The heart asks for fragrance, even when it is no longer young
Spring went by, and summer drew towards its close; autumn came; but he had not decided. The flowers now appeared in their most gorgeous robes, but all in vain; they had not the fresh, fragrant air of youth. For the heart asks for fragrance, even when it is no longer young; and there is very little of that to be found in the dahlias or the dry chrysanthemums; therefore the butterfly turned to the mint on the ground. You know, this plant has no blossom; but it is sweetness all over, —full of fragrance from head to foot, with the scent of a flower in every leaf.
“I will take her,” said the butterfly; and he made her an offer. But the mint stood silent and stiff, as she listened to him. At last she said, “Friendship, if you please; nothing more. I am old, and you are old, but we may live for each other just the same; as to marrying —no; don’t let us appear ridiculous at our age.”
by Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875)
from Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, The Butterfly, 1861
…I want to reach in and tickle the “dry chrysanthemums” and the “silent and stiff” mint.
I liked the mint better when she was first described: “sweetness all over, —full of fragrance from head to foot, with the scent of a flower in every leaf.” I wonder if she knows how beautiful she is.
I hope I am brave and joyful enough to live the delight of seeming ridiculous, at any age.