Story about cactus: cactus too can feel, can be happy or sad
The Cactus Flower
One fine morning in a very hot desert, where the same baking sun scorched down in the morning as in the afternoon, a little plant was born. He was a cactus - the tenth child in a very big family. All the children in the family were brought up very strictly: in a whole week they got only a single drop of water each. It was hard, but the strict upbringing was not without its fruits, for the little cactus grew up to be tough, and they would never say more than needed to be said. They knew how to wait patiently, and how not to bother others with silly questions. But the tenth little cactus was different. He asked lots of questions. At first he asked his mother and brothers, and then, when he got no answer from them, he started asking questions of whoever he happened to see. «I wonder if you can drown in the sand?» he said dreamily. «Is the sky made out of sand, too? Then why is it a different colour? And why does it cry so very little, when its tears make us feel so good and fresh?»
It was too much. His mother lost her temper and snapped at him, «You ask quite too many questions for a cactus. Now just you be quiet and patient, like the rest of us!” But the little cactus didn't want to be patient. His proud, silent brothers were so cold and distant that he could hardly bear it, and his little heart burned fiercely inside from loneliness. He started to talk to the sun and the sand and the wind, and to the rain that came every once in a long while, and at night he talked to the far-distant stars. They sang him songs of other places and other worlds, magic songs of a different life…
“Oh, something different! If only I could see it myself!” the little cactus exclaimed longingly. The sands told him about «people». Oh, they knew so much about these people! The little cactus loved the wonderful stories, which were happy and sad, and sometimes funny, and sometimes even scary as scary can be.
“People! I wonder what do they look like? I ' d sure like to touch one with my spines,” the dreamy little cactus said with a deep sigh.
“Oh ho ho!” the stars laughed. “People don't like prickly things, little cactus. They run away from whatever hurts them. First you have to shine for them, and then they'll shine too, and then they'll be happy to stay with you for as long as you like. Forever, even.»
The stars were always saying things like that.
“The sands say that people know everything about everything in the world. They”re not quiet, like us,» the little cactus thought aloud.
“That”s true, there's never a silent moment with them,» the stars agreed. «Even when their tongues aren't talking, their eyes speak to you, and their heart, and their soul.»
«Soul? What's that? Do cacti have them too?» the little cactus asked.
And then one day a miracle happened. The little cactus saw some people, and even heard them talking.
«What a place, this desert! Nothing but silence and sameness all around. Nothing to greet you but prickly plants, if you can call that a greeting. It's ugly and bare, nothing like the beautiful, sweet-smelling meadow flowers at home…»
The little cactus understood that they were talking about him, and for the first time in his life he realized he was ugly. He felt like crying. Sure enough, tiny drops seeped out the tips of his spines.
«Hey, look, a crying cactus,» one of the people said, and reached out gingerly to touch it. «Its prickles aren't sharp at all. New kind of cactus, I guess. I wonder if there's a lot of them around here?»
The people looked around and saw other cacti growing, poked at them, and yanked their hands away sharply, for the sharp spines hurt their fingers!
«Looks like it's the only soft one.» the people said, and came back to look more closely at the one special little cactus.
The little cactus almost died he was so happy when the people came up to him again. And the closer they got, the more their faces lit up with in indescribable delight.
«Just look at it! It's gorgeous! A snow-white miracle! A treasure! There's not a flower anywhere on earth that can hold a candle to this perfume. We must be dreaming.»
And the people gathered around the little cactus and gazed at it in silent admiration.
«What are they talking about?» the little cactus puzzled. «Such strange things, these people are. First they say I'm ugly, and now they stand around admiring me.»
For he had not noticed the beautiful white flower, the magnificent and wondrous miracle of nature that had so patiently grown out of his side. All around him the air was filled with its delightful perfume, and the most amazing light seemed to shine from the snow-white miracle he had created, and the same light was in the people's faces. At night-time the star-studded heaven seemed to surround the cactus flower with a magic embrace. In their light he shone with a heavenly beauty.
«Now you have seen a soul,» the stars told the little cactus. «Your flower has opened up the people's souls for all to see. You should feel very happy indeed.»
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