A Special Plant
Once upon a time there was a little cottage that had a garden. The garden was large and beautiful. Flowers waved gently in the breeze all spring and summer long. Tulips, lilacs, daisies, sunflowers, bleeding hearts, crocuses, buttercups, violets and many more grew there. Cobblestone paths wound about the garden, with benches under shady trees. A pond with goldfish swimming in it sparkled in the sunlight.
The owner of the cottage was a gardener; he was old and gray-haired but his shaky hands were gentle when they touched the satiny petals of the flowers. The flowers all adored him greatly and were rivals for the most attention. The kind gardener distributed his praise evenly between them all.
In the early morning hours you could hear his voice saying, “Ah, daisies dear, how much you have grown! And how fresh you look, violets…” as he went down the paths and greeted them all by name.
The flowers all knew each other well. The violets were quiet and unassuming; The daisies were cheerful and happy; The lilacs were somewhat more sophisticated and tended to stay apart; The crocuses were happiest in colder weather and complained of the heat on warm days; The buttercups spent their time in the sunlight laughing and singing; The bleeding hearts whispered sadly together; The tulips gossiped all day long; The sunflowers were bold and somewhat impolite. But they all knew what the characters of the others were, so they lived in contentment together.
On a usual day all the flowers were awake and over the garden was a hum of voices. They were always talking, unless the gardener was in the far corner of the garden, for there, beneath a little white gravestone, lay the gardener’s little girl, Rosalynn, who had just changed from a gentle child to a delicate young lady when she fell ill.
All events in the followed the same pattern year after year. Or they did until the day the gardener came in with a scraggly little plant. He carried it over to the corner and, using a trowel, carefully planted it. He watered it and tended it attentively. The other flowers grew envious; for the new plant was receiving more attention than any of them. They watched her grow day by day, and mocked her ugliness.
“Look at her!” scoffed one of the tulips, “See her thorns on her stem?”
“She never says a word!” declared one of the daisies “Is she too ‘distinguished’ to have anything to do with us?”
“Maybe she thinks that she is a princess.” a buttercup said scornfully.
“Perhaps she is shy, and that is why she is so quiet.” suggested a gentle violet.
The others laughed and said that was ridiculous. They spent their days taunting the poor little unattractive plant. She never said a word, but sat there silently and cringed slightly when their laughter grew loud enough to reach her.
The poor little plant was shy and dared not say anything in her own defense. She treasured the moments when she received gentle words from the gardener. But she wondered why she was so hideous. It was true that the little plant had thorns, but she did not choose to have those! The plant fought back tears as she whiled away her time alone in the corner. Slowly she crept closer to the little white gravestone next to her. She was very lonely, and there seemed a kind of companionship in the little gravestone. She felt, somewhere deep down in her roots, a connection with it. The little plant tried her best to shade the gravestone from the burning sun, and sheltered it from the pounding rain. She protected it carefully, and began to feel that perhaps it wasn't too lonely in the corner of the garden.
Days went by and the little, brave plant slowly struggled and grew. She began to grow over the gravestone and she got bigger and stronger. Yes, she had the thorns still, but no longer was she scraggly and weak. Buds began to form on her. They were at first a soft pink and then they began to darken to a lovely crimson. The other flowers still mocked her though. They were not close enough to see the buds. Though perhaps even if they were they would not have seen them, for they had blinded themselves to any beauty in the unwanted plant. They could not see a use her since she did not compare in loveliness with them.
All continued until one dawn, when in the early morning light, the buds unfolded. Deep crimson flowers lay bright against the white gravestone and contrasted against the green grass. The little plant gazed down at herself in amazement! The gardener stepped down the path, and leaned over. His gnarly fingers gently brushed the petals of the flowers. And his eyes filled with tears.
Softly he whispered, “Ah, now my little Rosalynn has roses to keep her company. You know,” addressing the little plant, “You have a very important job: keeping my little girl company. She was your namesake, so you are very fit for the job.”
The little plant raised her head high and thought proudly, “I am not just an ugly thorny bush! I am a rosebush!”
Thereafter, the little rosebush was very happy. The other flowers apologized for their rudeness, and of course, being the sweet little plant that she was, the rosebush forgave them. They all grew to be great friends, and everyone confided their deepest secrets to the lovely, sweet and caring plant. And on soft summer days, she leaned close to the little white gravestone. So captivated and absorbed did she look, one would swear that wonderful secrets were being whispered to her. And who knows; maybe they were!