I have had three awakenings. First, there was the crack of my husk when the kernel burst, deep in the earth. I grew and grew, stretching my neck out through the soil. Then there was the crack of the light, the first ray of the sun. Finally there was the third crack, when my tightly closed red blossom was kissed, and I opened.

I presented my gift—a tiny maiden—to a mother who had no child of her own.

The Red Tulip, Thumbelina, Hans Christian Andersen. Illustration by N.C. Wyeth.

red tulip