“…Worried?” asked the peony. “Well, your mother and father shouldn’t be worried.”
“I wish I could get out of here,” said the sad little girl-flower.
And, SHOO, straight with those words, she was picked up by a wave of wind and dropped into another spot on the ground. What? Where? How had the wind moved her completely? She tried to bend the bright orange part of her flower toward the ground, as if touching her toes – if she had had toes. She could bend towards the ground, and she saw that she was standing in a new spot.
“Ms. Peony? Ms. Peony?” the girl-flower called around.
“Yes, dear zinnia,” answered the wise, soft voice from far away.
“Where am I? Did the wind just move me completely?”
“Yes,” answered the peony, “you are farther away from me now. Maybe you can see me if you bend your stem down and almost fully around.”
“I will do that,” said the little zinnia girl-flower, and she bend far, far down, and then twisted far, far around and saw the outline of the pink-white peony. And immediately, she heard whispers, whispers, whispers.
“Those are my friends, the tulips” said the peony.
And the zinnia girl-flower saw the colorful red and white tulips. “Hello,” she said, not sure if they would hear her above their whispers.
“Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello…” she heard back all whispered.
“They are closer to you, and they can help you now,” said the far-away peony. “Ask them about the newness of wishing.”
“The newness of wishing?” asked the zinnia girl-flower
“Yes, and good night, for it is time for me to put my petals up for the nightm, good night, good night.”
“Oh, thank you, Ms. Peony,” the girl-flower yelled back, “thank you!”
“Who are you? You? Where from? You? Who?” The little zinnia girl-flower heard these whispers from the tulips.
“I am a zinnia flower and I am also a girl. I want to go back to being a girl,” said she.
“Well, how did you become a flower?” asked one whisper.
“I wished for it because the drooling wolf was chasing me!” remembered the girl-flower.
“And have you wished for anything else?” asked another whisper.
“I wished to get out of this place, and that was when I was near Ms. Peony, and the wind moved me here!”
“And have you wished for anything else?” asked another whisper.
“No, should I?”
“Maybe you should, maybe, maybe, perhaps, we’ll see, maybe, maybe.” said all the many whispers to each other.
Then the tulips started whispering among themselves, loudly, softly, then loudly again.
“We have a suggestion,” said one tulip.
“Yes, please, anything! You can see it will get dark soon – Ms. Peony is already closing her petals – and my parents will be worried if I don’t come home,” said the girl-flower urgently.
“You must learn about the newness of wishes,” said the same tulip with authority.
“Yes, yes, please tell me.”
“Well, each of the two wishes you made were NEW. And that is why they came true. Wishes come true in the woods,” whispered one tulip.
“Yes, they were new,” the little girl-flower listened, not knowing why this was important.
“So a wish is very, very likely to come true in the woods if it is new.”
“Good,” said the girl-flower, noticing that her petals were starting to pull up a little bit, perhaps preparing to close for the evening, “Oh, please could you tell me more?” she asked, “I’m afraid my petals are starting to close for the night.”
“Yes, yes,” said a different tulip that had a very low sounding whisper, “Listen closely. You will not be able to reverse either of the two wishes that you have already made. You wished to be a flower, and you wished to get out of here.”
“Oh, but if I cannot reverse my wish to be a flower, then how can I become a girl again?” said the girl-flower in a thin, knock-kneed, knock-stemmed voice.
“You must wish for something new,” whispered the same low-voiced tulip.
“Like what?” asked the girl.
“Perhaps you can ask the violas who used to be twin bees.”
“The violas?” and the girl-flower looked around to see two beautiful, fresh viola flowers.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,….” said the girl-flower to the individual whispering tulips.
“You will succeed, succeed, you, yes, we wish you well, you will succeed,” answered the tulips in a variety of whispers.
“Hello, hello,” said the girl-flower to the two gorgeous violas.
“Hello,” answered the two violas together.
“You two are beautiful,” said the girl-flower, “What was it that the tulips told me that you used to be twin bees?”
“Yes,” they said together, and the girl-flower thought that with every word they spoke, she heard their echo because there were two voices together. “Yes,” they said again, “We used to be twin bees, sisters, and we came to the tulips to take their nectar, and we visited the peony also, and one day, we decided that we loved this place. And because we are sisters and twins, we made a wish at the same time and said it out loud. And only realized that we had both said it when it came true.”
“Was the wish to be two violas?”
“No?” asked the girl-flower.
“No,” they said together, “The wish was to be two mushrooms.”
The two viola flowers looked at each other, and the little girl-flower couldn’t tell whether they had been sad about their mushroom choice.
“Yes, we each said outloud at the same time, “I wish I were a mushroom.” There was a beautiful red and white topped mushroom in the shadow, and it was such a hot, hot day, and we each wanted to be that mushroom, in the shadow, in the moss. And so we became twin mushrooms, growing from the same root.”
“But now you’re viola flowers.”
“Yes, and this is what the tulips meant when they said, you could not reverse a wish, but you could make a NEW wish,” said the violas.
“You made a new wish to be violas?” asked the girl-flower.
“Yes, we were mushrooms and we liked it in the shade and on the moss, but one day, we decided we wanted to be bees again, but we couldn’t be bees, so we looked around the woods, and we talked to each other, and we decided we wanted to be violas. So one day, we said at the same time, “I wish I were a viola,” and here we are!”
The little girl-flower was quiet and her petals closed more.
“What is it?” asked the violas.
“I want to be a little girl again.”
“But the flowers and the trees and the grass told us that that was not possible,” answered the violas comfortingly.
“But I want to.”
“Well, what else would you like to be?”
“I could be a little boy I guess, or a little dog, but my parents would be sad if I weren’t myself, just their little girl,” she answered.
“How could you make a wish so that you weren’t reversing your first wish to be a flower?”
“Why couldn’t I just wish to be a little girl?” asked the girl-flower.
“Well, your first wish was going from a girl to a flower, and if you now wish to go from a flower to a girl, then you would be reversing the wish.”
The little girl-flower felt one of her bright orange petals move to close, not fully closed like the peony that takes in all its petals before dark because a zinnia doesn’t close fully for the night, but fully for the distance that a zinnia petal closes.
“I could wish to be a bird and then afterwards wish to be a girl.”
“Maybe you could,” said the violas in one voice.
“I could wish … to be a different kind of flower and then wish to be a little girl again?” asked the girl-flower with hesitation.
“You could, maybe, but we’re not certain,” replied the violas together in their one echoing and pretty voice.
The girl-flower was starting to worry because it was getting darker outside, and one of her flower petals had already closed for the night. “How do you two know that I couldn’t reverse a wish? Who was the last to try to reverse a wish?” she asked.
“We don’t know. No, we don’t know,” agreed the violas with each other.
“Well, then!” And suddenly the girl closed her eyes and in her loudest, most firm voice, she said, “I wish to be myself, a little girl, again!”
… And she was, immediately. She found herself standing on the ground, her feel buried into the soil. She shook her left foot free from the ground, she shook her right foot free from the ground. “I am me.” she whispered.
“I am me!” she yelled.
“I am me,” she said as she started looking around for her flower friends.
She bent down on her knees onto the ground, and saw the two violas, and kissed each of them softly on their petals, and said, “Thank you, my beautiful violas.”
They said with a happy voice, together, “You were right! You could wish to be a girl again! Maybe nobody had ever tried it!”
She said, “Thank you,” again.
She turned to face the tulips, all of whom had closed their petals for the night already, and whispered to them, “Thank you, my helpful whispering tulips.”
And the tulips replied with the softest nighttime rumbling even though it was not yet dark outside.
Then the little girl walked over about ten little-girl steps to the closed peony, bent down on her knees, and kissed the peony softly on its closed head of petals, “Thank you, Ms. Peony,” and she did not get an answer because the wise peony was already sleeping for the night.
And with those goodbyes, the little girl got up, picked up her pail, which was empty and lying not far from the peony, and ran as fast as she could to her mother and her father. As the little girl left the woods, she saw that the sun was setting behind her house, and that she would make it into the house just in time. And the last thing she thought as she left the woods and was running towards the house was what a wonderful bright orange color she had been as a zinnia. “Zinnia, zinnia, zinnia,” was the word running in her head while her feet ran over the grass and later the pebbles toward her house.
Just before she entered the front door, she thought to herself that she might tell her mother and father that she would like to sometimes be called by the nickname, “Nia.”
Thank you for reading this three-part story!