Diablo And The Dogwood
from Things To See In Springtime
The Dogwood Bloom
What a glorious thing is the Maytime Dogwood in our woods! How it does sing out its song! More loudly and clearly it sings than any other spring flower! For it is not one, but a great chorus; and I know it is singing that "The spring, the very spring is in the land!"
I suppose if one had King Solomon's fayland ears, one might hear the Dogwood music like a lot of church bells pealing, like the chorus of the cathedral where Woodthrush is the preacher-priest and the Veeries make responses.
It was Adam's favourite tree, they say, in the Garden of Eden. And it grew so high, flowered so wonderfully, and gave so much pleasure that Diablo, who is also called the Devil, wanted to kill it. He made up his mind that he would blight and scatter every shining leaf of its snowy bloom. So one dark night he climbed a Honey Locust tree near the gate, and swung by his tail over the wall, intending to tear off all the lovely blossoms. But he got a shock when he found that every flower was in the shape of a cross, which put them beyond his power to blight. He was furious at not being able to destroy its beauty, so did the worst he could. Keeping away from the cross he bit a piece out of the edge of every snowy flower leaf, and then jumped back to the Honey Locust tree.
The Locust was ashamed when she found that she had helped Diablo to do such a mean bit of mischief, so she grew a bristling necklace of strong spikes to wear; they were so long and sharp that no one since, not even Diablo himself, has ever been able to climb that Honey Locust tree.
But it was too late to save the Dogwood bloom. The bites were out, and they never healed up again, as you can see to this very day.
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