There was a beautiful garden in which grew many flowers. The various flowers were separated neatly into different rows. So there was one row for orchids, one for jasmine, one for marigold and so on. But by accident it so happened that a rose and a sunflower grew side by side. The two flowers were a picture of contrast. One was a delicate pink rose and the other was a strong yellow sunflower. The rose spoke a rosy language and the sunflower spoke a sunny language. The sunflower thought that the rose was all vain and arrogant and the rose thought that the sunflower was so tall and ugly. They said mean and unfriendly words to each other in the flowery language spoken by flowers around the world.
‘Yellow yellow dirty fellow,’ the rose would tease the sunflower.
‘All beauty and no brains,’ the sunflower would answer back.
People would often stop by to admire the beautiful rose and take in it’s fragrance. ‘See your beauty is of no use, one day they will pluck you because of it and put you in a bouquet,’ the sunflower told the rose. The rose not to be left behind taunted the sunflower, ‘You follow the sun and become strong. Your strength is of no use, one day they will pluck you because of it and crush you to make oil.’
The two flowers would go on quarreling and fighting with each other. They became so bitter that the rose lost it’s fragrance and the sunflower lost it’s strength. They became ugly and useless. The gardener felt that he had no need for such flowers in his garden and decided to cut them.
‘It is all my fault. I was so lucky to grow alongside a sunflower instead of another rose. I could have learnt so much. But I just fought with you stupidly. Now we both will die.’ The rose was crying bitterly.
‘No I was so foolish. I could have enjoyed your sweetness by being your friend but I was so mean and jealous. Instead of becoming best friends we became bitter enemies,’ said the sunflower.
The two flowers stood there weeping. The sunflower suddenly exclaimed, ‘But we can still be friends. Till the time we live!’ The rose nodded happily and they decided to be the best of friends till they were alive.
Slowly the sunflower regained his strength. He became stronger and bigger than before. So big that the tiny rose could hardly be seen. And the rose regained her fragrance. Her fragrance increased so much that it seemed as if it was coming from the sunflower.
When the gardener came next to cut the strange pair he could not find the rose as the large yellow petals of the sunflower cleverly hid the rose. The gardener decided to chop the sunflower but he became lost in the pleasant perfume. ‘Oh goodness! The world has never known a sunflower with the aroma of a rose! How did I even think of cutting it? I will have to take extra care of this beauty.’
Their friendship grew each day. The rose spoke sweet words in her rosy language and the sunflower spoke warm words in his sunny language. And so the rare sunflower and the tiny rose hidden to all lived a very long and happy life.
This story was published in Orissa Post.