982 WHO WAS THE LUCKIEST ?
flew along the boards, breaking its stalk as it fell. It did not come into the hands of the favourite, it rolled behind the scenes, where a scene-shifter took it up, saw how beautiful it was, how full of fragrance it was, but there was no stalk on it. So he put it in his pocket, and when he went home in the evening it was in a dram-glass, and lay there in water the whole night. Early in the morning it was set before the grandmother, who sat in her armchair, old and frail. She looked at the lovely broken rose, and rejoiced in its beauty and its scent.
' Yes, you did not go to the rich and fine lady's table, but to the poor old woman; but here you are like a whole rose-tree ; how lovely you are !'
And she looked with childlike delight at the flower, and thought, no doubt, of her own long-past youthful days.
' There was a hole in the pane,' said the wind, ' I easily got in, and saw the old woman's eyes, youthfully shining, and the lovely, broken rose in the dram-glass. The luckiest of all! I know it! I can tell it !'
Each rose on the tree had its story. Each rose believed and thought itself to be the luckiest, and faith makes blessed. The last rose, however, was the luckiest of all, in its own opinion.
' I outlived them all! I am the last, the only one, mother's dearest child ! '
' And I am the mother of them !' said the rose-hedge.
' I am that !' said the sunshine.
' And 1/ said wind and weather.
' Each has a share in them ! ■ said the wind, ' and each shall get a share in them !' and so the wind strewed the leaves out over the hedge, where the dew-drops lay, where the sun shone. ' I, also, will get my share/ said the wind. ' I got all the stories of all the roses, which I will tell out in the wide world ! Tell me now, which was the luckiest of them all ? Yes, you must say that; I have said enough !'