The Snail and the Rose-Treepage 2 / 3
“No,” said the rose-tree. “I bloom in gladness, because I cannot do otherwise. The sun shone and warmed me, and the air refreshed me; I drank the clear dew and the invigorating rain. I breathed and I lived! Out of the earth there arose a power within me, whilst from above I also received strength; I felt an ever-renewed and ever-increasing happiness, and therefore I was obliged to go on blooming. That was my life; I could not do otherwise.”
“You have led a very easy life,” remarked the snail.
“Certainly. Everything was given me,” said the rose-tree. “But still more was given to you. Yours is one of those deep-thinking natures, one of those highly gifted minds that astonishes the world.”
“I have not the slightest intention of doing so,” said the snail. “The world is nothing to me. What have I to do with the world? I have enough to do with myself, and enough in myself”
“But must we not all here on earth give up our best parts to others, and offer as much as lies in our power? It is true, I have only given roses. But you—you who are so richly endowed—what have you given to the world? What will you give it?”
“What have I given? What am I going to give? I spit at it; it's good for nothing, and does not concern me. For my part, you may go on bearing roses; you cannot do anything else. Let the hazel bush bear nuts, and the cows and sheep give milk; they have each their public. I have mine in myself. I retire within myself and there I stop. The world is nothing to me.”
With this the snail withdrew into his house and blocked up the entrance.
“That's very sad,” said the rose tree. “I cannot creep into myself, however much I might wish to do so; I have to go on bearing roses. Then they drop their leaves, which are blown away by the wind. But I once saw how a rose was laid in the mistress's hymn-book, and how one of my roses found a place in the bosom of a young beautiful girl, and how another was kissed by the lips of a child in the glad joy of life. That did me good; it was a real blessing. Those are my recollections, my life.”