Once, in a land whose name has long been forgotten, in a dark forest that may not exist today, there lived a woman with her son. The poor woman had no husband, and had been cast from the village she called home for having a son whose father she would not name. Magic, you see, was not commonplace then, and strange creatures did not whisk away women in the night to have their way with them. There were only ordinary people with ordinary hardships, facing a world that was sometimes cruel, and sometimes cruel of their own making.
Every week, the poor woman's son went into the forest to fetch wood, and one day, when he had ventured farther than normal, he came across a young girl, who offered to help him carry the wood home. The child asked if this new friend was lost and needed a place to stay, but the girl smiled, and told him that she required nothing in return, and helped him carry the wood home, showing a strength beyond her size and age. When they arrived at the front door, the son called for his mother to introduce them, but the girl disappeared. He told his mother of this strange encounter, but she did not believe him.
This happened four more times, but on the fourth week, the girl gave him a strange, white flower before she left, telling him that she was going to go away for a very long time, but the flower would bloom when she returned. His mother, astonished by the sight of this new flower but still unwilling to believe his outrageous tale, allowed him to keep it and take care of it. The boy planted it in the garden. It grew a thick bush of thorns, tinged with red and harsh to look at, but though small buds formed, it would not bloom.
One year passed, and then another, and faithfully on did the boy take care of the thornbush, until one day, as he was carefully pruning the bush, he suffered a deep wound across his palm. The wound sickened, and the boy died that night. His mother buried him by the thornbush he had so carefully tended to.
The next morning, she left to gather firewood and discovered that all the flowers of the thornbush had bloomed, but were a deep red, unlike the pure white flower her son had shown her. She thought, then, that they were the most beautiful things she had ever seen, and in that moment, a girl appeared before her, exactly as her son had described. The girl asked for the boy, but the woman replied that he was buried there, aside the flowers. It was then that the girl plucked a flower from the bush, heedless of its thorns, and she told the woman thus, "This flower that was to be the symbol of my coming, has reddened with the blood of his faithfulness. It is to me as a gift arose from the ground, and so shall it be a gift unto this world, colored by the hearts of those who grow it." She cast her hand wide and disappeared, and the flower fell to the ground. In a year, the land around the poor woman's cottage was overrun by it. The woman sold the flower, calling it The Gift Arose, and grew wealthy on it.
The rose, as it would one day be known, did indeed grow in many colors and spread all around the world for its beauty, and someday the power it held would come to change the world, and be known as magic.
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