Which Was the Happiest?
Then a tremendously big grasshopper came, seated himself on a rose near-by, and rubbed his shins. Strangely enough, among grasshoppers this is a token of affection.
The rose on which he perched did not understand it that way, but the one with the green crippled leaf did, for the big grasshopper looked at her with eyes that clearly meant, "I love you so much I could eat you." Surely this is as far as love can go, when one becomes part of another. But the rose was not taken in, and flatly refused to become one with this jumping fop. Then, in the starlit night a nightingale sang.
"He is singing just for me," said the rose with the blemish, or with the mark of distinction as she considered it. "Why am I so honored, above all my sisters? Why was I given this peculiarity - which makes me the luckiest one?"
Next to appear in the garden were two gentlemen, smoking their cigars. They spoke about roses and about tobacco. Roses, they say, are not supposed to stand tobacco smoke; it fades them and turns them green. This was to be tested, but the gentlemen would not take it upon themselves to try it out on the more perfect roses.
They tried it on the one with the defect.
"Ah ha! a new honor," the rose said. "I am lucky indeed - the luckiest of all." And she turned green with conceit and tobacco smoke.
One rose, little more than a bud but perhaps the loveliest one on the bush, was chosen by the gardener for the place of honor in an artistically tied bouquet. It was taken to the proud young heir of the household, and rode beside him in his coach. Among other fragrant flowers and beautiful green leaves it sat in all its glory, sharing in the splendor of the festivities. Gentlemen and ladies, superbly dressed, sat there in the light of a thousand lamps as the music played. The theater was so brilliantly illuminated that it seemed a sea of light. Through it swept a storm of applause as a young dancer came upon the stage. One bouquet after another showered down, in a rain of flowers at her feet.