The Music Garden
Springbloom Garden had always been famous, but that was before the curse. Meadow would listen to the stories her parents told of the tourists and passersby that would visit their estate. They marveled at the garden and bought its beautiful bouquets. But this all ended when her grandmother, Violet, married Broussard. He wanted to convert the garden into a money making machine. After they separated, the garden wasn’t the same. The flowers lost their color, and eventually stopped blooming. No one knew why though every one had an explanation. To Meadow’s family it was simply a curse.
Whenever Meadow wasn’t hiding from her parents in the garden, she would hide in old Rufus’ toy store. Her parents were always arguing about whether or not they should sell Springbloom. Since the garden wasn’t bringing in visitors they had become very poor. The toys in the old shop would help her forget all of her concerns. Rufus didn’t mind her company. Not many people came by his outdated store anymore.
This day Meadow walked into the toy store determined. Her parents had been fighting the week before. Because it had been raining she hid in the attic. While trying to ignore her parents’ muffled yells, she rummaged through a box of old pictures. She found a picture of her grandmother holding an ocarina. She had seen one similar to it in Rufus’ toy store and managed to gather enough coins to offer to purchase it.
“This is NOT for sale,” said Rufus sternly.
Meadow wasn’t accustomed to this kind of reaction from him. “But I brought money this time. Look!” She placed the jar of coins on the counter next to the toy ocarina.
He angrily shooed her away. Meadow was shocked by his unkindness. But she was determined to play with the ocarina in her garden. So instead of placing it back on the rack she put it in her pocket while he wasn’t looking, and left the store.
Meadow played for hours that day in the garden. When she returned the next morning something wonderful had occurred. The flowers in the garden were budding. She ran into the house to tell her parents, but in her excitement she tripped over the threshold and fell face first. The ocarina that she planned to return to Rufus slipped out of her hands, shattering on the floor. Her cries attracted her mother who carried her to her room.
Placing the ocarina pieces on the nightstand her mother began telling her a story to comfort her. “This ocarina reminds me of a tale your grandmother told me. A long time ago a little girl was given a blue ocarina. She loved to play it in her garden, and when she did, people said that the flowers loved the music so much that they grew twice their size and three times as bright. The garden became famous, and the ocarina was passed down to every generation…”
Meadow listened as her mother told her about a young boy that had fallen in love with one of the daughters that tended the garden. Since she was the oldest the ocarina had been passed down to her. By then the power of the ocarina was just a legend. The garden had been so beautiful for so long that no one could prove it was the music that made the flowers bloom. But the boy that loved the young girl believed the stories as much as she did. He tried to acquire her love but she would not reciprocate. He was too young. Eventually she married someone else. Her husband did not believe in the magic of the ocarina. In anger he threw it out of a window. It landed in a patch of grass. When the girl went to look for it she couldn’t find it. The garden eventually wilted. Devastated, the young girl never spoke to her husband again.
Meadow was saddened by her mother’s story, but it had taken her mind off of the broken ocarina. She wondered what happened to the young boy, and whether the story was true. She returned the next day to the garden, but the buds she had seen the day before weren’t there anymore.
Months passed. Meadow never returned to Rufus’ store. Her parents had found jobs and no longer had to sell their house. Meadow wanted to spend one more day in Springbloom before homework began to take up all of her free time again. She lied on a yellowing patch of grass and dreamt. It wasn’t until she heard footsteps that she woke from her reverie. She didn’t see anyone, but nearby she found a small music box lying on a bed of dying, red chrysanthemums.
Meadow opened the box. As the music rose to meet her ears her eyes widened. Inside of the wooden box was a beautiful, blue ocarina. A small note lay next to it. Meadow picked it up and read the simple words scribbled on it: “Violet, I forgive you. Signed, Rufus”
Meadow never told her parents about it. All they knew was that the following Spring the garden began to bloom again. Meadow kept the ocarina, but buried the music box and the note in the garden. The ocarina had been returned, and the little boy in her mother’s story finally made peace with his one true love.
Copyright by Remy Dou