Bleeding Heart folklore

lisa_a(Z8 OR)July 3, 2001

I've heard that there is a folklore story about bleeding hearts but I've been unable to find more about this. It involves a

princess - sorry I don't know more details. If it rings a bell with people their response is usually along the lines of "yeah, that's familiar" but that's as far as I've gotten. I don't know if it is about native bleeding hearts or the old-fashioned type but I'd love to find the story.

I'm posting this on several other forums on this site because someone out there has to know, right? btw, a search on this site turned up nothing but if someone knows it was discussed and when and where, I'd love to know. Thanks!

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I saw your online inquiry about the story of the bleeding heart. My mother used to tell this story and take the bleeding heart flower apart to form the pieces of the story, two pink rabbits, tow oriental slippers, a dagger and a heart. She was also a writer of children's stories. She wrote the following true story about my sister who loved the story of the bleeding heart. She imbedded the folklore story of the bleeding heart into her story as follows:

Ann's Story of the Bleeding Heart
by Elma Lang

Ann thought she was the most unhappy girl in the world. Although she had gone to her new school for a whole week, she hadn't made a single friend.

Things might have been different if she hadn't been so frightened that first day. Some of the girls had spoken to her, but her throat had become so tight that she hadn't been able to answer them. Maybe after that the girls had though she was stuck up or unfriendly. At any rate, then had left it up to her to make the next move.

Ann stopped to pick a bouquet of lilies of the valley and bleeding hearts for her new teacher. Many were growing in the garden of her new home.

As soon as she was in their classroom after the morning bell rang, Ann took the flowers to her teacher.

"My what lovely bleeding hearts!" exclaimed Miss Johnson, smiling at Ann. "Isn't that a sad name for such pretty flowers? Why to you suppose it was given that name?"

"Don't you know the story?" asked Ann in surprise. "My mother told it to me when I was just a little girl."

" Perhaps you can tell the story to the class," suggested Miss Johnson.

Ann looked at the class and felt horrified. Then she thought, I know the story well, and I love it. Of course I should share it.

Both her hands and her knees were shaking as she broke off one of the flowers, but she bravely stood before the class and told her story. "Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess. Young men from far and near came to pay her court. But the princess was very vain and would have nothing to do with any of them. A young prince from the neighboring country fell deeply in love with her. She ignored him like th others, though he tried and tried to win her heart. One day the prince found a pair of pretty pink rabbits at the market. He sent them to the princess thinking 'these will surely melt her heart.'" Ann carefully broke off the two outside petals of the flower in her hand. She placed them on the teacher's desk. Sure enough they looked like a pair of pink rabbits.
"But the princess went right on ignoring him," Ann continued with her story. "Then the prince sent her a pair of beautiful Oriental slippers." From the front and back of the flower, Ann took off the two long petals. One could easily imagine the dainty heels, the slender insteps, and the widened toes. The looked like a pair of real Oriental slippers.

Ann had to wait until the oh's and ah's of the class had quieted down before she could go on.

"Still the princess would have nothing to do with him. The young prince was so heart broken that he took his dagger and drove it into his heart." The remains of the flower in Ann's hand made the outline of a heart with a line down the center. Ann broke out the stamen, which had made the line. It looked like a dagger. She put it through the center of the heart. Ann held her hand so that the class could see the perfect heart pierced by the dagger.

Ann went on with the story. "As soon as the prince was dead, the princess realized that she had really loved him. 'As long as I live, my heart shall bleed for my prince,' she wept"

"That" finished Ann, "is the story of the bleeding heart.

"Show me how to do it," said Donna, who sat in the front seat.

"Me too, me too!" cried the other girls.

"Ann may show you at recess," Miss Johnson stated firmly.

My story has made everything all right, Ann thought happily as she went back
to her desk. I won't have any trouble making friends now.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2002 at 3:42PM
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lisa_a(Z8 OR)

Thank you for sharing this and responding to my long ago post!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2002 at 6:14PM
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lisa_a(Z8 OR)

Oops, someone emailed me asking if the above story was copyrighted. I accidently deleted the email. If you are out there, the answer is above. I'm the one who asked for the story, not supplied it. You'd have to ask the original author (see above) for permission to reprint.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2003 at 9:19PM
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I love that story. I can't wait till spring to show it to my daughter!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2003 at 11:59PM
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how do you take care of bleeding heart on winter? i just bought one last spring and i would like know,please help winter

    Bookmark   November 2, 2003 at 12:47AM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

dhomie, I know your question was long ago and I suppose you know by now how to take care of a bleeding heart in winter, but the real answer is.... you don't! I live in Z4 and don't do a thing for mine. They tend to die back in the fall, by winter there is nothing above ground, and then the next spring they come back bigger and lovlier then ever. The perfect plant :-)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 11:05AM
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Just what I was looking for! Mom told me the story when I was little, couldn't remember all of it. As I recall, Mom broke up the heart and made earrings and a magic wand. I think I like your story better though. Thanks for giving me a story I can tell my three year old son.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2005 at 5:58PM
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tazdevyl1(z6 NJ)

So THATs the story. Ive been trying to find it as well. Altho I had found on a another site what it makes when pulled apart..however mine was 2 question marks and an exclamation point. I bought my bleeding heart last year, and it quadrupled its size already. The common pink. I have no acquired the pure white, AND I got my hands on the yellow. Well the seeds for it anyway. Have to wait and see if they take. Package says 14-28 days. GRR

    Bookmark   May 31, 2005 at 1:08AM
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This is to TazDevy11 I would like to know where you found your yellow bleeding heart. I had one given to me a few years age and it was beautful but neighbors cats ruined it have not been able to find one would really be greatful for the help.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 9:37AM
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Great story! I know they're looking for stories like this on the potager forum...all about legends of plants used in potagers and gardens. Thanks for bringing this post back up to the top :)

I hope you find your yellow bleeding heart.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 2:04PM
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Just bumping this up, since I recommended the story to the potager forum :)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 11:41AM
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I have not heard this story, but years ago, an old-timer(Mr. Lambert) told me about the bleeding heart flower. "Finding Grandma's glasses" Taking the pedals off to have two rabbits, then seeing a hand held HARP, removing the sides of the Harp, to see a bottle, then splitting the bottle, ( at the top or bottom?) and having a pair of eye glasses, that he referred to as Grandma's glasses. My grandaughter, Julia, did this every summer, for years. Her joy, in this accomplishment , still makes me smile.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 3:27PM
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I've been searching for the one my grandma would tell me. It had slippers, a babys bottle and some other stuff. It seems like there were so many variations! I planted one years ago in he honor even though I can't remember her story :)

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 10:20AM
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