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A Fable.....

This is a discussion on A Fable..... within the Breeding & Hybridization forums, part of the Orchid Propagation category; At one time, nobody is sure how long ago, a little girl lived with her ...

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  1. #1
    LJA's Avatar
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    Default A Fable.....

    At one time, nobody is sure how long ago, a little girl lived with her mother and her father in a stout wood cabin by the edge of a great forest. The little girl's father was a blacksmith who spent his days hammering iron, and the girl's mother baked breads and cakes for the people of a village several leagues to the south from where their cabin lay nestled in the trees.

    Her parents thus occupied, the little girl amused herself by shaping tiaras and necklaces of the flowers she found growing in the fields nearby, and she chased the butterflies that flitted through the clearings, giggling delightedly as she went and staring in wonder if one of them should happen to alight. Her father had told her many times, "Lithana, do not stray too far, for strange beasts lie waiting in the grasses." Her mother had said, "And never, never, venture alone into the forest or you shall surely perish." But secretly, her father gave her a tiny box which he had fashioned out of silver. "Keep this with you always, Lithana," he told her, "and you shall always be kept from harm."

    Lithana heeded the warnings of her mother and her father. She kept the tiny silver box in the pocket of her robes and most of the time stayed close, but one day, as she was following a particularly beautiful butterfly dressed in shades of red and blue, so intent was she on coming near that when the butterfly disappeared from sight, she found herself alone in the half-light formed by great canopies of trees, and she knew at once that she was lost in the great and terrible woods.

    She cried out, "Mama!" but then told herself to be brave, and she searched for the butterfly that she might ask it to lead her home. Squeezing the tiny silver box, Lithana searched and searched, and a long time passed, and finally, forlorn and weary with thirst and hunger, she sat down and was about to cry, when she saw the butterfly fanning its wings on a strange clump of leaves just a short distance away.

    She stood and approached it carefully. The butterfly did not flee as it had done before, but said to her instead, "Look about you, child."

    Lithana looked down, and saw two great carpets of green with strange leaves spread to either side of her, one carpet topped with flowers of brilliant red, the other, with flowers of brilliant blue, and between the two carpets lay a black strip of earth on which no grass, or flower, or greenery grew at all.

    Lithana had never seen flowers of such vibrant color and keen perfection, and she sat down among them, enthralled, and she passed the palm of her hand across their faces and between their petals. The dust that gathered on her hand, the blue dust and the red dust, she passed from one carpet to the other carpet, intermingling them, dusting the red with the blue, and the blue with the red.

    Lithana stayed with the flowers she knew not how long, and when night fell she slept, and when she woke again at morning she found the butterfly had lit upon her thumb. Around her, the flowers which she had brushed against her palm had all closed up.

    "We must go now, child," the butterfly whispered in her ear.

    When she stood, without her knowing, the silver box her father had given her tumbled from her pocket. She followed the butterfly around mighty oaks and great thickets of bracken, and strange sounds emerged from copses as she passed, and she never let the butterfly fall from sight.

    "Lithana!" she heard her mother yell. "Lithana!" she heard her father roar.

    "I am here!" she cried, and she rushed forward out of the woods and embraced her father and her mother, and where her hands touched her mother's aprons they left crystal dusts of red and blue.

    Years passed. Lithana grew to womanhood and married. She bore two lovely daughters and two fine sons, and she told them of the butterfly she had chased as a young girl, and how it had led her to the amazing flowers of red and of blue, deep, deep in the forest.

    In what seemed an eyeblink her children too were grown and gone, and Lithana, old now and feeble, her fingers gnarled and swollen, sat rocking on a wooden chair her father had made for her mother so long ago. She knew she was near death, and only scant days remained her.

    A young man approached the cabin. Her great-grandson, the young man turned out to be: a young botanist. The world had changed.

    "Tell me of the butterfly, Great Grandmother! Tell of the wonderous flowers of red and of blue!"

    Lithana lifted a trembling hand and pointed across the clearing from the cabin, into the woods. "There," she whispered feebly. "Follow there." And the young botanist clearly saw that where she pointed, a butterfly in the distance fanned its wings in wait.

    In the forest, when the butterfly finally came to rest, the young botanist stood perplexed. For there was no carpet of red flowers, or carpet of blue flowers, or strip of black earth that separated them where nothing grew.

    The memory of the aged cannot be relied upon, he reasoned; his great grandmother must have been mistaken. But when he looked down, he saw half buried in the loam a tiny silver box, and around it, a vast clearing of blue flowers with fiery red spots and shimmering red markings spread to all sides before him. He drew in breath and exclaimed, "These are flowers the like of which have never been seen in all the world!"

    And the spirit of his great grandmother finally left its dwelling, and he, the young botanist, grew to fame and fortune for having discovered a stunning new species of orchid.

  2. #2
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    Why Louis; how charming. Tell me, are the any true red and blue orchids?

  3. #3
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    I don't know, there might be; that was just what popped into my head.

    After all the talk recently about species, I was trying to explore hybridizing and speciation. If two plants create progeny that are so successful at exploiting the environment that the parents disappear into extinction, are the progeny now considered species? Or are they still hybrids?

    What if the pollinating agent is human instead of insect, does it still count?

    That kind of thing. And since I hadn't written anything in a while, I thought I'd make a fable out of it instead of just asking.


  4. #4
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    OH ! I love the story , a pleasent escape from the gloom and doom in the world . More stories ! please . Gin

  5. #5
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    I love the story . I like the name of the little girl as well, its like my real first name , unusual.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diane
    Why Louis; how charming. Tell me, are the any true red and blue orchids?
    There are true red, and true blue. The true red are everywhere, specifically the Sophronitis. The true blue are easy enough, they are the Thelymitra. As for red and blue, you should look into the genus Ophrys... perhaps something like this: http://freespace.virgin.net/kate.almond/Ex04oph.jpg

  7. #7
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    Now that is one bizarre, fantastic, unbelievable orchid at that link! Do you know which Ophyrs that is? I just can't stop looking at it. Amazing. Thanks for the link. Matt

  8. #8
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    Ophrys speculum

  9. #9
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    It looks sort of like a furry beetle. Quite unusual and very striking. Small?

  10. #10
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    Great story Louis and equally beautiful picture provided Steve. I've been an ophrys fan for awhile.. I love the way they look like bugs... just wish they were available in Oz.. alas the Europeans won't share

    Cheers
    tim

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