The 'Blue Feather' is an important item in many Harvest Moon games. When any marriage proposal is made either by a girl or a boy, the Blue Feather must be offered with the proposal.
The actual history of this charming tradition never is given in any Harvest Moon game, although characters will allude to it frequently, and it is not a tradition that is restricted to a single village or location. Individuals from Forget-Me-Not Valley and Mineral Town alike honour the tradition of the 'Blue Feather'.
Here is the Legend of the Blue Feather as told to Freyashawk by Aloysius of Mineral Town, a farmer who achieved great renown in his own village and whose fame spread even to Forget-Me-Not Valley. (In other words, the tale was relayed to me by my first character in FoMT. Make of that what you will.)
The Legend of the Blue Feather
In the first days of mankind, when people were learning about life in all its complexities and splendour, there was a very shy boy named Kuko. He was very much in love with the daughter of the chief of his tribe, but was too shy to say anything to her. Instead, he would leave a white flower at her door each monring and then walk past her house later to see if his gift had been accepted.
The White Flower was a rare and beautiful blossom that could be found only at the top of the highest mountain. Each evening, Kuko would climb the mountain to search for the elusive flower and he would not return to his village without it. To him, it represented the rare emotion that had blossomed in his own heart.
Every day, his heart rose when he saw that the flower no longer lay on the doorstep. He imagined his beloved would understand that her own beauty was reflected in the exquisite loveliness of the White Flower.
Then one day, a delegation of strangers came to the village. They brought an offering of marriage from the son of a neighbouring cheftain. Donkeys laden with gold, chests filled with precious gems and baskets filled with grains, vegetables and fruit accompanied the proposal of marriage.
Poor Kuko! His heart sank when he saw the ostentatious procession and heard the admiring exclamations of the villagers. All he had to offer was the simple White Flower. In fact, as the delegation entered the home of the village chieftain, their heavy boots trampled Kuko's offering into the dust.
Kuko could not imagine that the girl would prefer him to the son of a wealthy chief. He was a poor shepherd boy who owned only a couple of sheep and two chickens who never had laid a single golden egg.
In despair that evening, he went to the Spring of the Goddess to think. It was a favourite spot of his, a place he often visited when life appeared darkest. According to legend, the Harvest Goddess lived in the lake and granted the wishes of deserving indivduals who sought her aid. Kuko imagined the Goddess to be as compassionate as she would be beautiful, and he poured his heart out to her in the twilight, speaking of his dreams and hopes, his disappointments and his struggles. Ordinarily rather inarticulate and shy, Kuko found he was able to speak freely to the Goddess he could not see but whom he sensed to be ever-present in the sparkling waters of the Spring.
That eveniing, when he finally fell silent, he was surprised by the appearance of an exquisite blue bird flying across the sky. The bird circled overhead three times, then dropped a feather into his lap. The feather was long and iridescent, and Kuko never had beheld anything quite as beautiful.
Kuko was startled, but even more astonished when the bird actually spoke to him.
'I am the Namimoto bird, who makes her nest in the very lap of the Goddess,' the bird sang.
'She bids me tell you to take heart. Give this Blue Feather to the girl you love and if her heart beats true for you, she will be yours.'
Kuko bowed low to the sacred bird, thanking her for the rare gift. He then returned to the village, feather in hand, and laid it upon the doorstep of his beloved.
He could not sleep, however, and was at her door at dawn to see if the feather remained where he had left it.
Much to his joy, the feather was gone!
As he stood there, the chief of the village, his daughter and the entire delegation of strangers came out of the house, and the village crier began to ring the bell, calling the villager to a meeting.
All the villagers congregated in the Square, pressing forward to hear the news. Poor Kuko was afraid suddenly that it would be an announcement that the Chief's daughter had agreed to accept the offer of marriage from the neighbouring Chief's son.
Instead, he beheld his lady love stepping forward with the Blue Feather braided into her golden hair.
In a clear voice, she declared: 'I will marry only the man who can tell me where the bird to which this feather belongs lives.'
Her father then spoke: 'Three days from now, we will have another meeting and at that time, we will hear the answer to my daughter's question.'
Kuko realised that the Chief intended to give the neighbouring Chief's son a chance to discover the answer to the girl's question. The next three days passed far too slowly, therefore, for poor Kuko, who knew the answer himself, but did not know if his rival would be able to stand forth to give the correct answer as well.
After three days had passed, the bells rang. out again and the villagers collected in the Square. The delegation returned and this time, the neighbouring Chief's son was with them. Much to Kuko's consternation, he was a handsome lad, but with arrogance stamped in his features. His bearing moreover denoted one accustomed to having his own way in everything.
Kuko's rival stepped forward then, as if he and he alone had the right to speak first.
He declared loudly, 'Here is my answer to your question: I have sent men to every corner of our land, and no one has seen a bird with feathers like this. I therefore declare with confidence that the bird is foreign to these parts, and must be from a land very faraway.'
'Yes!' agreed the Chief happily, 'That must be so. We have our answer here.'
'And yet,' said the girl, 'That is no answer at all. It does not tell me where to find the bird.'
Kuko stepped forward then. Much to his surprise, when he spoke, he did not stutter as usual. His voice was firm and melodious as he said, 'I have seen the bird you seek. This bird will not be found anywhere in our land or in any other, for she makes her nest in the very lap of the Goddess. She is the Namimoto bird, favoured by the Harvest Goddess above all others.'
The villagers were amazed, not only by Kuko's words but by his transformation into a confident young man who had neither hesitation nor fear.
'How do you know this?' the Chief demanded with a frown.
'The bird gave me the Blue Feather,' said Kuko. 'It is a symbol of true love, for the man who offers this feather to a girl declares: 'My heart flies to you, even as a bird flies to its nest. I wish to dwell in your heart forever.' That is the message of the Blue Feather and that is why I offer it to your daughter. I am your humble servant, sir, but my heart has the highest of aspirations, to belong to your daughter forever.
Every one was captivated by the boy's words and even the Chief could not maintain his stern disapproval, although the thought of losing all the advantages that an alliance with the neighbouring Chief would have provided was disappointing. Even so, he loved his daughter and her happiness was more important than riches.
The Chief's daughter looked at the son of the neighbouring Chief, then at Kuko.
'I always loved you,' she told the young shepherd. 'Each morning, I would watch from my window as you brought a beautiful White Flower to my door. I always hoped you would speak to me one day of your love.'
She took his hand then in her own and announced, 'I accept your Blue Feather and your heart. From this day forward, let the Blue Feather be a sign of eternal love for every man and woman who wishes to marry.'
And so it came to pass that the 'Blue Feather' became the symbol of love and accompanied every proposal of marriage through all the centuries.