And this is one of my favourite times of the year! Valentine’s Day! Such a sweet season! Spring on the way here in England and a few snowdrops pointing their pretty heads through the grass. And of course, February the 14th is marked as the most romantic day of the year.
So to celebrate, I’m here with two Romantic fables by the ancient Greek writer, Aesop. The first is called the Rose and the Butterfly.
A Butterfly once fell in love with a beautiful Rose. And if the truth be told, the Rose rather fancied the Butterfly. He was very handsome indeed, with wings powdered in a charming pattern of gold and silver. And so, when he fluttered near and told the rose how he loved her, she blushed rosily and said she loved him back.
For a while, they were happy spending all their free time together and never thought of anyone else. The Butterfly would whisper sweet words of nothing in the roses’ petals. And the Rose replied, “My my Mr Butterfly, I do declare, your sweet words could charm the morning dew right off the honeysuckle.” They exchanged solemn vows to love no one else but each other.
Then one day, the Butterfly announced that he had to fly away on business.
"No need for tears. I will soon return. Never doubt that you are my One True Love," he said as he left.
But alas! It was a long time before he came back.
"Is this what you mean by one true love?" she exclaimed tearfully. "It has been ages since you went away, and all that time, you have been carrying on with all sorts of flowers. I saw you kiss Miss Orchid, and you were fluttering hopelessly around Miss Mignonette until Bumble Bee chased you away. I wish he had stung you!"
"One True Love,” laughed the Butterfly. "I had no sooner left you than I saw the Westerly Breeze, Mr Zephyr, blowing you hot kisses. You were giggling coyly with Mr Bumble Bee, and you made eyes at every single Bug you could see. You can't expect any One True Love from me!"
And the moral is,
Do not expect to be loved with all of someone’s heart … unless you love them with all of yours.
Ah - that story started so sweetly,and it ended with a harsh but true lesson. Like most of Aesop’s tales, it’s quite short, so I asked Bertie if he could find a second romantic fable for us. How did you get on Bertie?
Well it isn’t easy finding Aesop stories about love. Most are about scheming animals, like wolves that gobble up lambs, or foxes that trick birds into becoming their lunch. But I did come across another tale featuring a Rose. It’s originally called the Rose and the Amaranth. Amaranth means “everlasting” flower, but these days not many people have heard of it, so we are using its other name, which is Pigweed.
Sounds Intriguing. I’m really looking forward to reading that story in just over a minute’s time, so don’t go away. First it’s time to catch up with our sponsor, Wondery and their new podcast the adventures of Cairo.
Meet Cairo Carter. He's a curious and friendly seven-year-old who's determined to navigate life in the big city. From Wondery: The Adventures of Cairo bring you stories about kindness, safety, courage - and why division homework is the worst!
In his first adventure, Cairo and his friends can’t contain their excitement when the school field trip to the aquarium is announced.
But after doing some extra chores around the house to earn money for the trip, he’s tempted to buy some super cool slime with his new earnings instead.
Whenever Cairo feels a little lost, he can always depend on his family, his friends, and his community to help him learn and have tons of fun along the way - because sometimes being seven is hard work.
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The Pigweed and the Rose.
A rose, young, beautiful, and proud, grew alongside a common pigweed.
Often, passers-by stopped to gaze at the bright colours of the Rose’s petals.
Quite often people breathed in her delicate fragrance.
And it wasn’t unusual for people to pay her compliments, like, “Such a lovely rose. So very enchanting.”
But seldom, if ever, would anyone notice the poor, ordinary pigweed.
The rose held up her lovely head proudly and said to her neighbour:
So no doubt you see
None go without observing me
While I perceive that very few
Seem to take note of you
Oooh Ouch! That Rose has Sharp Thorns! You might think that was quite a stinging thing to say.
But the rose was surprised when the pigweed failed to hang her humble head in shame. Instead she replied with the following self-assured speech.
Sweet Rose, you are more pleasing to the eye
That is a fact I do not deny
But listen up, when your beauty’s gone
My humble flowers keep shining on
Less exquisite they longer last
Unchanged, I’m glad, when yours are past.
So when all that matters is said and done
My affections have stayed the course and won
For Love is the rosebud of an hour
While loyality is the everlasting flower.
Hey Good Comeback! A Pigweed she might be - but it turned out that she was as proud as the Rose in her own sweet way, because beauty does not last. True love,loyalty and faithful friendship are more valuable than looks.
And I’m delighted to dedicate this episode to Cecilia Gonzalez-Jimenez aged 13 who kindly supports storynory.
Thank you Cecelia, its really generous of you - we hope you enjoyed these stories about the Rose