The Rose Valley

The Rose Valley

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     A long time ago, in Persia lived a wealthy ruler. His wife died and left behind their lovely daughter who meant everything to her father – joy and comfort, hope and support. Her favourite occupation was growing roses. In the man’s garden there were rose bushes from all over the world. They filled the air with scent and drove away the sadness when the father was away from the castle, busy with his political affairs or with the battles he led against his numerous enemies.

     Once, the ruler returned from a victorious war, bringing many captives. He wanted to immortalize the victory, so he decided to build such a high mosque that from its minaret a person could see the whole rose garden. The father promised the workman, who managed to accomplish the ambitious task for three days, to reward him richly and fulfill three of his wishes. However, if the workman failed, he would be punished.

    The ruler was a very strict judge. None of the workmen dared to take up the difficult deed. Only one Bulgarian builder who was very skilful in his Slavic motherland resolved to try his luck.

      The workman began to build the foundations of the mosque. However, with every stone he placed, his strength weakened and in his despair, he began to see the ghost of Death. Nevertheless, he didn’t give up. During the first day, the man erected such high walls that the scent of the roses reached his nostrils. He breathed deeply. The smell filled him with enormous power. And when on the second day he saw the young woman among the blooming roses and heard her song, the builder no longer doubted. He had to overcome his fatigue. He had to win. At the end of the third day, the mosque was ready. The entire breathtaking rose garden was visible from its minaret. But the young man was seeking the eyes of the woman who gave him strength. They were telling more than what mouth could possibly express.

     The ruler was very satisfied and asked the workman what his three wishes were.

   “The first one,” said the Bulgarian man firmly, “is to release my captive fellow countrymen.”

    “Let it be!” the powerful man answered and ordered the immediate release of the captives.

    “My second wish is to give as much money away to the poor as the building of this mosque costs.”

   “This is also possible,” the ruler said and he was ready to give all his treasures away in order to satisfy the skilful workman’s wish.

    “And my third wish,” with a lack of confidence the young man stated, “is to let me marry the girl I saw among the rose bushes in the garden…”

   “Not this!” the ruler shouted because that girl was his only beloved daughter. “Throw him in prison and beat him till he forgets about his third wish!” the furious father ordered. No one dared to go against his will. For all the servants his word was law except for his daughter. She was neither spoiled, nor disobedient. She was just deeply in love for the first time.

     In the evening, the young woman sneaked in the prison. She opened the gates and ran away with her sweetheart, letting him lead her towards his sunny motherland. There was a long way ahead. It passed through a desert – an obstacle which proved too big for the fragile girl. Feeling her lack of strength, she requested the young man to take the rose bush, which she had brought from her garden, to his country. In vain he was begging her to stay. He carried her in his arms, stroke her hair, kissed her hands but could not save her from the freezing kiss of Death. The tears flowing from the man’s eyes were so full of grief and sincerity that the rose blossomed in order to drive away the sadness. Its bloomy buds urged the workman to hurry and plant it in his native land, turning it into a rose valley.

     And so he did. The man planted the rose between the Balkan Mountains and the Sredna Gora Mountains. The flower covered the whole area. People named it the Rose Valley. Since then, there and everywhere around the country, roses blossom, spreading their wonderful scent, driving away sadness and delighting couples. 

     In the early hours of the morning dewdrops occur on roses’ leaves and petals. No, it’s not dew. These are the tears of the couple that could not live beneath the peaceful sky of sunny Bulgaria and around the breathtaking bays of the Black Sea.

Tags: rose, valley, love, workman, mosque

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