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white briar.

From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Age Rating 2 to 4.

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She grew at the very end of the rose-garden, next the road--that is what vexed the other trees. "You are only a common Brier," they said, "and yet you are placed in the most prominent position. Everybody who passes can see you, while we are half-hidden by your spreading branches." "Look at us!" cried the Red Roses. "Are we not worthy to be seen? Our petals are like rich velvet, not pale and colourless like yours. In the morning light we glow like massed rubies, but you cannot glow at all." "We are like bits of the sun brought down from the sky," said the Cloth-of-Gold Roses, "and yet you have the presumption to stand between us and the passers-by." "If you were even a Sweet-Brier it would not be so bad," sighed the Tea-Roses; "but you have no scent, so what is the use of you?" Then the biggest of the Pink Roses spoke. "You have only one row of petals," she said severely. "That stamps you at once as of low birth. We others are all of higher growth than that. Look at my petals, set so closely one above another that you cannot see between them! You are a nobody, and yet you are allowed to retain the best position. It is most unfair." White-Brier had listened to it all in a sorrowful silence, but now she spoke: "I am sorry, indeed, to be in the way," she said. "I should be glad to be at the back of the garden, for I know you are all much more beautiful than I am. But I was placed here, and here I am bound to grow. I cannot help having only one row of petals and no scent. It is my nature." The other roses only turned their backs on her at this, but the bees crowded into her flower-cups to comfort her. "Don't take any notice of their jealousy," they said. "If you have only one row of petals, still they are so white and delicate that they can compare with any in the garden; if you have but little scent, you have a sweeter heart than any rose here. We love you best of all, and will do our best to carry your pollen well, so that your seed-balls may be well filled." The summer passed; one by one the roses faded and showered their petals on the earth. Autumn came, and the green leaves turned red and yellow and then brown; and they, too, dropped upon the earth. Winter came; the proud rose-trees stood bare and thorny, shivering in the winter storms. But White-Brier was not bare. Her roses and leaves had indeed faded, but the little seed-cases below the flowers had grown into green balls that swelled and turned red, and now the whole bush was hung with scarlet berries. How they glowed as they swung in the wind! The passers-by stopped to look at the bush. "What a beautiful rose-tree!" one of them said to the master of the garden. "What a glorious bit of colour in this gloomy winter weather!" "Yes," he said; "that is why I planted the tree in the front of the garden. In the summer there are many beautiful flowers everywhere, but in the winter there are so few, that it is good to have a tree like that where everyone can see it." Then the proud roses were ashamed, and begged White-Brier's pardon. "You are more beautiful than we are now," they said. But White-Brier did not grow conceited. "It is nothing," she said. "I must grow according to my nature--that is all. But my heart is singing for joy that I am beautiful at last."


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