The Golden Rose
by Patricia Darak
“Mommy! Is it time for our bedtime story?” I walked into our son’s bedroom and sat down next to him. “Well? Is it time?” His little hands were balled into fists with excitement.
“Yes, son,” I said while he snuggled close. “I’ve got a good one tonight.”
“Mommy, all of your stories are the good ones.”
“Thank you, son. Are you ready?”
He laid his head down on his fluffy pillow. “Ready!”
“Okay. Here we go.”
Once upon a time, there was a Queen who became quite confused. While wandering in her garden, which was filled with both greenery and flowers of every kind, the Queen had gotten lost.
When the Queen started to get tired, she stopped walking and looked around. She had never actually noticed any of the other equally beautiful and fragrant flowers that lined all of the twisting pathways in the Royal Garden.
This was why the Queen became confused. Since she had not bothered to notice any of the other flowers, she had no idea where she was in the garden.
The Queen was lost!
She tried to cry out for help, but the high green walls in the garden let no sound escape without turning it into a faint whisper. She looked on the ground, hoping to follow her footprints out of the maze, but the path was strewn with flower petals and leaves and showed no footprints. She tried to see the sun, so that she might follow the shadows, but she couldn’t tell where the sunlight was coming from.
The Queen then decided to turn around and walk back to where she started from. But, she had despairingly turned around in circles so many times that she really had no idea which path she was to take.
The Queen felt hopeless. She felt defeated. She felt a little scared. But, most of all, she was starting to get hungry. “Oh,” she said quietly to herself, “I would love to eat lunch here in the garden, then continue on my quest to find the Golden Rose.” Once more, she looked around. “Will I ever find my way out? Will someone rescue me? Will I ever find the Golden Rose?”
Just then, the Queen heard giggling and saw some branches shaking. It was her family, coming toward her and calling out for her. “Mommy! Mommy! Where are you, Mommy?”
The Queen could not contain her relief and joy. “Over here! I am over here! Hurry, darlings!” She laughed and clapped her hands at the sight of her three children and husband running around the corner waving branches and grinning. “Oh, Mommy! There you are! Why did you disappear?”
The Queen knelt down and hugged the children while her husband, the King, leaned forward and stroked her hair. “Yes, darling,” said the King with a twinkle in his eyes, “why did you leave us all alone? We wondered what had become of you. We were worried that pirates had made off with you.” He winked at her.
Standing up, the Queen blushed and lowered her head. “I was so silly. I was chasing around, looking for the biggest and most beautiful Golden Rose while ignoring everything else. Can you believe that there are flowers here of every color of the rainbow, and I was concerned with only one? I missed all of this beauty, and for what? Silliness!”
“Oh, Mommy!” The King and Queen, startled, looked down at their three children, then burst out laughing. Soon, their laughter was joined by that of their children.
The King clapped his hands once, then declared, “Well, it’s time to make our way back to the Palace.” The three children groaned good-naturedly. “Aww, Daddy! Can’t we stay for just a little while longer?”
The Queen placed her arm around her husband’s waist. “Children, I think that your father is quite correct. I, for one, should like to see my way out of all this greenery. Shall we?”
So, all five members of the royal family marched single-file out of the Royal Garden and up to the Palace. Then, the three children hurried to the waiting lunch in the dining room.
The King and Queen hugged each other. “Why,” the King asked, “was nothing else as good as this Golden Rose? Why were you seeking that which you didn’t have, instead of enjoying the wonder of that which you did have?”
The Queen looked up at the King. “I don’t know. I suppose that, because it was around me every day, I stopped appreciating the beauty. I’ll not soon make that mistake again.”
The King lovingly gazed down at her. “Good, because I don’t want you to miss everything wonderful that is all around you.”
The Queen smiled. “Like you?” and, surprisingly, she winked at him. The King, caught off guard, laughed.
“Shall we have lunch?”
“I’d love to.”
And, they lived happily ever after.
My son was now deeply asleep, a small smile on his angelic face. I was so glad that I was not missing the beauty in my own life.
Now it was time to read the story to the girls, and then snuggle my own pillow for sweet dreams.