Fairy Tale Friday: The Loveliest Rose in the World

by H. C. Andersen

I was browsing one of my collections of Andersen’s fairy tales (because, yes, I have more than one; his writing’s lovely), and I happened to catch this title. I did not recall reading it so I did.

It’s simple enough – a queen has a garden that, no matter the season, is full of flowers. Her favorite are roses, which bloom and grow all over her palace. She eventually becomes ill and can only be saved by seeing the loveliest rose in the world, sprung from the purest, greatest love.

Well, that idea – roses and love – is exactly the kind that sparks my emotions and fires up my writing imagination.  But knowing how and what Andersen writes, I had a hunch of what the loveliest rose would be.

Possible roses that are dismissed are romance, patriotism, and knowledge. Other possibilities that are suggested include: a child’s love, a mother’s love (and grief) for her sick child, and people at church.  Can you guess what the loveliest rose is?

In this story its Christ for his great love for humanity. Dying on the cross and all that. I don’t entirely agree but I don’t disagree. But I suspected that’s what the greatest and purest love would be in Andersen.


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