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  • Writer's pictureLinda Odhner, with photos by Liz Kufs

Excerpted Inspirations #89

	“Dear princess!” said the little girl, “the flowers will not always wither at your touch.  Try now – only do not pluck it.  Flowers ought never to be plucked except to give away.  Touch it gently.”  	 A silvery flower, something like a snowdrop, grew just within her reach.  Timidly she stretched out her hand and touched it.  The flower trembled, but neither shrank nor withered.    	“Touch it again,” said the child.    	It opened and grew until it was as large as a narcissus, and changed and deepened in color till it was a red glowing gold.    	Rosamond gazed motionless.  When the transfiguration of the flower was perfected, she sprang to her feet with clasped hands, but for very ecstasy of joy stood speechless, gazing at the child.  	“Did you never see me before, Rosamond?” she asked.  	“No, never,” answered the princess.  “I never saw anything half so lovely.”  	“Look at me,” said the child.    	And as Rosamond looked, the child began, like the flower, to grow larger.  Quickly through every gradation of growth she passed, until she stood before her a woman perfectly beautiful, neither old nor young; for hers was the old age of everlasting youth.    	Rosamond was utterly enchanted, and stood gazing without word or movement until she could endure no more delight.  Then her mind collapsed to the thought – had the pony grown too?  She glanced round.  There was no pony, no flowers, no grass, no bright-birded forest – but the cottage of the wise woman – and before her, on the hearth of it, the goddess-child, the only thing unchanged.    	She gasped with astonishment.    	“You must set out for your father’s palace immediately,” said the lady.  	“But where is the wise woman?” asked Rosamond, looking all about.   	“Here,” said the lady.  	And Rosamond, looking again, saw the wise woman, folded as usual in her long dark cloak.    	“And it was you all the time?” she cried in delight, and kneeled before her, burying her face in her garments.    	“It is always me, all the time,” said the wise woman, smiling.    	“But which is the real you?” asked Rosamond; “this or that?”  	“Or a thousand others?” returned the wise woman.  “But the one you have just seen is the likest to the real me that you are able to see just yet – but – .  And that me you could not have seen a little while ago. – But, my darling child,” she went on, lifting her up and clasping her to her bosom, “you must not think, because you have seen me once, that therefore you are capable of seeing me at all times.  No; there are many things in you yet that must be changed before that can be.  Now, however, you will seek me.  Every time you feel you want me, that is a sign I am wanting you.  There are yet many rooms in my house you may have to go through; but when you need no more of them, then you will be able to throw flowers like the little girl you saw in the forest.”  George MacDonald, “The Wise Woman, or the Lost Princess: a Double Story” (1875), pp. 94-96

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