Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Legend of the Christmas Rose is a children's story about a secret garden deep in the Goinge Forest that blooms once a year.  Selma Lagerlof wrote it based upon a traditional Swedish folktale about an outcast family of robbers who live in the forest, which is located in the Skane area of Sweden. Showtime is Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm

 

The Legend of the Christmas Rose is a traditional Swedish folktale about an outcast family of robbers who live in the Goinge Forest.  There is Robber Father, Robber Mother and their brood of five children.  Robber Father is a criminal and cannot go into town, yet Robber Mother and her brood, are free to go into the village where they beg for food and money.

One day on a trip to the village Robber Mother finds a secret garden belonging to Abbot Hans.  He is very proud of his garden, but Mother Robber tells him of another garden much more beautiful that blooms only once a year, deep in the forest, on Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of the Child.  Abbot Hans has heard this legend and longs to see the garden.  Robber Mother invites him to witness the event provided he does not set a trap to capture them in their cave.  Abbot Hans agrees.  He then approaches the Bishop Absalon to pardon the Robber family.  The Bishop Absalon replies, "that day you send me a blossom from the garden in Goinge forest, I will give you letters of ransom for all the outlaws you may choose to plead for."

The following Christmas Eve Abbot Hans and the lay brother ventured forth into the forest to find the cave of the Robber family.  When they arrive and the miracle in the forest takes place, the lay brother is terrified, afraid and believes the evil spirits of hell are coming closer.  He strikes a forest dove and says, "Go thou back to hell, whence thou art come!"  His rage causes the forest to return to cold and dark.  As the blooms are shriveling up Abbot Hans scurries to get a bloom, but to no avail, and in grief he dies.

When they brought Abbot Hans back to the cloister he held tightly in his hands a pair of white root bulbs.  The lay brother realizing that he had caused the Abbot's death planted the bulbs in the secret garden and tended them all year long through the spring, summer, and fall.  He then forgot about them.  On the next Christmas Eve he was reminded of Abbot Hans and he went into the garden and lo and behold from the ground where he had planted the roots had sprung flourishing green stalks, which bore beautiful flowers with silver white leaves.  He takes a bloom to Bishop Absalon who pardons the Robber family.  The lay brother for his penance moves into the cave that was the Robber family's home.

But Goinge forest never again celebrated the "hour of our Savior's birth." But, the flower lives on today and has been named the Christmas Rose also known as Helleborus niger.  Sometimes known as the "Snow Rose" or "Winter Rose," it blooms during the depths of winter in the mountains of Central Europe.

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