The Littlest Rosebud

The Littlest Rosebud

A garden learns it isn't a;ways the largest plant that is the most beautiful.


Fantasy / Sci-fi


Shana Wilson (United States)

There was once a garden that smelled bitter and sweet. A passerby might wrinkle his nose at the thought of this odd combination, but this garden managed to smell pleasant. It held spectacular beds of flowers and pots of various plants. Proud pink peonies perfumed the air with sweet scents. Green ferns unfurled their velvety leaves from their tight coils. Medicinal plants and herbs, such as minute milk thistle and pleasant peppermint, overflowed in large terracotta pots, stacked along the stone walls of the enclosure. At night, the flowers would close inwardly to rest their feathery petals. When the dawn rose again on the horizon, the buds would awaken, spreading their colored foliage like wings on a butterfly. And when the dewdrop fairies came ‘round to sprinkle moisture upon them, the flowers would sing the song of nature.

Now, in the far corner of the garden, grew an awe-inspiring rose bush. The most beautiful red roses grew on this bush. One touch of their petals was softer than the silken dresses of princesses. One smell of their sweet scent was more desirable than any perfume on a woman in court. And their coloring was as deep as the red lips of a queen.

The roses knew they were the most beautiful flowers in the garden, and this made them very proud and vain. They stood tall and snobbish, making sure they displayed every inch of their beautiful petals. At the top of the rose bush was the biggest rose of them all. He was the softest, the sweetest-smelling, and the most vibrant. He was also the proudest of them all. He knew he was the most handsome, and he liked to gloat about it.

“See how red my petals are!” he would say, fluttering his leaves with pride. “See how sweet I smell and how soft I am!” He would taunt and tease the nearby blooms, making them blush with insecurity.

But the big rose’s favorite activity was to mock the tiny rosebud at the very bottom of the bush. The rose on the bottommost branch was small, and weak. The other roses were so big, they blocked the sunlight from shining over him. He had crumpled petals that were brown at the edges, and folded in on themselves. He barely had any smell to him, and a simple touch from another may have blown him straight off the branch.

“Tiny flower!” The biggest rose would scorn. “Little, tiny, puny rose! Who would ever want you in their bouquet? Who would ever want you to brighten their home? You mean nothing in this garden!” The other roses would laugh and join in, making sure to stretch their leaves so the sunlight was shielded even further.

The little rose would tremble and shake, but he never believed what they said. He liked the way he was, and knew if he looked like the other roses, he would be as proud and vain as they were. The other flowers would shield the little rose, reassuring him with their kind words.

“You don’t need to be big or gaudy to be beautiful” they would say. “You are much better looking than those other roses because you have the kindest heart.” And the littlest rosebud would smile and perk up a bit, releasing his hint of fragrance.

One day, the biggest rose was shaking and swishing his leaves around like always. The day was grey, and the sun was hidden behind dark clouds. Did that stop the biggest rose? No. He continued with his daily show-off, bragging and whirling around. And the littlest rosebud stretched out to find the tiniest ray of sunlight. But there was none.

The garden was different that day. The flowers had not come out as usual. The smell of dampness hung heavily in the air, leaving a fog thick as mud to cover the ground. The warning of rain was whispered all around. They all knew, somehow, that something was going to happen.

The rain began to pour down, drenching the flowers with its heavy wetness. The tiny rosebud raised his leaves in a feeble attempt to shield himself from the pounding droplets.

Simultaneously, a dewy eyed doe pranced over the wall. She was a magnificent beauty, with four long and lean legs, and a warm torso coated in a fluffy, almost golden down. Two soft eyes lay unblinking, and her ears stood straight up. Cautious at first, the creature nimbly danced her way through the rows of plantlife. She perused her choice of dinner, looking at each flower carefully, until the scrumptious red roses caught her eye.

The flowers shied away, trying to hide themselves from the leaf-eating fiend as she maneuvered towards the rose bush. The roses trembled in fear as a wet, black nose approached the green foliage. The other flowers snorted at the vain flowers’ fear.

“Now they’ll see,” they whispered amongst one another. “They will know how it feels to be afraid and small and weak.” The tiniest rose looked on in horror. He knew it would be unjust for the other roses to be forced to face this torture. It was wrong for the roses to be proud and vain, but it was not right for them to die for it.

The smallest rose weakly wrapped his vines around the creature’s foot, making it look down. The creature saw the feeble bud, and went to bite him instead of the other roses. At the last moment, before the animal could take the rose and chew him between her white, worn teeth, the baby rose moved so the doe got a mouthful of thorns instead of juicy flower.

The rose squealed with the doe as his stem snapped, and he fell to the wet ground with a soft sigh. The intruder spat the contents of her mouth out, and leaped over the wall as fast as her legs could carry.

The garden was silent. The rain continued to tumble down, mirroring the sorrow the flowers felt for the death of the tiny, weak rosebud. Even the big rose at the top felt a twinge of remorse. The nearby blooms wept at the lost of such a faithful friend. They gathered the broken stem and flower, and lifted them into their leafy arms. A spot in the center of the flowers was cleared, and the small twig on the end of the bud was buried on the soil. The flower hung limply, petals wilting and brown.

Suddenly, the clouds broke through and the sun shone. The world seemed to be bathed in the brightest light, glowing with hope. Moments passed, and nothing happened.

But then the dead flower twitched. Then again. And again. And again. The flower was squirming and twitching as new life poured in. His petals grew bigger and bigger, and filled with color. His stem flew upwards and sprouted more, until a whole new rosebush took its place.The tiniest rosebud had transformed into the biggest rose. It was easily the size of a grown man’s palm. He was full and healthy, glowing with the redness of a setting sun. The other flowers waved and danced, rejoicing in the life brought back to them. The once-proudest rosebud apologized, taking his vanity away. The once-littlest rose sweetly forgave his bitterness, remembering that a garden cannot exist without the bitter-sweetness of vanity. And from then on, the once despised rose grew the most beautiful, humble blooms.

Competition: Friendly feedback, Round 1



The reviews for this submission haven't been published yet.