The Unromantic Rose
We have certain expectations of a rose. A rose is expected to be silent, fragrant and short-lived. But not all roses play by these rules. For example, the Rackamanian Tiger Rose is the loudest flower in nature with a roar as full-throated as a jet fighter taking-off. The Rotting Cow Rose has a stench so foul it has been banned. The Sumerian Cleobulus Rose stays in bloom for 130 years.
Rosid Eudicot Merryweather was a rose that grew up in Scotland in 1864. While her brothers and sisters were content to bejewel themselves in dew and wave gently in the breeze, Rosid longed for the excitement of the wrestling ring. At night she dreamed of the slam of the mat and the baying crowd. All the other roses laughed at Rosid as she practised her ‘diving back elbow drops’, ‘hurricanranas’ and ‘leg trap camel clutches’, but Rosid didn’t care as she loved wrestling more than anything else.
One stormy Tuesday, it was announced that the roses were in competition with the cucumbers to host the summer party (the most important event of the year). As panic spread through the flowers, petals were shed and thorns sharpened. Rosid was the one rose that remained calm. A vast cucumber delegation arrived on Wednesday and announced that they would run the summer party and there was nothing the roses could do to stop them. As the other roses cowered behind the grass, Rosid turned to face the massed cucumber forces.
She shouted to their leader, “Do you believe cucumbers are stronger than roses?”
“Of course we are.”
“Then I challenge your strongest cucumber to a wrestle. If I win, we get the party.”
The cucumber mayor considered the offer before replying, “No, thanks”.
But cucumbers are gentle in nature and few of them wanted a mass confrontation with their pretty neighbours. Rosid’s offer spread down the cucumber ranks by whisper, and the mayor was over-ruled. The imperious official (green-faced with embarrassment) made a new announcement, “We accept your offer”. The cucumbers chose a champion, a bright young thing by the name of Burpless.
Burpless and Rosid met in the ring at sundown. Rosid wore a red cape and Burpless an emerald mask. The two combatants flew at each other with refreshing and sweet-bouqueted ferocity. Nobody had ever witnessed such elegant wrestling. So evenly matched were the opponents that neither side gained an advantage, but neither would give up. Today, the cucumber and the rose are still wrestling – forever married in a state of equable equilibrium.