The Red Azaleas

Flash Fiction February Challenge Day 24. Today’s prompt is to write your own myth.

Today is my youngest daughter’s 1st birthday so I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Her name is Zailey, which you will see has influenced this myth story. I would love to expand on this one but my priority today is to spend time with my kids, not write. Also, I’m pretty sure red azaleas originated in a greenhouse, not in the wild.

The little girl loved to play in the woods but every time she went out, she had trouble finding her way back. Because of this, she never strayed far from home. The Spirit of the Woods loved to hear the girl’s sweet voice, singing her little songs she made about the birds and rocks and trees. When the girl stopped coming into the woods, it missed hearing her voice, so one day, when the girl was playing near the edge of the forest, the spirit came to find her. It said, “sweet girl, why don’t you play in the trees anymore?”

The little girl replied, “I am afraid I will get lost and won’t be able to find my way home.”

“I see,” said the Spirit of the Woods and it thought for a moment, soft tendrils of vines making circles on the ground. Next to the little girl was a bush with white flowers, an azalea bush. The Spirit of the Woods pointed a mossy branch at the bush, fern-y fingers uncurling. “Do you see this bush with the white flowers? It is an azalea bush. They grow all over these woods. As you explore and play, keep singing your songs. Wherever you go, your voice will grow azaleas with red flowers so you can follow them back to your home. If you stop singing, the bushes will not grow and you will need to find your way back by looking for the red azaleas.”

The little girl was delighted. “So, I can make my own paths through the woods by singing?!”

“Yes,” said the Spirit of the Woods.

So the little girl played in the woods every day, leaving trails of red azalea bushes wherever she walked. The Spirit of the Woods listened to her songs and smiled.

(Photo credit: Greenhouse Product News)

Published by Leah Abbey

I write about nature, parenting, and fiction from my home in the San Diego area. I try to keep this blog updated at least weekly. If you haven't heard from me in a while, it's probably because I've been working on my novel. (Or, just trying to stay sane while my three-year-old runs over his baby sister with a toy school bus.)

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