The Humble Tulip
Written by Miranda Carter
Once, there was a sunshine yellow tulip named Tess. Tess lived in a very busy garden where lots of folk stopped to smell her and the rest of the flowers. She was planted right under a large, wooden window where she could smell Master’s gooseberry pies in the spring and hear the echoes of the grand piano being played. Yes, under the window sill was a very nice spot to be.
It provided shade from the garish sun in the summer and let her sleep sound without the pounding of raindrops on her petals.
Now Tess had a niece, a very pretty little blush rose nearly ready to blossom. Her name was Regina and she loved to be marveled at. Whenever Master would come to give his flowers a drink, Regina would stretch her petals out so as to let them catch the light of the sun and showcase the way the deep pink faded into white and the Master would say, “You are a very pretty rose aren’t you?” She kept on like this for many days all the way into summertime, reaching out each time someone passed by. This made Tess very nervous so she resolved to speak to Regina about it,
“Regina dear, you ought not poke your bud out like that into the bright sun! It has the power to wilt your petals and dry your stem!” She called from her shady spot under the window sill.
“Oh, Aunt Tess!” Regina placed herself back into the shadows, “You are such a worry weed!
It really is no wonder no one ever compliments you or even bothers to smell you, when all you do is stay in the shade.”
Soon, Regina’s petals were fully spread and even the biggest, most scarlet of the roses praised her. Still, Tess watched with worry advising Regina every day to stop her boasting, but she did not listen to her wise aunt.
One rainy wednesday when all of the flowers were huddled under the sill, they heard The Master speaking to a friend he had over to play cards with. He said, “I really wanna give her something special! You know?” This conversation did not interest the flowers until they heard themselves mentioned and the tiger lillies hushed the irises, “They are speaking about us!” they cried with a Shhh!
“Yes, yes. Hey! What if you gave her something from your garden? Why that’d be special, you spend day and night on those plants they ought to be better than any you could buy!”
At that the flowers went into great fits of excitement each hoping to be picked as the most beautiful and worthy.
It went on like this for a while and the flowers began to get impatient to see who was going to be picked.
“Why, Regina of course!” Said Regina’s closest friend, Marian who was a Marigold.
“Oh, stop, Marian, I’m blushing!”
The skies soon cleared and the sun came out again and with the sun came the admirers,
Regina’s admirers. One sunday evening while all of the other buds and blooms were asleep Tess heard a whisper. “Aunt Tess! Aunt Tess!”
It was Regina. Tess could barely see her in the dark of night.
“What? What is it, Regina dear?” Regina sheepishly leaned into a ray of light that shone from Master’s reading lamp. Tess gasped in horror. Regina’s lovely petals were wrinkled and cracked. Some had even been shed and lay, wilted in the dirt. Her stem and the remaining petals looked dull and dry, she even had a bend in her back that made her head droop.
“Oh, poor Regina!” Tess wrapped her leaf around her in comfort.
“I shall never be beautiful again, Aunt Tess. I am no more lovely than an old clover.”
Morning came and with it the Master and a few gardening instruments. Could this be the day? The day he chose the most beautiful of flowers? Upon seeing the Master all of the flowers curled their leaves and twisted their stems to appear the most lovely. All except Regina who remained in her wise Aunt’s arms, mourning her beauty.
“Now, which will it be? Let’s see…” The master reached for a tiger lilly and examined her stripes. But to her disappointment he shook his head and moved onto a pretty chrysanthemum.
“Nope. Not quite. Nearly…”
These were his words as he looked over all of the bed until arriving under the window sill.
“Well now…” Regina straightened up and looked to tess, could she be the bud he was going to chose?
“Even with my wilted petals I am still the most beautiful!” She said to her aunt. But to all the bud’s surprise Master reached for the lively, smooth petaled, humble and radiant Tess.
“You are a sight for sore eyes, Miss Tulip! I think you’ll do just fine!” And he set to carefully digging her roots up.
And so Tess the humble tulip was taken to Siggie Rotham’s house and was put in the finest of porcelain pots adorned with watercolor paints where she was watered every day and admired by each visitor who had tea at the table.