And That, My Children,
is how Flowers Came to be
What? A story? But I just told you one! And here you are asking for more. Very well. But only one, or Mother will accuse me of spoiling you. And she’d be right, too.
But now, my children, listen closely, and I’ll spin you a tale… the story of how flowers came to be. And it’s true, mind you, though some people find it hard to believe, for…
… this is a story of magic.
It’s a story of clouds, of rainbows, of love and – most of all – it is the story of a little girl.
The story took place many, many lifetimes ago in a world that was very young. It was a world without many of the terrible things that we have today. Murder was unknown. Sickness was rare, and not the cause for alarm that it often is today.
Unfortunately, many of the beautiful things that we have today had not come into being, either. There were no snowflakes; no candy canes; no gingerbread sweets; and perhaps saddest of all, no flowers.
The world was new, and had not been finished yet, so these things – some good, some bad – were still missing.
There were rainbows, though: great, beautiful things that would dwarf the small, less vivid arcs of today’s world.
It was on these great ‘bows of old that little Kari loved to play.
Kari was an elemental: a being formed of the very stuff with which God had fashioned the earth in the not-so-distant past. As such, she could fly through the depths of the sea, and lie on cool currents of air… and above all, she could play on the rainbows.
Kari was at one with Mother Nature: a friend to all, and beloved by all in return.
Now, I say that Kari was a friend to Nature, and surely she was, but her favorite things, the things she loved most, were the rainbows. Each morning she would wake and rise, then ask the sun where she might find her friends. She would travel on whisping currents of air until she saw a ‘bow in the distance, her friend Wind kissing and caressing her as she flew. Kari would then climb with delight up the huge, many-colored spectrum that was so beautiful to her.
Once at the top, she would sit and admire the view. She looked at forests, at rivers, at mountains, at plains.
These were her happiest moments. The only unhappiness came when her gaze occasionally fell upon a meadow. She was unhappy because there was so little there. Only grass. And grass didn’t look as nice back then, because the sun was still learning to be bright, and the grass looked… well… a bit odd in that pale light.
At these times, Kari would tell the ‘bows of her sadness, and because she was an elemental and a friend, the rainbows would murmur sympathetically, speaking in sad tones of blue and green, whispering the pale red of sympathy, touching her with mauve waves that said, “We are sorry. But we love you, and so be happy, sweet one.”
All in all, though, Kari was happy, and at peace, and at the end of the day, as the sun began to fade and the rainbow with it, Kari would slide down the gentle slope to the ground, pat her friend as it faded, and then sleep.
It was a very nearly perfect life.
The only things that kept it from being truly perfect were the colorless meadows, which were trivial; and the clouds, which were not.
Now, my children, you must understand something. The clouds were mean-spirited back then. They were the baddest of Creation, the worst of the evil elementals, and lived only to cause mischief. Often they would overpower the weak sun and blanket parts of the young world with shadow. They loved ugliness and fear, and everyone hated or felt sad for them.
The worst thing about them, though, was that they were the enemies of the rainbows. Theirs’ was a hatred born of jealousy, for the clouds saw that the rainbows were bold, and colorful, and beautiful, while the clouds remained ever dark, and silent, and ominous.
So one day the clouds called all of the evil elementals together for a meeting. There were dragons and manticores, witches and specters. All came, and it was to these creatures of horror that the clouds spoke.
Well, yes, my lovelies, you’re right. There are no more of those creatures. They are gone, like many things of that time. And how did they disappear?
Why, the clouds had a plan. They wished to cloak, not just a part of the world, but the entire earth in darkness. It was an evil, horrible plan designed to destroy the earth’s most beautiful things, and most specifically to destroy the rainbows.
The evil elementals all agreed to the clouds’ wicked plan. They gave up their very essence to the clouds, trading their lives for power, and as each empty husk of a body fell to the earth and disappeared, the clouds grew stronger.
Finally the clouds were ready, and they spread over the whole of the earth, cutting off the feeble sun and chuckling bright spats of lightning as they contemplated the rainbows’ destruction.
Kari woke that day to the sound of a feeble moaning. It was the rainbows, and they were all dying.
She looked around in horror and saw immediately what was going on. “Stop!” she shouted at the black, angry clouds. “Please, you’re hurting them!”
The only answer she received was an evil chuckle that thundered out through the dark, roiling sky. The clouds were completely in control for the first time, and they knew it.
“Help!” screamed Kari, panicked with fright. “Sun! Burn away the clouds! They’re killing the rainbows!”
“I can’t,” whispered the muffled reply from behind the largest and darkest thunderhead. “They are too strong.”
“Try!” cried Kari. “Please, please try!”
There was a pause, and then the sun said, “Very well,” in fearful, fatigued tones.
And try it did, but the tiny orb was no match for the gigantic clouds. At last, exhausted, the sun wheezed, “I can’t. Their essence is too strong. Their power is too great for mine.”
Kari stood still for a moment, and for that moment it was as though time stood still with her. All seemed to stop as she looked around her, seeing the beautiful world as though for the first time, though it would be her last.
When she moved, it was to look at the sky as she said, “All right. Then I… I will help you, Sun.”
The fading rainbows, suddenly understanding, cried out to stop her, but it was too late. Kari’s physical body fell slowly to the ground, dead.
But her life! Her essence! It floated up through the clouds, which cried out in tempestuous rage as they saw their defeat. Up, up, up, until it reached the sun, and became one with it. It wasn’t much, for Kari was only one elemental, and a small one at that, but it sufficed.
Instantly the sun grew as it received the new power. And as it grew, the clouds were pushed back or destroyed, becoming pale shadows of what they had been.
For a moment, silence reigned. Then, rejoicing enveloped the land as the rainbows exalted in their salvation. Red cheers and yellow whistles, green giggles and indigo shouts rang out and filled the clean, newly pure air.
Soon, however, the ‘bows began to weep as they remembered their playmate: their friend who was no more. They wept, and their colored tears fell to the earth in bright splashes of hue and tone. And where the tears fell, there they remained, and took root, and lived, and flourished.
And, perhaps coincidentally, many fell to the meadows of the world. The rainbows cried, and were sad, but the tears took root in the ground and gave rise to happiness…
And that, my children, my loves, is how flowers came to be, and why they always reach toward the sun. The small parts of the rainbows remember their wonderful playmate, you see, and so they reach out to her – or that part of the sun that she is now – and she kisses each petal with her light and with her love…