The Nightingale and the Rose

Once upon a time, in a glade surrounded by sycamore trees there grew a rose bush. Seasons drifted by without a single rose blooming, but the little rose bush was patient. It was not yet her time. One night the glade was visited by a handsome nightingale who perched upon the branches of a nearby sycamore tree. A silence fell over the glade as if all the creatures of the night held their breath at once, in expectation. As a gentle breeze began to blow and the clouds that hung high above freed the pale light from the moon, it happened. The nightingale began his song, softly at first so there was but a hint of music upon the air, but then slowly as the nightingale continued, the song drifted throughout the entire glade. The little rose bush trembled as the nightingale’s song reached her, and her leafy tendrils gently swayed to his haunting music. His song spoke of beauty and loneliness, of longing and a love so true that poets and minstrels would speak of it for thousands of years to come. As the melody slowly embraced her and his song lovingly caressed her, a single white rose grew upon the little rose bush, its petals furled and glistening with dew in the silvery moonlight.

Every night for a month the nightingale came and perched upon the sycamore tree and sang his song of love and longing to the rose, and every night he flew away sadly, for she never unfurled his petals to him, though his music moved her so. Finally, after a second month had come and gone, the rose anxiously waited for the nightingale and his song of love and devotion, but he was nowhere to be found. No song drifted down to her from within the branches of the sycamore, no music embraced her petals, sending shivers all the way down her thorny stem, to her very roots. And the rose was lonely.

Three days passed and still there was no sign of her nightingale, and the rose grew sadder and sadder, but then suddenly, as the clouds drifted away from the moon allowing its rays to bathe the glade in its enchanted moonlight a soft fluttering of wings was heard within the branches of the sycamore trees. The rose held her breath, praying that it was her nightingale come to sing to her. Moments passed and there was only silence, but then gently, upon the breeze the nightingale’s voice drifted down to her. It was a mournful and melancholic song speaking of loneliness and longing and of an unrequited love that was almost impossible to bear. The rose listened to the nightingale’s song and smiled a tender smile to herself. Slowly she unfurled her white petals to the nightingale for she now realized that she loved him with all her heart and she could not bear to be without him and his song. From the sycamore tree came a light flutter of wings and the nightingale flew down to perch upon the rose bush, beside the white rose. His song was joyous. So joyous in fact that he didn’t feel his breast pressing against one of the rose’s thorns. The nightingale sang and sang, and as he sang the thorn pressed deeper within his breast until on his final note it pierced his heart, staining the white rose red. The glade grew silent as the nightingale fell dead to the earth. And thus, the red rose was born. Out of love, longing and song.