Legend of the Weeping Willow

There is the gracefulness of a willow tree as the wind sways its drooping branches about. Apart from its many looping branches and thick green foliage, the willow tree's symmetry has no borders as it lazily spreads branches as though they are wings. The tree attracts and invites lovers of nature to sit at its base and think. A willow tree stimulates the mind. Restful and gracious, the branches sway deep and soothingly brush against your neck. Legends of this tree are plenty.

Lake weeping willow

Weeping Willow Sadness

Shrouded weeping willow

Some willow trees droop and drape themselves like mourners. Because of the thick foliage, the branches take on the appearance of shrouded beings in bowed mourning stances, a bit disheveled, yet graceful, holding up each other. The 20/20site.org article states that the tree is planted in Turkish and Chinese cemeteries and that legend suggests the willow's tearful symbolical motif has been recognized in modern times by Christian people. The weeping willow portrays sadness in a cemetery setting.

Weeping Willow Joy

Playing the Harp

Suffering biblical Hebrews celebrated joyfully while using the willow tree as a backdrop. The website 20/20site.org tells a joyful legend about the willow's boughs drooping under the weight of the harps as the exiled Hebrews sang: "By the waters of Babylon we sat down and wept when we remembered thee, O Sion." The article proclaims that the Hebrews hung their harps upon the trees. The singing suggests a sad but joyful song of celebration integrating the weeping willow trees.

Weeping Willow Moment

Perhaps it was a bad headgear day for Alexander the Great when the boughs of a weeping willow swept the crown off his head as he crossed the Euphrates river in a boat. That act was perhaps a bad omen as well. Legend alleges that Babylonian predictors used this incident to forecast the early death of Alexander the Great.

Weeping Willow Legends


Another legend places a Turkish merchant arriving in England in 1748. He is alleged to have planted a willow tree from the Euphrates at his Twickenham Park seat. Another legend spawned the story of a poet named Pope who was responsible for introducing the weeping willow tree to England. The website clearly calls the poet's story a poetical fiction that materialized into many versions. One version has the poet, while in the company of Lady Suffolk, and having seen some twigs in her basket, taking the twigs and later planting them in his garden. The implication is that the twigs were of a willow kind. Legendary tales are noted for growing in proportions each time the story is told.

Magical Willow Myths

Buzzle.com notes that according to a myth/legend, the weeping willow tree once stood upright and strong, but the death of a pair of lovers so affected these trees that their branches hung loosely in misery and never rose again. Add to that the legendary Grecian practice wherein willow branches were placed in the bed of a fertile woman. It was expected that magical serpents would then be tempted to impregnate her, the article alleges.

Carmen Clarke-Brown

Carmen Clarke-Brown worked as a reporter for "The Daily Gleaner" in Jamaica, West Indies, published sociocultural articles for Gannett Westchester Newspapers in Larchmont, N.Y., authored the sports fiction book "The Quarterback" and is working on her second book. She holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees from Iona College in New York.