The Valley of Blue Roses

Once there was a village up in the mountains of the far North, where the people lived in mud huts with thatched roofs, and where the green meadows were interspersed with a multitude of beautiful blue roses. But there was a cruel king who ruled supreme in the castle on the hill who forced his people to pay huge taxes they could not possibly afford.

The people, driven to despair, picked and sold the fabulous blue roses, which fetched a good price because they did not grow anywhere else in the country. The village carpenter’s daughter tried to stop them, telling them that the roses would not last forever and that they could never grow back. But the people replied to her, “How else do you expect us to put food on the spoons of our children?”

And so it became a trade, and much money it made too. The people indulged in their good fortunes and built vast mansions, threw great banquets and employed hundreds of servants, and there was plenty gold left over to pay the king’s taxes.

A decade later the blue roses were exhausted from the village. The people, not having saved their money for hard times, could not afford to pay their servants or keep up their marvellous homes, and the village fell into disrepair and poverty.

Many people died through that winter, and when Spring came Mitzi the carpenter’s daughter had just recovered from a deadly disease that killed her father and mother and all her brothers and sisters. She was weeding her herb garden, which was worth very little, one day, when she spotted a blue rose sprung up through the spindly tangle of her dead lavender plants. She cared for the rose tenderly, but no other roses sprouted.

A few days later the baker’s son delivering her weekly ration of hard bread spotted the rose, picked it and was just going out to show it off to the village before selling it for gold when an angry Mitzi burst from the house screaming at him. He dropped the rose, and the last blue rose to be seen in the far North was trampled underfoot.

Crying, Mitzi took her pack and left home, walking and walking for days on foot. She walked anywhere, just to be away from the evil king and the greedy villagers. She walked on high ground so as to spot any hamlets or farmhouses where she might find work or shelter for a night or two.

And wherever she stepped, when she was far from her home village, a blue rose sprung up from under her feet. They were bluer than any others anyone had ever seen, and had a definite magical sparkle to them.

Then suddenly Mitzi dropped her purse of the money she had saved while the rest of the village grew fat and rich. And she knew that she could not live without her money, for who takes in a ragged vagabond, a young girl travelling alone, with no means in which to repay your kindness, without some essence of distrust and suspicion?

It is said that Mitzi combed the valley for days, but never found her purse. No; she died from starvation there in that valley, and a tall cairn of stones marked the spot where she sank to her knees and admitted defeat to the elements.

The blue roses on the high ground soon died from the gales and storms, but the ones in sheltered Dewdrop Valley remain to this day, and are most splendorous by the glory of an orange sunset in the early autumn. They say that if you dig all over the valley you will find under the soil the purse of a few copper coins and Mitzi’s handkerchief still wet with her tears. But that would spoil the roses…

The End

0 comments about this story Feed