Here is the story I told yesterday at the Green Dragon: Once there was a flower which bloomed on the side of a mountain. It was a pretty flower, star-shaped and white as snow. But living up there on the cliff, it was feeling pretty lonely too. ”I want to explore the world and its wonders”' the flower thought as it looked down to the distant valleys. ”But here I stand, rooted to the barren cliff with only the goats keepin me company...” One day, it looked up to the sun and cried: ”I want to be free like you and wander free”, the flower shouted. The sun looked at the tiny flower and pondered. ”So, you want to roam free and see the world? Are you sure that is what would make you happy?” ”Of course I am, silly!” the flower laughed. ”Days are so boring here and I am wasting my short life. I want to see the world!” The sun grinned, but as it felt (indeed) a bit silly that day, it decided to help the fool little flower. ”Let me help you, little mountain star. I will turn you into a lady, so you can roam the world.” ”Oh wonderful!” the flower cheered. ”Please make me beautiful then,” it added. ”I will,” the sun said, ”but there is one condition. You shall not be an ordinary lady, no.” ”You are only a flower in an human form, and not a real lady in that way.” ”Because of this you shall not fall in love nor kiss any other person.” ”And what if I do that?” the flower asked. ”Then the magic loses its power and you will turn into a flower again,” the sun replied. ”Oh my! Well, I suppose I won't kiss anyone then, whatever that is!” the flower giggled. So, the sun turned the flower into a beautiful lady who was dressed all in white. The sun named her ”Esther” which meant a star. Esther loved being human. She could climb down the mountain and move! She was no longer rooted to the earth, and she could go wherever she wanted! So Esther travelled from country to another, explored the seas, the forests, plains and fields. The world was beautiful and exciting, full of wonders. But after a while, she started to feel a bit bored. Esther always wanted to see new wonders and places, but it was getting harder after each journey! ”Surely there must be more to see,” she thought. One day she asked the sun: ”I know you have seen all the places in the world from up there,” she said. ”Please tell me, what is the best of them?” The sun sighed. ”There is one place that is the best of all, but it is a place I can't go.” ”Oh! What is it then?” Esther asked. ”The best place on earth is your very own home,” the sun said. ”In case you don't know, it is the place where your loved ones are. It's the place dearest to you.” Esther felt betrayed. ”But... You said I cannot fall in love if I want to stay human!” ”If I want to feel the joy of being at the very best place on earth, do I have to turn into a flower again?” ”Dear Esther,” the sun said, ”I would give anything if I could be at home somewhere.” ”But here I am, doomed to wander the skies forever so that all places on earth could enjoy sunshine.” Esther burst into tears and ran. She ran through forests, jumped over brooks, climbed over hills, running away from a loneliness she couldn't escape. One spring day she came to a little town that was located in a peaceful valley. It was one of those places where time seemed to stop, in a good way though. I guess it was pretty much like the Shire. As she was resting on a riverbank, she heard voices, she heard... singing! She saw a fellow on the other side of the river, sitting on a rock. He looked as lovely as he could sing. Esther felt something strange inside her. It was a feeling she had never felt before. ”Oh my,” she thought. ”This must be the thing they call love!” First she felt afraid, but then she understood that she could hide her feelings, keep them secret. She soon found out that the boy came to the river many times a week, and there he sang. And when the sky started to turn dark, he left. Esther listened to the singing from a distance so that the boy couldn't see her. She tried not to fall in love and not to show any further interest... But one day, she couldn't resist anymore. As the boy left the river, Esther decided to follow him. The boy went to a farm surrounded by beehives. He sneaked under a window and waited there for a while. Then, Esther heard the most beautiful voice on earth. It was a lass, singing from the window to the lad! First, the boy listened to the lass, and then, he joined the singing. It was the most beautiful duet ever heard, a duet of secret love. After a while, the singing stopped, and the two lovers started a conversation. Esther soon found out that the boy wanted to marry the lass, the beekeeper's daughter. But the boy was afraid that the father wouldn't approve his proposal. Esther sighed. Why is this thing called love so forbidden, she pondered. ”I must do something. These two belong together!” Then she got an idea! When the boy departed for his home at the break of the dawn, Esther followed him. She reached him on the fields next to the farm. ”Wait!” Esther shouted to the lad who was a bit startled, for sure. ”I know how you can get your dear girl,” Esther said. ”Her father must soon wake up. Bring him here onto this field, and I will see to it that his daughter will soon be your wife.” ”How... How do you know all this?” the boy asked. ”I just know. Go now! Tell the beekeeper that you will grant him something precious if you may marry his daughter.” The boy looked baffled, but he obeyed nonetheless.