A story is told of a king who went into his garden one morning and found everything withering and dying. He asked an oak that stood near the gate what the trouble was. He found that it was sick of life and determined to die, because it was not tall and beautiful like the pine. The pine was out of heart because it could not bear grapes like the vine; the vine was going to throw its life away, because it could not stand erect and have as fine fruit as the pomegranate; and so on throughout the garden.
Coming to the pansy, the king found its bright face uplifted, as full of cheerfulness as ever. Said the king, “Well, pansy, I am glad to find one brave little flower in this general discouragement and dying. You don’t seem one bit disheartened.”
“No, your majesty. I know I am of small account; but I concluded you wanted a pansy when you planted me. If you had wanted an oak, or a pine, or a vine, or a pomegranate, you would have set one out. So I am bound to be the best pansy that ever I can.” ~William Moodie.
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This story was found in an old book I proofread. Mr. Moodie used a familiar contrasting style to serve a point: give thanks for the gift of life and be glad for what you have been given.
I love pansies; their brilliant colors are so welcome after a long dull winter. My favorite is the deep dark purple. In the center is the “old man sitting there with his feet in the bucket.” Have you ever noticed that? My grandma showed me that when I was a toddler. In case you missed that as you were growing up: take a pansy, pull the pretty petals off the stem and you are left with the tiny old man sitting there at the top of the stem, with his feet in the bucket. If you still don’t get it, wait till you can fetch a pansy and try it for real. The old man is in any color pansy! He’s the center of the flower.
All’s well that ends well.