Flowers in Fairy Tales – Storytelling for Everyone

By Jenny

Daisies close up at night-time and wake up with the sun; anemones bud up when they sense a storm; sunflowers follow the sun’s path all day with their big, bright faces.

Not to mention that flowers can literally grow anywhere, and everywhere, wherever they please. Have you seen the classic photo of a flower emerging through concrete? I once heard a fantastic saying ‘There is no such thing as a weed, just a misplaced flower.’

Let’s face it, flowers are magical!

So it’s no wonder that they feature avidly throughout fairytales. Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, as well as many others, have countless stories where flowers are used for their beauty, their fragility and their strength, their enticing scent and of course their meaning.

Over the years, many fairytales have been adapted, however in The Grimm’s version of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ whilst ‘Aurora’ is growing up in disguise she is known as ‘Little Briar Rose’. Once she pricks her finger on the spindle and falls into a deep sleep, thorny briar roses grow all around her for protection. It is only the one handsome prince brave enough to tackle all these thorns that eventually makes it to her side to kiss her awake and break the enchantment.

In Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina, a beggar woman exchanges barleycorn with a peasant’s wife for some food. The wife plants the barleycorn and a flower grows from it. Now the wife had been desperate for a child and as the petals of the yellow and red tulip unfurl, a tiny, little girl is revealed. The woman calls her Thumbelina.

The Tulip has been a strong symbolism of love and the Victorians also linked its meaning to acts of kind charity. The Turkish people who originally planted the bulbs believe the Tulip symbolised paradise on earth – all rather apt meanings considering the fairytale revolves around charity, love and being granted a precious gift you’ve always wished for.

Of course, I can’t forget ‘Beauty and the Beast’— a childhood favourite. An enchantress disguised as a beggar woman knocks on a spoilt Prince’s castle door for some shelter offering but a single rose in payment. The Prince scoffs at such a fragile, ephemeral offering and turns the beggar woman away.

Little did he know that she was a witch and in punishment she turned him into a hideous beast, the furthest thing from the beauty of the rose. The rose she gifted became his curse. All fleeting beauty of a cut flower vanished and was replaced with a decade of life. She gave him until the final petal fell to find true love and break the enchantment.

Flowers are certainly powerful, magical things. Their language, their appearance, their ability to evoke emotions is truly that of fairytales.


Flowers in Fairytales

Author adminPosted on April 27, 2022Categories Fairy Tales, Folktales, NatureTags flowers, grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, magic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *