The Dream Flower
A children’s short story by JH (Perse)
Once there was a little girl named Ella. Ella had a mother who was very kind and always put others before herself. One day her mother received news that Mrs. Collins, an old woman who lived down the street, was very ill. She decided it would be a good idea to bring the old woman some dinner, so she put some lasagna in a tuber ware bowl and asked Ella to bring it to her. Ella was reluctant, so her mother promised her three bedtime stories instead of one. Ella agreed to the deal and put on her coat before leaving the house with the tuber ware in hand.
As Ella approached the old woman’s house, she was surprised at how abandoned it looked. The front yard was overgrown with weeds, which were a chilling white from the frosty weather. The porch was covered with dirt and leaves, along with a little frosty porch swing which swung lightly and silently in the wind. Nevertheless, Ella walked up to the door and rung the doorbell. She heard footsteps approach the door and was surprised when a young man opened the door.
“Hi,” Ella said cheerfully, “I’m your neighbor, my mom heard Mrs. Collins is sick so she sent me to bring you guys dinner.”
“Oh thank you, I was going to order something but now I don’t have to. Would you like to come in?” the man asked. Ella shook her head and went inside.
As Ella entered the living room, she saw Mrs. Collins lying on the couch. The lights were dimmed but through the faint light Ella could see that the room was a mess. There was a thick mat of dust covering everything in the room and the house smelled of fast food and take-out.
“Sorry the place is kind of a mess.” the man said. “I haven’t had much of a chance to clean.”
“It’s alright.” Ella replied. The man left the room and Ella tip-toed over to Mrs. Collins with the tuber ware still at hand. As she approached, Mrs. Collins slowly turned her head towards her and looked at the food.
“Is that for me?” Mrs. Collins asked in a rasped voice.
“Yes it is, I brought it over for you. My mom made it; it’s lasagna.” Ella said.
“Thank you child, you may set it on my nightstand. But before you go, I have been meaning to ask someone for a favor. I believe you might be the girl to do it.”
“Sure, anything.” Ella replied.
“You see that flower on my kitchen window sill? It’s a dream flower. There is only one in existence, and it sits right there. It is a very special flower and it requires more care than most plants. I have had it for years, but unfortunately I have not the energy to care for it any longer. It would be a pleasure, if you please, for me to give it to you. There are directions and a box of things it needs sitting there with it. Take the flower, and be good to it, and in four years time it is due to lose its seeds. When it does that, more dream flowers can be planted. If the flower dies before its prime, I’m afraid there will never be any more dream flowers. Do you understand?” Ella shook her head yes. “Good, now take it and thank you again for the meal. Tell your mother I said thanks.”
“I will. ” Ella said. She walked into the kitchen and grabbed the dream flower and box from the sill. As she was holding it, she noticed the flower glowed a light blue and made a light humming sound.
Once Ella got home, she quickly put the flower in her room so her mother wouldn’t find out about it. She put the flower on the ledge outside of her window and whispered to it “I will never let you go, you’re such a pretty flower”. She kissed one of its petals and shut her window and closed the blinds.
The next morning, the thought of the dream flower was fresh in Ella’s mind. Immediately upon awaking, Ella opened her window to say hello to her new flower. The flower still sat there, glowing and humming softly. “What a strange flower you are.” Ella whispered to it. Ella then decided to open the box that came with the flower. In it lying flat on top was a small, wrinkled piece of paper. Ella unfolded it and read:
The Dream Flower: The Flower of Your Dreams
How to care for me:
Water me with sugar water
Feed me a drop of honey
Sing me your favorite song
Tell me that you love me
Do this all every day, not a break to be had
and upon my sixteenth birthday
you’ll be very glad.
“That’s not too bad, I thought it would be much harder.” said Ella to herself. She then took out the two bottles from inside the box. One was labeled “honey” and included a dropper. The other was larger and was labeled “sugar water”. Ella used the dropper to place a drop of honey in the flower’s bed and added a couple drops of sugar water, as well. Sing me your favorite song Ella read again. She thought for a moment and decided to sing one of her made-up songs. She felt kind of silly doing it, but the funny thing was the flower hummed along with the melody and glowed brighter while she was singing. Finally, Ella whispered “I love you” to the flower and shut the window up once more.
One week later…
Ella opened her window to begin her routine again. By this time she had given her dream flower a name: Lucy. Ella was in love with the flower and was so grateful to have it in her possession. She could already imagine how it would be like when the flower finally lost its seeds and how nice it would be to have a whole garden of dream flowers, humming and glowing when she sung. Maybe from the seeds she might get a pink dream flower, or even a purple one. Ella could not wait.
One month later…
Again it was morning and Ella opened her window to care for the dream flower. She gave it some sugar water and a drop of honey, but as she began to sing her song she was interrupted by her next door neighbors. They were two boys about her age. They had decided to open their window, directly across from hers, and mock her singing. As they sang her song in a silly, girly voice, Ella started to tear up.
“Stop it!” yelled Ella, but that gave the boys the satisfaction they craved and they decided to sing louder. Ella sighed. “Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to skip the song, I mean, it’s just a stupid flower. ” The flower, as if having heard that, dimmed its glowing and humming.
The next morning, Ella woke up to check on the flower. As she opened the window and saw it, she gasped. The flower was wrinkled and dry and it had turned a dark yellow. Immediately, Ella began the routine. She even sang her song and said “I love you”. During the weeks that followed, as she continued to follow the routine, the flower slowly returned to its original color. Once the flower was glowing blue again, Ella promised the flower that she would never forget to sing to it again.
One year later…
Following the day the flower turned yellow, Ella was very careful to follow the entire routine every day, no matter what. As time passed; however, she got tired of the routine. As her schedule became fuller and she thought less and less about the flower, she became more forgetful. It didn’t even seem to matter anymore if the flower turned yellow. She knew she could fix it, and did it really matter if she didn’t fix it?
But it did matter, deep down she knew that. Besides, even if it didn’t matter to her, it mattered to its previous owner, Mrs. Collins, who had passed away very recently. Mrs. Collins had collected many curious things from her travels from when she was younger, but none of which were as important to her as the dream flower. She had trusted Ella with the responsibility of caring for it, and Ella knew that she owed it to the life of the old woman to make a fair effort in keeping it alive. If the flower dies before its prime, I’m afraid there will never be any more dream flowers.
A week before the flower’s prime…
After almost four years of caring for the dream flower, Ella was relieved to know that within a week, her dream flower would finally lose its seeds. She was tired of having to follow the dream flower’s tedious routine and she knew that soon she would no longer have to follow it once she had its seeds. Still, she knew she needed to be more careful about following the routine in its entirety every day. After all, she couldn’t lose the flower now that she was so close.
On the final day before the flower’s prime, Ella decided to invite some friends over after school. That afternoon, three of her close friends came to her house and followed her to her room.
“Your house is very cute.” Lindsey, one of Ella’s friends, said.
“Cute?” Ella asked.
“Well, sure. I mean your house is a little small.” Lindsey taunted.
“No it’s not; it’s a two story house.”
“That’s nice, but my house is still bigger. I also have a bigger room. You guys should come over sometime.” Lindsey said. Ella glanced at her window, imagining her dream flower glowing behind the blinds. She knew that it would quiet her friend’s bragging, but was it worth it? On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t hurt to show it off just a little, Ella thought.
“You guys want to see something?” Ella asked, a huge grin spread across her face.
“I guess.” Lindsey said. Ella then opened her blinds and opened the window, revealing the dream flower. Everyone gasped at the sight of it, it looked radiant in the late afternoon sun. The petals on the flower glowed a glorious, rich blue and hummed softly. Everyone was in awe, everyone except Lindsey.
“I bet it has batteries, let me see.” Lindsey said, making her way to the window.
“No don’t touch it! You might hurt it.” Ella exclaimed.
“So then it is a fake.” Lindsey grabbed the flower from the sill and it hummed louder.
“No! Put it down!” Ella yelled. She put her hands on the flower box the flower was in and tried to tug it away from Lindsey. Lindsey suddenly let go and the flower flew out of Ella’s hands. Ella stuck her head out the window and watched in horror as the flower crashed to the ground, landing in the dirt below. The flower box broke and the flower’s soil was scattered all around. The flower and stem began to slowly shrivel up and turn a dark yellow.
“Oops.” Lindsey said mockingly. Ella still stood at the window, watching the dream flower she worked so hard to care for slowly die. What have I done, Ella thought to herself.
The following morning…
Ella woke up that morning and out of habit opened the window. All that was left, however; was the box that came with it, with the honey and sugar water. She quickly closed the window tightly shut, as she did not want to see the dead flower sitting in the dirt. As she backed away from the window a tear fell down her cheek. She could not remember a time where she had felt more regret than at that very moment.
“Honey, we’re leaving in ten minutes.” her mom called. Ella got dressed and made her way down stairs. She followed her mom out the door and they both started to walk to the car. As her mom opened the driver’s side door, a man from the house next door approached her.
“Sorry to bother you, but I looked out my window this morning and saw something awfully strange glowing by your house.” he said.
“Glowing?” her mother asked. Everyone closed the car doors and hurried around the house. A huge grin spread across Ella’s face as she saw that there, where the flower had died, was a new bed of newly sprouting dream flowers. It already lost its seeds! Ella thought to herself.
“What is this?” her mother asked. Ella explained what had happened with the dream flower and her mother listened in disbelief.
From that moment on, Ella and her family took very good care of the new bed of dream flowers. The word spread around the neighborhood and a variety of people from all around would come to sing to the flowers. Even when Ella’s family had finally moved out many years later, they left a note for the new owners with directions on how to care for the dream flowers. The dream flowers flourished and their seeds were used in various places around town. And if Mrs. Collins could see this, I can assure you should would be smiling.