Today is no different. This story is uniquely special to me. It comes from a place of hope for our future, and it's the kind of story I hope to tell my children one day. I hope it joins the ranks of some of the other modern gay fairy tales out there such as King & King or Were the World Mine. Or, at least, can join the ranks of the stories you tell your children.
I won't say much more other than to say, I truly hope you enjoy it and that you'll pass the link on to your friends. I do ask, as with all of my original work, that you do not copy and paste the story to your own website without my express permission. It can be incredibly frustrating to find one's work copied all over the web, and with as much as I put into this story I'd rather not deal with that.
Thank you in advance.
Love and Lyte,
The Loveless Tree
Once, in the town of Rose, a doll maker named Lunda was sitting by the window, watching the children of the town play. She was happy because those children loved her, and they kept her business prosperous. She was also sad, because she had no child of her own to number amongst the boys and girls that she watched play hopscotch and games of chase. The townspeople were very busy preparing for the Festival of Two Roses, which was the time when the young men and women of the town came of age and found who they were to marry. You see, in the town of Rose, one knew who they were going to spend their life with by magic.
When children were born in Rose, their parents would find a rosebush growing near their home. But, these were very special rosebushes that took 18 years to flower. Every year, however, during the Festival of Two Roses, those children who came of age would find their roses had bloomed in a unique color. They weren’t typical red or white or pink roses, but every brilliant shade one could imagine. Each rose had one match, another little boy or girl whose rosebush bloomed the same unique color. All young men and women found their match by wearing their rose to the Festival, and they always lived happily ever after.
Lunda was very happy for the young people of Rose, and she wished them every happiness. She just wished she had a son or daughter that would be joining them. Though she had always wanted children, her husband had died long ago without ever having made her a mother. The kind woman instead liked to think of the town’s children as her own, and had taken to making dolls for them. Her shop was lined with beautiful, lifelike creations that became treasured members of many families.
It had become tradition for the old woman to make a special doll for the Loveless Tree, which was a rosebush that had been on the edge of town for as long as anyone could remember yet had never bloomed. As far as anyone knew, the Loveless Tree didn’t belong to anyone, but it was still very unusual and somewhat sad for the townsfolk to gaze upon its limbs each Festival season and find it barren of bloom. Lunda thought it kind to make a doll - one year a boy, the next a girl and so forth - for the tree and place a silk rose in its hand of the most clean and opulent white silk the doll maker owned, the color of clouds on a summer day. That way, she thought, it will have someone to love.
This year, Lunda put the finishing touches on the likeness of a handsome young man with shiny black hair and sparkling emerald eyes. Into the doll’s hand she placed a rose whose stem was gold and whose petals were of the pure white silk she always saved just to make the doll for the Loveless Tree. The woman carried this doll to the barren rosebush, where she placed it and sat down to ponder what great love this bush might be waiting for. Suddenly, tears sprang to her eyes and she began to weep.
“Oh,” sobbed Lunda, “that I would have a child of my own to make dolls for, to love and to care for as I have loved the children of this town all these years. That they would be as special as this doll I have made for this tree.”
The woman cried so much that her tears formed a small pool, soaking into the ground before the Loveless Tree. When Lunda could cry no more, she stood up and turned to go back to her empty house and prepare for the Festival. Before she could take two steps, the woman heard a voice.
“Woman,” said the voice.
Lunda stopped and turned to find that a beautiful woman stood where the Loveless Tree had been. She had long brown hair braided with leaves and wore a dress of bark and moss. Her ears came to a point, she was barefoot, and her eyes were the color of the sun through a forest canopy. The doll maker instantly recognized the stunning creature as a dryad, a spirit of the forest.
“My Lady!” cried Lunda, who bowed her head and twitched a rather unrehearsed curtsy.
“Woman, please stop crying,” soothed the dryad. And Lunda stopped crying, thinking the dryad’s voice sounded perhaps like the rustle of leaves or the quiet after a rainstorm.
“I’m sorry, my Lady, it is just that I am so very sad. I have no child of my own to send to the Festival of Two Roses. I have so much love to give and have never been a mother.”
“You have always been so kind, bringing me these dolls each year, and you are so loving to the children of Rose that I will grant your wish. You shall have a child as unique and beautiful as the doll you have made for me, and that child will find love as perfect as love should be.”
With that, the dryad picked up the doll and kissed it on the forehead. In a blink, the doll became a handsome young man with shiny black hair and sparkling emerald eyes. Lunda’s heart filled with joy, and her son came to her and held her.
“Mother,” he said, “I am so glad to meet you.”
“Oh my son,” replied the young man’s mother, “I am so glad to meet you. I have dreamt of you many long years. I shall call you Farol, which means lighthouse, for you are the light in the storm of my loneliness guiding me safely home.”
Mother and son held each other for the first time in a tight embrace, and it felt as though they had always held one another, that they had been a family all along.
Presently, the doll maker turned to the dryad and asked, “How may I ever repay you for this miracle?”
“Your happiness is payment enough,” replied the dryad. “Though, if you might do me the favor of listening to my story, for now that I have been seen I must retreat back to the woods.”
Lunda and Farol sat and listened to the dryad’s tale, and when it was over the dryad kissed their foreheads and disappeared into the forest forever. Then, they got up and the mother took her son to his home for the first time where she found a rosebush by her gate that had not been there before. It would be her son’s special rose, and it would bloom shortly for he was coming of age at the Festival of Two Roses in a month’s time.
Over the coming weeks, the doll maker took great joy telling of the magic of the dryad and the truth of the Loveless Tree to the townspeople, introducing her son whom everyone said was quite handsome indeed. They embraced the young man as a child of the town of Rose, and all the young women were quite excited to see who would match him at the Festival of Two Roses.
Soon enough it was the dawn of the day the roses all around the town were to bloom and the young men and women were to come of age. Lunda and her son awoke to find his roses too had bloomed, and they were a bright, brilliant white. The very same white of the silk roses the doll maker made each year, the color of clouds on a clear summer day. Farol dressed in his finest clothes and pruned a large white bloom from the bush by the gate, careful to clip the thorns, and his mother tied the stem to his jacket with a length of white silk.
The festival was magnificent. The young men and women of Rose had dressed in their very best, and everyone looked comely and fine. Shops hung flags of bright colors to represent all the brilliant colors of roses worn by those who came of age. There were balloons and bright colored ribbons and succulent food given to all throughout the town’s streets. All day long couples found each other. A young, shy girl named Swanna who wore a rose the color of honey found her match in an outgoing young man named Drake. Augum, the son of the wealthy town clock maker, was matched with Roda, the daughter of a fisherman; their roses were a rare shade of pink found deep in salt mines. Some had green roses the hue of fruit trees, others were the orange tint of the sun, and one couple even had roses the startling color of jet.
It didn’t matter whether the two people knew one another well or had the same social standing, for when their eyes met, each knew they would make the other very happy. This was the magic of the roses, and it had never failed.
Everyone had a match, it seemed, except for Farol. He walked the streets with his mother, congratulating the happy couples, shaking hands and clapping shoulders in celebration. He was not dissuaded, though, as the day was not over. As the sunlight waned, and everyone began bustling about in preparation for the evening dance commemorating the newly minted couples, Lunda and her son were getting a bit discouraged.
“Farol, have you found your match?” inquired the baker’s wife, Holna.
“Not yet,” he replied, “but I’m sure we’ll find one another soon enough.”
“Perhaps your match will find you at the dance. Don’t give up! Remember, they are eager to meet you, too.”
Farol and Lunda were not the kind of people that gave up, especially due to the miraculous nature of Farol’s birth. So, the two resigned themselves on going to the dance to find his match.
Mother and son arrived just as the couples were taking the dance floor. All of the townspeople who had a talent for music were playing a beautiful, upbeat tune, and the young people certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. They laughed and danced and clapped their hands, all the while Lunda and her son kept their eyes open for a matching rose as white as clouds in summer and brilliant as silk. As the evening wore on, mother and son split up to mingle with their friends. Lunda chatted with the other mothers, and Farol laughed and danced with his friends.
As Lunda listened to her friend Marrette telling some story she’d heard involving a talking cookie and a wizard, she noticed a young man, handsome and walking alone who seemed to be looking around for someone. His hair was a sunny red, and he had cheeks that were dotted with freckles you wouldn’t notice upon first glance, with eyes the pale blue of sea foam.
“Are you looking for someone?” asked Lunda.
“It is getting late, and I haven’t found my match,” replied the young man. “I’m hoping I would find them here.”
The young man introduced himself as Engus, and he held up his rose, which was a brilliant, silky white, much like the color of clouds on a summer day. Lunda stared at it in a brief moment of surprise, and then, remembering the tale the dryad had told her, she embraced the young man saying, “I know who your match is.”
“Oh please, ma’am,” said Engus, relieved, “I would very much like to meet them.”
The doll maker took the young man’s hand and led him through the dancing people and the people that were eating pastries and found her son, whom the dryad had said would be as unique and special as the perfect doll he’d been. The group of friends Farol was laughing with stopped and looked at this new person with his white rose, and Farol turned to look as well. The instant the eyes of Engus and Farol met, just as with all the young people who came of age in the town of Rose, they instantly knew they would make one another happy forever. They embraced for the first time and turned to the small crowd that had gathered.
“This is Engus. He is my match,” said Farol, not doubting his words for a moment.
“How can this be?” asked Roda. “The roses have never made a match like this before.”
“I think I can explain,” replied Lunda. “Let me tell you the story that the dryad of the Loveless Tree told me on the day of my son’s miraculous birth.”
And she told them.
Once there was no town named Rose. It was simply an expanse of fields and forest. Many years ago, a young maiden found herself in the forest that would one day become this town. She’d run away from home, because her village required that parents arrange the futures of their children to the benefit of their family’s station. Yet, the woman did not want to spend her life with the man chosen for her, as she had fallen in love with a traveler from a land to the south whose skin was like ebony and who was very kind to her. She cried out to the forest, ‘Woe that I must marry one whom I do not love because it fits my father and family. Would that I could marry for love, that my match would love me in return and make me happy forever.’ As she said these words, a beautiful dryad appeared who promised her that she would have a match and would be able to love whoever would make her most happy. The forest spirit went on to say that the young woman would make a home here, and that more people would come from all around in order to find their perfect love, and the town they built would be forever blessed with perfect love. Their match might hail from any station or country, might have skin as dark as ebony or light as driftwood, but they would be well and truly blessed to make each other happy for the rest of their days. The dryad kissed the woman’s forehead in blessing and handed her a crimson rose, promising that she, and all those who would come to this place, would know their true mate by their two unique roses. The maiden rested in the sunlit field and, presently, saw a man come wandering from the woods. It was her beloved, the traveling man from the southern country, and he carried a rose of pure crimson.
The couple was indeed quite happy, and where they first embraced a rosebush grew yet never flowered. The two built a home and lived out their days. Over the years, more people came, as the dryad predicted they would. The dryad and her gift were forgotten by the people who built the town of Rose, yet she never stopped watching over the townspeople. She made sure that, no matter their station or their beauty, each person found their match when they came of age.
Hearing the story, and knowing the roses’ magic had never failed, the townspeople embraced Farol and Engus and all the rest of the couples who’d found their match at the Festival of Two Roses. Life in the town of Rose continued as it always had, with the happy couples raising happy children who grew up to raise happy children of their own. The doll maker stayed rather busy for the rest of her days making dolls for her grandchildren and all the children of Rose. One day the townspeople noticed a new rosebush growing in the center of town, obviously belonging to no single child, for it bore roses year round of every color imaginable in celebration of all the couples and the love they shared. The dryad kept watch forever after, quite pleased with herself.