Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to grow the "three sisters": corn, beans, and squash. In Native American Culture, they are seen as three beautiful sisters, because they should be planted together, eaten together, and celebrated together.
Many a legend has been woven around the Three Sisters. Here is one version:
There are three sisters: Sister Corn, Sister Bean and Sister Squash. These sisters were quite different from one another in their height and the way they looked.
The oldest sister is Sister Corn. She wears a pale green shawl and has silken hair that rustles when the wind blows through it. She grows tall and strong and allows her sister to lean on her for support. She keeps watch over her sisters, looking for danger and warning them.
Sister Bean is dressed all in green. At first when she was young she could only crawl. Now as she grows, she clings to and leans on her Sister Corn for support. In return, Sister Bean gives her sister the nutrients she needs to grow.
The youngest sister is Sister Squash. Sometimes her sisters call her Pumpkin. She wears a bright, sunshine yellow dress and a golden crown and sits at the feet of her older sisters. She is much shorter than her sisters and her large leaves help keep the weeds away and the soil moist. Her vines are prickly and help to keep unwanted animals away from her sisters.
Together they are strong
Each of the "sisters" helps one another to grow strong and healthy. In order to grow and thrive, they each need to be different but dependent upon each other. Each is special and each has great things to offer on her own and with the others. There is one way the sisters are all alike, though. They love each other dearly, and when they stay together they are very strong.
Known as the “sustainers of life,” corn, beans and squash were the basic foods of sustenance for the Native Americans when the Europeans arrived in America. Although the Pilgrims had never eaten these foods before, it was what grew well in the rocky soil of their new homeland. With the help of the Native Americans, they learned how to grow, prepare, use, and store these nutritious foods in order to survive the long hard winters.