The Rose Cutter
There was once a rose that bloomed on a vine, twining close around a fence that lay on a major walking thoroughfare. It was a stunning thing, and very much out of season, with a fragrance that could not help but cause all who passed by to smile faintly to themselves.
The rose held the kind of beauty that had the power to change a person’s day from bad to good. It was this power that caused those who saw it to delight in its lovely, delicate presence. Though no one spoke of it to one another as they moved past each other on the thoroughfare, there was a secret knowledge shared by all—a community of witnesses made of knowing that there was wonder in the world.
One day, however, the first passerby of the morning noticed a shockingly horrific state of affairs: the rose had been cut.
No longer did the bloom offer comfort, or sudden small smiles, or changes from bad days to good. As the frowns on the faces of the passersby grew longer, each carried with them their own burden of loss. For some, they found themselves melancholy. For others, their hearts were deep in sorrow. Still others were badly perplexed in wondering who could have subjected the rose to such a cruel fate. And then there were those who were angry.
From the latter grew a mad desire to hunt down the cutter of the rose, which spread through all the passersby, until each one of them agreed to participate in a hunt. Surreptitiously they sneaked about houses, or knocked on doors, or peered through windows. They scaled trees to see into upper floors, and entered into curiously veiled conversations, looking for a hint, a whiff, of the fate of the rose.
But this was all to no avail, and as the passersby met one day along the fence by the stunted nub of the cut flower, they all agreed that there was little that could be done to find the rose cutting culprit who had caused such harm.
As they stood in a group, one of the passersby felt a tug on the back of his overcoat.
‘What are you doing?’ a small boy asked, loud enough to garner the attention of all who gathered.
‘We are discussing the rose that was once blooming on this vine before it was horrifically and brutally cut,’ said one man.
A look of shock came to the boy’s eyes, which widened and then fell to the ground. He shuffled his feet for a moment as the crowd looked on.
‘It was me,’ he finally said. ‘I cut the rose.’
The crowd of passersby gasped, and began to murmur to one another, each wondering how so small a child with such a good-natured face could do something so dreadful.
‘But why?’ a woman asked. ‘Why would you do such a thing?’
The boy looked up, then looked down again, his cheeks flushed pink. He thought over he words for a moment, and then he said, ‘My sister cannot walk. I thought she ought to see the flower, and so I cut it down to show her, for it was such a lovely thing.’
The crowd was silent for a moment.
Then a man put his hand on the boy’s shoulder and said, ‘You couldn’t have done anything less, lad.’
In the moments that followed, some began to smile in a small way, and others who had felt so terrible began to feel a bit better, and all felt that they had witnessed a lovely, delicate thing. And so the passersby walked home, each with their small shared secret, that there was wonder in the world.