THE ROSE, THE CLOVE AND THE SAGE
As King Herod's savage minions systematically scoured the countryside around Bethlehem, cutting the throats of any newborns they came across, Mary and Joseph fled across the mountains of Judea.
Seeing a village ahead, Joseph ran on to ask for hospitality but alas the people would not help.
While Mary was alone, seated by the roadside nursing the child Joseph took the donkey to drink from the well.
Then she heard shouts getting closer and the ground shook under the hooves of approaching horses. Then she realized it must be Herod's soldiers.
She had to hide but she could see no where suitable no rocks or caves or even a tree.
The only thing Mary could see was a bush where a rose was beginning to bloom.
She walked to the bush and said "Rose, beautiful rose, please open out your petals and hide this child who they want to kill and his poor half-dead mother."
The rose replied, "Get on your way, young woman, and quickly in case the butchers brush by me and blemish my beautiful bloom. Go and see the clove over there. Tell her to shelter you. She has enough flowers to hide you."
She walked to the clove and said "Clove, pretty Clove, please open your branches and hide this child who they want to kill and his poor half-dead mother."
The clove replied,
"On your way, you wretched creature. I don't have time to listen to you. I am too busy producing blooms all over. Go and see the sage plant over there. She has nothing better to do than dispense charity."
She walked to the bush and said "Sage, good Sage, please lift up your leaves and hide this child who they want to kill and his poor half-dead mother."
The sage plant then burst out in such abundant blossoms so as to cover all the earth and its velvety leaves made a canopy for the Christ child and His mother to shelter under
On the road, Herod's men passed by and saw nothing. At the sound of the soldiers passing, Mary shivered in terror but the baby smiled as he was caressed by the leaves. Then the soldiers were gone.
When Herod's men were gone, Mary and Jesus came out from their green refuge.
"Sage, holy sage, thank you. I bless you for your good deed which will always be remembered."
Then Joseph found them, with the donkey which had been restored by a huge serving of barley which a kindly man had given him.
Mary remounted the donkey, and hugged her precious child.
Then Michael, the Archangel of God, descended from the realms of Heaven to keep them company and show them the way to Egypt.
Since that time the rose has had thorns, the clove has foul smelling flowers and the sage plant is used to cure many ills.