Folklore for Children ~ The Bleeding Heart Flower
No other plant bears perfect heart-shaped flowers like those of the Bleeding Heart. If you press the flowers between the pages of a heavy book, you’ll have papery-thin little hearts to adorn letters or valentines. If you turn a flower upside down and pull the two halves apart, you’ll see a lady in a pink bathtub, or perhaps you’ll see a white lyre with strings of silk.
A Story Within The Bleeding Heart
The flowers also hold clues to a tragic tale of unrequited love. To begin narration of the story, hold a heart blossom in the palm of your hand.
Long ago there lived a noble prince who tried in vain to win the heart of a very beautiful princess. The prince had brought the princess wonderful gifts from his travels far and wide. Yet she had taken no notice of him. One day the prince returned from a long journey with very special gifts to surely win the love of the princess. First he presented her with two magical pink bunnies. (Peel off the two outer petals and set them on their sides to display two little pink bunnies.)
The princess only sighed and barely looked at the little bunnies. The hopeful prince had one more gift saved for last – he presented a pair of beautiful enchanted earrings. (Remove the two long white petals and hold them next to your ears.)
Again, the princess hardly noticed the prince’s gift. Now the poor prince was utterly heartbroken. He could try no more to win the heart of the princess. He rose up, pulled a dagger from his sheath and stabbed himself in the heart. (Remaining in the flower is a heart shape with the stamen, appearing as a dark green line down the center. Hold the heart up, carefully remove the dagger-like line, and plunge the dagger through the heart.)
The princess was overcome by the dedication of the dying prince and his unending love for her. She realized too late that she loved him also. “Alas,” she cried out. “I have done wrong, my own heart is broken also. I shall bleed for my prince forever more!” And her heart bleeds to this very day.
There are many blossoms on a Bleeding Heart in full bloom, so next time you pass such a delightful array, tell your children or grandchildren the story hidden within the blossoms of the beautiful bleeding heart.