The Lesson of the Oleander Trees

Far to the west, in a garden by the sea, grow beautiful oleander trees, rose-red and white. There we rested on the cliff all the summer afternoon, sheltered by the great pines and the graceful arbutus tree. Across the water towered the sleeping mountains, wrapped in soft blue haze; and far below us, with multitudinous sparkles of mirth, came and went the sunny laughter of the sea. Then the lady of the garden told me the story of the oleander trees.

They had been brought to her from afar by a beloved friend, and she had kept them carefully in the shelter of the house; but they made little growth. The next summer she put them on the veranda, where they stayed for several seasons, never seeming able to open the few buds which formed, in spite of all the patient, tender care she gave them. At last, quite discouraged by their lack of growth, yet not caring, for the giver's sake, to throw them away, she gave them to her little son for his own garden, and relinquished her anxious care of the plants. The child was delighted; planted them himself; then left them alone. They had sun and rain and plenty of room. Evidently they had needed further transplanting and more freedom; for the next year saw them radiant with beautiful flowers.

More Than Comfort
April 23, 1927

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