I’ve grown up overnight in the north-west corner of the queen’s garden. I’m standing under a two-handled goblet that the queen placed here, upside down, when she came last night at sunset. Now, in the palest gleam of the dawn, two roses are bursting from my stalk. One is red, the other white. The queen must choose which rose to eat, and that will determine whether she gives birth to a boy or a girl.

She had better not eat both roses, because that will spell real trouble.

Yet my petals are delectable, and the first bloom will melt too soon on her tongue.

The Edible Rose Stalk in Prince Lindworm, Scandinavian Legends, retold by Gywn Jones. Illustration by Kay Nielsen.

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