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Story: The True Flower

Auxiris 20 Dec 02 - 07:20 AM
Peter T. 20 Dec 02 - 11:01 AM
katlaughing 20 Dec 02 - 12:41 PM
JenEllen 20 Dec 02 - 06:22 PM
GUEST 21 Dec 02 - 02:30 PM
Auxiris 22 Dec 02 - 09:57 AM
katlaughing 27 Dec 02 - 01:51 PM
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Subject: Story: The True Flower
From: Auxiris
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 07:20 AM

Hello, everyone. I haven't told you a story for a while now, so here is one that is apparently told in both the Jewish and Arab traditions known as "The True Flower" . . .

When Salomon, with whom she rivaled in wisdom, paid her a visit, the Queen of Saba set him a sort of enigma. She led him to a place in her palace where extraordinary craftsmen had filled an entire room with magnificent artificial flowers. Dear friends, had you been there to see it, you would have thought it was a miraculous garden with many perfumed flowers of every colour imaginable that moved slightly in a breeze coming from no determined direction.

"Here is my enigma", said the Queen, smiling. "Only one of these flowers is a true blossom; can you tell me which one?"

Salomon looked around him carefully. He called on all his powers of concentration and his sensitivity, but could not say which flower was the true one. As he had begun perspiring heavily, he turned and said to the Queen of Saba, "It is surprisingly hot in this room. May I ask you to please order one of your servants to open a window?"

The Queen clapped her hands and ordered that a window be opened.

A moment later, Salomon said, "Here is the true flower." Impossible to be mistaken . . . a honeybee that had flown into the room by the open window, alighted on the one real flower.

It is said that, if it is always difficult to be Salomon, it is even more so to be the honeybee. However, the most difficult, at any time, is to be the flower.

(Translated from French; from the collection of stories "Le Circle des Menteurs", Plon 1998, ISBN 2-266-08787-8)



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Subject: RE: Story: The True Flower
From: Peter T.
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 11:01 AM

Once upon a time there was a scientist who had a back garden with flowers of all kinds, intermingled with weeds, because, when his wife left him, no one was left to take care of the garden. The scientist found himself spending a lot of time in the garden, but only looking, not doing, not gardening. Among the other things that irritated him was the fact that he was unable to respond to the flowers. They simply looked at him out of their flowerness, and seemed to ask him questions that he could not fathom. This reminded him too much of his own troubles, and he found the garden increasingly irritating. Retreating to his laboratory, and burnishing his mind on the increasing array of results indicating the possibilities of transforming the genetic structure of plants, he decided that the only way he would be able to connect with the flowers was to bridge the gap between himself and them genetically, since he could not do this spiritually. Eventually, after a great deal of work, he was able to transfer some of his own genetic material to a promising batch of sunflower cells. He planted the sunflowers in the now hideously overgrown garden, and they grew up spottily, but grew, and one day he sat down in front of the sunflowers and waited. Nothing happened, the sunflowers nodded, and the sun in the sky arched overhead and sank into darkness. The scientist thought about all this for a while, and then, in light of this failure, he determined to go the other way, to breed a child with sunflower genetic material. In order to do this, he had to go and see his long lost wife. Since leaving him, her life had flourished, and she had a new garden, all of her own doing. On the day that he approached her with his idea, she was out in her garden, on her hands and knees, digging away. He rang the doorbell, but there was no answer. Peeking around the side of the house, he saw her bent down, working away, the sunlight everywhere around her, and he involuntarily heaved a great sigh. She heard him, and turned around, sunlight everywhere. "What brings you here?" she said. And he was just about to explain his proposed project, when he was startled to see a small child approaching the garden with a toy shovel. The child was wearing a white pinafore, bedecked with images of sunflowers. "This is Perdita," said his wife, "isn't she beautiful?" And she was. "Is she --?" asked the scientist. "Oh, no," said his wife, smiling, "I had her created genetically." For a moment, there was a mingling of relief, horror, and surprise in the scientist's mind. Then he realized that she had been joking, and a great wave of bitter darkness fell on him. He sat for a few moments, looking at Perdita. "Well," he said finally, "I should be going." His wife looked at him for a moment. "Take some flowers, I have lots." She turned away -- "Perdita, get out of that!!" The scientist got up, and went home. He went out into his tangled garden, and dug a great hole, sprinkling sunflower seeds everywhere. Then he went into his laboratory, and made up a poison, returned outside again, lay down in the hole, poured soil over himself as much as he could, and descended into death. In the spring, in the abandoned garden there arose new sunflowers, some genetically modified, some rooted in the decaying body of the scientist, and growing firm and strong. And when summer came, and the wind blew, the sunflowers spoke, as they do, one to the other, but now with the whisper of strange new voices mingled with the old. And one day, the wife came with Perdita, and she looked at the abandoned garden, and she found a space by the sunflowers, and sat down with her daughter. And the wind blew, and she said, "Have you learned anything finally?" And the wind blew, and a sunflower nodded and said, "True flowers will only speak to true human beings." She smiled and said, "Yes, an exchange of dignities. Anything else?" The wind blew and the sunflower nodded, and said: "When we lose true flowers we lose true human beings." There was a long silence, and the wind blew high above the garden, and the clouds moved over and past the sun, and in the late afternoon Perdita got up and danced a little, garlanded with plaited weeds and flowers. And eventually, her mother got up and danced with her.

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Subject: RE: Story: The True Flower
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 12:41 PM

Aux, always good to read your translations. Thanks so much!

Peter, I've missed your spark!

She thought she heard the coral bells ringing, again. Out in the rock garden her brother had so diligently plotted and planted. It was a high, plaintive tinkley sound, faint on the wind. The last time she'd heard them, she had dreams...she left her body behind and travelled to she knew not where save it was full of fantastic flowers, over-sized trees, and everything of brighter, sharper, deeper hues; not just tangerine, but the deepest orange she'd ever seen, as were the aquas, forest greens, and all others. She was lighter than air and happier than she'd been in a long time. The whole time she could hear the coral bells until they called her back and she woke up. This time they sounded different, plus there was a deeper tone among them in a kind of counterpoint. Ah, she thought, must be the bluebells.

Lying back on the bed, she closed her eyes and begged to dream. She drifted off with the beautiful melody of the floral bells filling her mind and heart. Feeling lighter than air, she left her body behind and was suddenly there.

This time the flowers were as big as saucers and somehow even brighter and of colours she'd never seen in her other life. There was a bit more wind which blew a strong mix of scents towards her until she almost felt dizzy. Skimming over to one of the gigantic trees, she lowered herself to the ground and sat for a moment. Closing her eyes, she listened to the growth all around her, to the creaks and cracks of the tree limbs dancing with the zephyrs up above, and she drew in a deep breath, letting the glorious perfumes of the blossoms fill her every pore.

Again, she felt more wonderful than ever. When she heard the special call of the coral bells, warning her it was time to go back, her heart protested a little and a small tear fell down her cheek. As if they heard, the coral bells changed their tone ever so slightly, adding a bright promise of many returns. At that, she sighed, said goodbye for now in her mind and let go.

She woke up just as her nurse opened the curtains. "Would you like to sit up now, ma'am?" she asked.

"Yes, thank you. Today, I want to sit among the flowers in the garden." And, with that, her nurse picked up her frail and twisted body, cradling her close, then gently put her in the wheeled chair.

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Subject: RE: Story: The True Flower
From: JenEllen
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 06:22 PM

December 20, 2002
Today on my walk through town, I saw a little girl sobbing in the big old oak tree near the Catholic shrine. She had shed her coat and mittens, they lay on the ground, and she had on yellow Keds and a blue t-shirt that read: I Am the Walrus. She was pressing her face into the tree and her little chest heaved with what I first thought was cold, but then determined to be tears. Her mother was sitting at the base of the tree, fingering the roots. Suddenly, the little girl turned her face from the tree trunk and shouted "I am NOT coming down because the tree doesn't WANT me to come down! The tree says it doesn't understand WHY I have to come down, why EVERYONE always has to come down!"
Scary thing was, the mother then looked up at her, and she'd been crying too. Like she knew there was nothing she could do. Like she'd also once been someone who had climbed and not wanted to come down.

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Subject: RE: Story: The True Flower
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 02:30 PM

very nice

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Subject: RE: Story: The True Flower
From: Auxiris
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 09:57 AM

My heartfelt thanks for these stories; very good to be able to share them back and forth with others inn the forum who enjoy storytelling.

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année à tous!


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Subject: RE: Story: The True Flower
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Dec 02 - 01:51 PM

Thanks to you, too, Aux. It is always such a delight to read your stories!

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