Part II | Pink Flower Garden | Tea Time
The Belle and the Bavarian
"We never really did figure out what happened after all,
and we were just going for tea..." - Madame Pink Tea
The Bavarian Blue Rose strolled through her Flower Garden searching for just the right pink flowers to make tea for her guest. Her father had replied to her letter and as a result, the Bavarian Blue Rose's aunt was going to visit her for afternoon tea. Unfortunately, her Flower Garden was unkempt, leaves were strewn carelessly about the garden path and cobwebs cluttered the corners where roses and peonies grew. Fortunately, her tea set was pink and matched the flowers in the garden.
A small tea table sat near a green pond and a bridge covered with pink and green vegetation was visible in the distance. Pink bromeliads, pink daisies, pink roses, pink hibiscus, pink lotus blossoms and a myriad of other types of pink and peach, cranberry, crimson and orange colored flowers, shrubs and flowering bushes grew as far as the eye could see. The Bavarian Blue Rose, Karine (Karine means "pure" in Russian) set small porcelain bowls of cream and sugar on the tea table and went back to the kitchen for the tea cups and saucers while the kettle was boiling water. Karine was preparing Pink Hibiscus Tea for her guest and hoped that their sunny afternoon wouldn't be disrupted by an unseasonal storm. Karine feared she had kept too many memories for too long and her garden was now overgrown, choked with weeds, and dying in many places. Karine kept each memory within its own special flower. This was how she kept track of her family, friends and loved ones from the past.
When Karine's aunt arrived for tea, her aunt introduced herself as Madame Pink Tea. Madame Pink Tea was wearing a pink hat with a pink crescent moon decoration, a pink skirt, and a blouse that looked like the color of sunrise. Madame Pink Tea sat down at Karine's tea table, wiped off a little dust with one gloved finger and said that she had come to tell Karine a story about a lamp that might have been left here in her Flower Garden in the past.
"Have you heard of a story called 'The Poor Woman's Lamp?'" Madame Pink Tea asked Karine as the girl carefully poured two cups of tea and set them down on the tea table next to their saucers.
"No, I have not," Karine replied brusquely. "But I definitely know there are not any lamps here in this garden. That's for sure."
"Why don't you listen to my story, and then we can see if the lamp sounds familiar."
Madame Pink Tea continued...
‘To repay one’s debt of gratitude is the highest virtue.’
During the Buddha’s lifetime, there lived an old woman of profound faith. She longed to offer something precious to the Buddha but was too poor to do so. One day, the old woman encountered a long procession of carts carrying an abundance of flax oil through the streets of Magadha. The oil, she learned, was a donation to the Buddha from King Ajatashatru.
Deeply moved, the old woman cut her hair and sold it. With her meager earnings, she bought just enough oil to light a lamp for half a night. Still, she thought, if the Buddha recognizes my faith and feels compassion for me, then the lamp will burn throughout the night. Sure enough, as strong winds swept down from Mount Sumeru, all the lamps were extinguished, except for the flame of the lamp fed by her oil. The following morning, when people tried to blow the flame out, it glowed all the more brightly, as if to illuminate the world.
The Buddha reproached his disciples for trying to extinguish her lamp, explaining that in previous existences she had made offerings to 13 million Buddhas. He then prophesized that she would become a Buddha called Lamp Light Sumeru. In contrast, Ajatashatru, who was filled with arrogance, did not receive a prophecy of enlightenment from the Buddha.
The parable of “The Poor Woman's Lamp” underscores the value of sincerity that arises from repaying one’s debt of gratitude. In the end, the old woman's lamp was far more valuable than the thousands of barrels of lamp oil offered by the ruler of the country, because it was an offering given with her entire being. 
After Madame Pink Tea finished her story, Karine got up from her chair and excused herself.
"Just a minute Madame Tea, let me check inside to see if I can find what my aunt might have left me all those years ago. Please don't leave. I'll be right back."
And with that, Karine waltzed off in the direction of the kitchen and left the Madame sitting alone at the tea table admiring the peonies waving in the afternoon breeze.
 World Tribune April 5, 2013 p. D "Shining with the Light of Gratitude"