Once upon a time there was a wild child by the name of Oğlan. People from a nearby village reported sightings of the boy, naked as the day he was born, fiery red hair tossed by the wind as he darted out from behind trees and back into the shadows. No one knew how he came to live in the Great Pine Forest or how he survived the harsh seasons of the region. The village’s wisest sages believed that he was cared for by a sextet of Middle Sky fairies who kept him safe and taught him the ways of the land. They also supposed that he was enchanted; perhaps, even a fallen faerie.
One day Oğlan found a spindly sprout of a twig as he was foraging for berries in the Great Meadow. He fashioned a bed of pebbles around the plant and tended to it for days, to no avail. Barely a leaf or a bud grew from the spindly sprout. Oğlan called on his faerie guides for help.
“Come out, come out wherever you are. I need your wisdom from the stars.”
One by one the faeries floated down to the boy hovering just above the earth. Sky faeries must never touch the earth you see, or they will lose their wings.
“What have you got there, boy?” inquired Solana the faerie from the east.
“Whatever it is, it doesn’t look like much,” added the western faerie, Zephira.
“Since the day I found this poor little spindly sprout,” Oğlan lamented, “no matter what I do, this naked twig of a thing does not seem to want to do much of anything.”
“Maybe you need to give it a name,” Solana suggested.
“Oh that’s good! A name will give it purpose, an identity…a reason to be,” Zephira chimed in.
One by one the other faeries offered their ideas to the boy.
Vanelia spoke first, “I think you should call it Anemone. She will bring you good fortune and protection and she will even tell you when it is going to rain by closing her petals.”
“I think you should call your twig Rose,” Dulcina swooned. “She will bring you love, hope and the promise of new beginnings. Her thorns will remind you that the truest of all true things requires sacrifice.”
“Well, I think you should name her Wisteria, true to the mysterious state that you first found her in,” Bryoni clucked. “She is obviously a hearty twig. As Wisteria, she will be immortal.”
“Why have one or two fine qualities, as lovely as each of them are,” Amulia smiled smugly at the others, before extolling the virtues of her suggestion. “Most prized, beloved bloom, magnificent in splendor, epitome of love and strength, you should name her Orchid.”
Oğlan pondered the qualities of each name before announcing his choice. “Thank you one and all for the most excellent advice.” He leaned over the sprout and whispered, “You shall be called Orchid, little twig. Orchid shall you be, forevermore!”
Seconds later, a tiny bud swelled from the tip of the spindly sprout, bursting into a beautiful delicate purple-white bloom. And for his act of good will and kindness, Oğlan sprouted wings, finally able to return to his home in Middle Sky with his faerie sisters six.
When the village sages discovered the Orchid blooming amidst a circle of pebbles in the Great Meadow, they knew it was a sign. They decreed that Oğlan was indeed an enchanted boy. And that is how Orchids came to be the most beautiful, rare, coveted flowers in all the land.
If you are ever fortunate enough to have an Orchid of your very own, don’t despair if she loses her petals and resembles Oğlan’s spindly sprout of a twig. Whisper to her gently by name. In due time she will grace you with the gift of a precious bloom, just as she did for Oğlan. (It is unlikely you will sprout wings though…unless, of course, you are a faerie!)
-kat – 6 March 2016
For Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Microfiction challenge based on this painting by Ferdinand Hodler called The Chosen Few.