Forget-Me-Not…The Legend.

Every Spring, a field of forget-me-nots appears in my parents’ front yard.

In some ways, they’re not the most showy of flowers and aren’t unlike lantana in appearance, which has become a weed of plague proportions throughout the Australian bush.

Yet, there’s a sweetness about them and although the flowers are quite small and seemingly insignificant, they’re a brilliant blue and for so many of us, there’s that sentimental connection. They remind us of someone, perhaps somebody who has passed away and they remind us of once upon a time.

dsc_3543

Walking Through the Forget-Me-Nots. Photo: Rowena Curtin.

What I didn’t know, was that there are a few legends about how the forget-me-not received its name.

In one German legend, it is said that as God was naming all of the plants, one tiny blue flower did not want to be overlooked, so the flower called out, β€œForget me not, Lord.”

forget-me-nots

In a different legend, it is said that a boy and a girl were walking by a river that flows into the Rhine. The girl saw a lovely flower growing just by the water’s edge. The bank of the river was steep and the water swift.

“Oh, the beautiful flower!” she cried.

“I will get it for you,” said the boy. He sprang over the side of the steep bank and, catching hold of the shrubs and bushes, made his way to the place where the flower grew.

He tried to tear the plant from the earth with both hands, hoping to get it all for her who was watching him from the bank above.

The stem broke and, still clasping the flower, he fell backward into the rushing stream.

“Forget me not!” he cried to her as the waters bore him down to the falls below. She never did forget her blue-eyed friend who had lost his life trying to get her a flower.

“Forget me not!” she would say over and over until her friends called the little blue flower by this name.

river

Not unsurprisingly, forget-me-nots remind me of my Mum and Dad but also my Mum’s Mum for some reason. I could see her liking them and she was a very sentimental person and like my Mum, she also had the most incredibly pretty blue eyes.

So when I saw a forget-me-not tea cup, saucer and plate for sale on eBay, I had to have it. However, the forget-me-not seems to be associated with tragedy because although the tea cup arrived safely in the mail, it fell and broke shortly after. Indeed, I’d only used it once. It sat on the sideboard in pieces looking sad and forlorn, for some time and I wondered whether I should simply throw it out but how can you forget a forget-me-knot and eventually my husband got out the Superglue and fixed up a host of my mistakes. Like so many of us, it bears the scars of experience but through this near loss, it’s gained appreciation and an understanding that even a tea cup doesn’t need to be perfect!

Do forget-me-knots have a special meaning to you? Any stories? I’d love you to share!

xx Rowena

Sources

Project Gutenberg Classic Myths Retold by Mary Catherine Judd with drawings entirely from classic sources http://www.gutenberg.org/files/9855/9855-h/9855-h.htm#xxxviii

The River by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne). August 1850. Steel etching. Illustration for chapter 47, “Martha,” in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield.

15 thoughts on “Forget-Me-Not…The Legend.

  1. Tails Around the Ranch

    Even as a plant lover I was not aware of the naming legend. Fascinating. Personally I always view forget-me-nots as the harbinger to Spring…of what’s to come more than the past but it works both ways. ღ

  2. Rowena Post author

    Ha! You’ll appreciate my dogservations from our morning drive. I hadn’t really thought of this much before but where we live there’s a huge diversity of dog breeds. You might recall that my parents had a house at Palm Beach across the water. That’s what I’d describe as a champagne budget whereas we’re more of a beer budget over here. Anyway, I was driving through there one afternoon and saw something like 6 golden spoodles in 15 minutes and you sit at a cafe in Avalon and it is like dogsville there. Everyone’s there with their dog under the table and Bilbo looked like a giant. Again, loads of golden spoodles. I must admit they were gorgeous and I did look them up before we got Lady but I’m pleased we got her Royal Scruffiness from the country instead. Those big brown eyes, melt your heart and I sort of love how she madly wags her tail even though she’s in trouble.

  3. Rowena Post author

    Our seasons are obviously milder here and our Spring isn’t such a dramatic shift but I do notice the forget-me-nots are out early in my parents’ garden.
    I love your view of them representing the past and the future. That’s lovely!

  4. New Journey

    One of my favorites little blue flowers….my mom always had them in her garden…..When I lived in Alaska there state flower is the Alpine Forget-me-not….its everywhere….love your post…kat

  5. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Kat. You never mentioned that you’d lived in Alaska. I know we don’t know everything about each other but…! My grade 5 teacher when I was about 11 had just been to Alaska and showed us slides of the alpine flowers, which blew me away. Yes, that was back in the days before Google, digital photos and you were lucky if Mum and Dad took an annual photo of you. So, seeing these photos was special.

  6. Rowena Post author

    Sorry, the forget-me-knows don’t grow in your garden. Not much grows in my garden. We live close to the beach and have sandy soil.
    My parents’ front yard has moss growing in it, although Sydney gets quite hot through Summer…stinking hot at times.

  7. Marigold blooms...

    I’ve managed to cultivate shady spots in the garden, so my hostas are faring better. Even my beloved poppies did well this Spring, which was wet and moderate. But the astilbe and forget-me-nots continue to elude me! One day! You said sandy soils? Get those potatoes going!! πŸ™‚

  8. New Journey

    I believe fate took me to Alaska…it was the last place I spent time with my father before he had a fatal heart attack, 1983…..it was if I was moved magically, I sold and gave away everything I owned, took very little, convinced my X that our 11 year old would benefit from moving to Alaska…both my sisters lived there at that time, they owned a business together….my folks were visiting….so up I went…2 jets and float plane to the island, there is a ferry buy my sisters splurged and gave me a thrill…LOL I lived in Craig on Prince of Wales Island, the most southern island in Alaska….it was the last frontier of the USA….it was beautiful, lonely and mind altering all at the same time….I only stayed 3 months, my father passed, I packed up and moved back to California…while I was on the island I found out I was pregnant with twins…so I felt the need to be back in familiar territory, familiar MD’s…all that stuff…long story with my girls, I have an incompetient cervix…I lost my girls at 6 months…2 beautiful angels that were needed elsewhere….that was 1983….a very bad year for me….but back to Alaska….yes, it has majestic beauty for sure, the sun sets at 11:30p in July and I was witness to the aurora borealis more than once…flowers were tall and happy along the road…there were no lights in the little city I lived in, the top speed on the entire island was 45mph ….lots of eagles, and plenty of salmon…LOL I went back many times to visit…my sister still owns property on the island…but she has no desire to go back….pretty isolated for sure…LOL xxk

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