It was a beautiful day in the land of Etude House. High above in the blue yonder, birds were singing merrily as they went about collecting cotton clouds to be used as ingredients for the many miracle beauty cures the land is known for.
Meanwhile down below, deers and antelopes were grazing the land. Not far behind in the wake of their trail, the rabbits were hard at work planting new flower seeds. Occasionally, a rabbit would hop one distance too far and end up flat faced on the hind leg of an antelope. The antelope in its shock naturally kicked the poor rabbit. The fluffy creature would end high up on a tree; more often than not, disrupting the squirrels busy collecting nuts and leaves.
This comical chain of events would bring laughters all around! Even to the usually unflinching wise old owl, the wizard and scientist behind many of Etude House’s magical concoctions.
It indeed was a welcomed respite and intermission from the work they were doing.
On one such occasion, a rabbit was flung way over the trees landing deep in the forest. All the animals stopped whatever they were doing and ran off in search of the poor creature. The rabbit, all groggy after a hard landing, dusted the dirt off its fur and began to look around. All around him were dying trees with rotten fruits and leaves strewn all over the ground. He immediately realised that this must be the legendary ends of the land where as a kindle, he was told stories of how an evil queen was once banished to live out her remaining days here in shame.
The sun was setting fast so the rabbit picked itself up and started to look for a way out. As he hopped and skipped under the fading light, he stumbled over what he initially thought was a big piece of fallen tree branch. Upon closer inspection and to his astonishment, he discovered that it was actually a little girl!
He noticed that her lips were pale and the colour had run from her skin. Her slow breathing indicated that she was still alive, perhaps in a deep slumber. The rabbit noticed a flower with thorny stem in her clutches which he managed to gently pry away. He gave it a quick sniff and violently threw it to the ground. That flower was so offensive that the grass it landed on started dying and turned to dust!
The flower must have been the evil queen’s creation and attempt at trying to replicate the roses found throughout Etude House but instead of rejuvenating and charming, this one was meant to destroy!
The rabbit then realised that the girl must have fallen into her unconscious state after pricking her finger on the stem for if she had inhaled the toxic fume, she would have died instead. “Humans do not have the same protection against toxic fumes as the animals do so it was a lucky escape for her,” he thought.
Soon all the other animals appeared after successfully tracking down the rabbit’s whereabouts. The wise old owl ever so carefully, inspected the flower and began hooting out ingredients needed for a cure for the other animals to search for.
One by one, they each came back with a specific ingredient. As the owl started to mix and stir them in a makeshift bowl made out of coconut husk, he realised there was one important missing ingredient, which in his fast catching old age, has slipped his memory. All the animals started to feel despondent at this point and even more so, the wise old owl himself.
Then amidst the chattering and heaves of disappointment of all present, a faint voice was heard. The wise old owl asked everyone to be quiet and turning to the direction of the voice, he saw a tiny squirrel. He walked over and the squirrel whispered into his ears. The owl’s ears and eyes perked up and immediately summoned the mighty eagle to fetch the missing ingredient.
In a woosh, the eagle came back and the wise old owl could complete the concoction for the cure. Gently, he peered over the girl and dabbed the mixture onto her lips.
As if by magic, colour started to come back to her lips and she opened her eyes! All the animals that were present were awed and struck by the transformation.
Standing before them was a girl as immaculate and beautiful worthy of any kingdom. Indeed, the magical cure had transformed the girl into a princess! It was almost as if witnessing the full bloom of a rose!
Her lips were moist and lustrous from the sheer butter extract and rose oil extract. So rich with vivid pigments but yet they look so gentle and tender like her cotton-soft skin and infectious sweet smile…
Soon at the instruction of the owl, the animals began to apply the mixture on every blade of grass, trees and plants.
The owl made more and experimented with different colours. The land’s end once a dark place has transformed into a beautiful and fertile land with vibrant coloured roses, just like the girl whose lips are now of velvety soft texture and rich rosy colour.
The missing ingredient the squirrel whispered according to the wise old owl, was the enchanting pure red rose called the ‘&Rose’.
Written for Etude House