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The Paradise Flower

Once upon that eternal day of the Blessed, the Prophet walked in blissful meditation through the Gardens of Paradise. So deep was he in the contemplation of God's glorious works that he did not notice a tiny white flower growing all alone on the path he had taken. Only when he felt the little blossom yield beneath his foot did he realize what had happened.

Kneeling down, he gently plucked the flower from its broken stem, and discerning the beauty and perfection with which God had endued this, one of the least of His creations, the Prophet began to weep tears of purest sorrow, which fell upon the flower's luminous petals and into its very heart.

All at once, new roots and fresh perfume shot forth, and when he saw this, the Prophet exclaimed, "What a marvellous sign is this, for who but God, the Compassionate and Merciful, could mend the Thread of Life once it has been severed?!"

So that men, too, might be inspired by what God had revealed to him, the Prophet released the flower to the Winds of Time, which blow outside the Gates of Paradise, and the Winds carried it to Earth like a bright and shining star, setting it to rest on the sands of a great desert. There, it took root and began miraculously to grow anew.

As for the saints, astrologers, magicians, necromancers and common opportunists who long ago combed the dunes in the hope of discovering an unusually portentous and--need it be mentioned?--valuable celestial artifact, little more can be reported but their general and categorical failure. Not a few were so peeved by the insufficiency of their prognostic and excavatory powers that they entirely abandoned their respective professions and opted to sell amulets, dates or camels; deal in contraband; or join passing caravans en route to Tombouctou with an eye to even more profitable (but by no means nobler) ventures. They are not, however, to be entirely blamed for the abortive nature of their initial enterprise; they were simply looking in the wrong place.

The plain truth is--strange though it be to relate--that not an hour had passed since the Paradise Flower first touched earth when--alas!--it was spotted by a large, hungry, aged and (as a consequence thereof) optically deficient beetle, who, taking it for an unusually pretty and aromatic succulent, devoured it posthaste without the least conscience. Shortly thereafter, the beetle, having fallen into a state of postprandial languour, was embarrassed by the inauspicious arrival of a certain species of leaping desert rat, who swooped down upon his prey with a stealth and cunning that did considerable honor to his cutthroat race. The salient glory of this jaunty jerboa's victory, however, was short-lived, for not a minute had gone by before he was espied by an impressively long and tellingly lean snake, whose speed so outmatched that of the miscreant rodent (who, it must be admitted, had rather overeaten) that the latter was easily overtaken, vanquished and swallowed in one gulp.

Our story might end here, but for the remarkable regenerative and restorative powers of the Paradise Flower. It seems that to this day, the same unfortunate serpent--with his ever-lively dinner guests--ploughs the desert sands vainly seeking some remedy for an altogether too long and excessively dyspeptic coexistence. Verily, God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

You are listening to a MIDI file of "Odalisques" by Dillon Ford.

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Last updated July 23, 2001
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© Copyright 2001 by Joseph Dillon Ford