The Story of the Rainbow
(Adapted by Jeanette Larson from “How the Rainbow Came to Be,” a traditional Native American legend.)
Tell this colorful story in the traditional fashion, without a book or props, or adapt it for a flannel board. Practice ahead of time until you are comfortable telling the story. Memorize any key phrases that are repeated. Read the story several times and practice telling it aloud. Do not worry if you do not repeat every line exactly as it is written. Tell it to yourself until you are comfortable enough to tell it to a friend. The more you tell it, the more the story becomes your own.
Long ago, at the beginning of time, the colors of the world quarreled. Each claimed that it was the best, the most beautiful, the most important, the most useful, and the favorite color.
Green said, "Look at the grass and the leaves and the trees. Clearly, you can see that I am the most important color. I am the color of life and of hope. Look around and you see that I am everywhere."
Then Blue interrupted and exclaimed, "Consider the sky and the sea. Water is the basis of all life and without me there would be no blue skies. Without me, there would be nothing."
Yellow laughed! "I am bright and warm and you are all so serious. Every time you look at a yellow daffodil or a big sunflower, you smile. The sun, the moon, and the stars are all yellow. The day starts and ends with me and without me you would have no fun."
Orange started to boast. "I am the color of good food that brings health and strength. Carrots, oranges, and pumpkins have valuable vitamins. An when orange fills the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that all who see me gasp in awe."
Well, Red started shouting. "I am the ruler of all life. Blood is red and blood is life. I am the color of passion and of love as you see in the red rose, the poinsettia, and the beautiful poppies."
Purple stood up and was very tall. He spoke with great importance in his voice. "I am the color of royalty and kings. Powerful people have always chosen me for I am the color of authority and wisdom."
At last, in a very quiet voice, Indigo spoke. "You hardly notice me, but although I am quiet, without me you are all nothing. You need me for balance and contrast, and for inner peace."
The arguing continued, each color boasting and bragging and quarreling and squabbling. Each was certain that his or her color was the absolute best. As their fighting became louder, a flash of lightning flew through the sky. Thunder cracked and boomed and rain started to pour down in buckets. The colors shook with fear and started to huddle together for comfort.
Then the rain began to speak: "You colors are so foolish. You are fighting about who is best, each trying to outdo the rest. Don't you understand that you were each made for a special purpose? Each is unique and different? Join hands and follow me."
Doing as the rain told them, the colors came together and joined hands. "From now on," the rain said, "when it rains, each of you will stretch out across the sky in a great arch of color. The rainbow will be a sign of peace and hope for tomorrow."
So, boys and girls, whenever rain washes the world, look for a rainbow to appear in the sky. When it appears, remember that every one of you is special. Let the colors of the rainbow remind you to appreciate yourself and one another. Hold hands with a friend and remember that together we make a rainbow of peace and hope that stretches across the world.