn't care what He snipped, and He snipped all morning long - snip! snip! snip! And then He went back to bed because He didn't want to hear any complaining about all the snipping He'd done. He had a good mind to just stay in bed forever and let the world handle its own complaints.
Well, when the people looked up and saw these tiny scraps fluttering around, they called them flutter-bys. There were yellow flutter-bys. Those were the ones that had been snipped off the sun. And there were blue flutter-bys. They had been snipped off the sky. And there were white flutter-bys. They'd been snipped off the stars. Every color flutter-bys fluttering around that people didn't even have names for to describe their color.
These flutter-bys got over to our part of the world, and, well, you know how it is with us. We always got to have our way of saying something. The brother in black is going to say the thing his way or die trying. So when we looked up and saw these things come floating by, we heard some white folks call'em "flutter-bys" and we fell out laughing. Flutter-bys! White folks put their tongues through all kinds of contortions trying to talk. Flutter-bys! Now who could say that? So we turned that thing around and called them butterflys. That sounded a whole lot better. It was easy on the tongue and easy on the ears, and that's what words were supposed to be.
Anyways, that's how the Lord made butterflys and why you always see butterflys flying around flowers. They were made to keep the flowers company."