Daisy and Rose

Based on a traditional folktale
Retold by Simon Nguyen
 
A couple was living happily with their young daughter Daisy until the wife fell seriously ill. Before she died, the wife asked her husband to quickly remarry so their daughter could have a new mother. The man fulfilled his late wife’s wish, marrying a widow who had a daughter named Rose from her previous marriage. The new wife treated Daisy like her real daughter, earning praise from neighbors and friends.

After the man fell bedridden, his wife became the de facto head of the household. It was then that she started to show her true colors. She had Daisy do all the heavy house chores and took away her new clothes.  Her own daughter, on the other hand, was adorned with fancy clothes and was permitted to go to school.

Time passed, the two girls grew up to become two attractive ladies. Rose, as her name suggested, was glamorous and sophisticated. Daisy was elegant and graceful.

Despite her clothes dirtied from working, Daisy attracted more attention from the people of the village (especially the young men) than her stepsister. Rose was confused and frustrated.

“What do people see in a hick like her?” she thought to herself.

Rose went to complain to her mother, who consoled her and promised to avenge her. The stepmother ordered Daisy to switch from housework to labor work, tending the farm from dawn to dusk. Despite her body muddied from working in the field and her hands slightly rugged from heavy labor, she continued to attract attention to the dismay of the stepmother.

One day, the kingdom’s monarch proclaimed a festival inviting all unmarried ladies in his kingdom and their parents to attend. The aging king wanted to use the opportunity to find a suitable wife for the crown prince.

The ambitious Rose saw this as a golden opportunity to marry the prince and become a future queen. With her beauty and intelligence, she would be the prime candidate. The only person who could snatch this chance away from her was Daisy. Rose pleaded to her mother to stop her stepsister from attending the festival at all costs.

After much thought, the stepmother came up with a trick to keep Daisy from attending the festival. She mixed green beans and black beans into a huge basket and told her to sort the beans by color.

“You must finish sorting the beans before you could go to the festival,” the wicked woman said. “If I caught you cheating, I will throw both you and your ailing father out of the house!”

After her stepmother and stepsister left for the festival, Daisy broke down and cried. She knew that it would be impossible for her to finish sorting the beans in time to attend the festival. Her crying was heard by a neighbor who came over to check on her.

“My dear Daisy, why are you crying?” the old woman asked.

After Daisy disclosed to her what happened, she told her to wait for her and left. She came back a half hour later, accompanied by several villagers. These people had observed Daisy since she was little and were dissatisfied with the stepmother’s poor treatment of her. After they heard about Daisy’s current situation from the old woman, they were eager to help her out. In no time, the beans were properly sorted. When one villager saw that Daisy only had old and dirty clothes, he gave her one of his daughter’s dresses.

Daisy washed her body and put on the dress. Everyone was stunned at how beautiful she was. They already knew she was a beauty, but this was many times greater than they had imagined.

When Daisy entered the festival, all eyes were set on her. The stepmother and Rose were absolutely baffled when they saw her -- partly because they did not expect her to attend the festival and mostly because of her beauty.

“Who is she?” people whispered to themselves. “Her beauty may even surpass the moon fairy.”

The prince was mesmerized by her beauty and instantly fell in love with her. He boldly came to her and asked her to dance with him. Daisy accepted and the glamorous pair moved to the music.

“They are truly a golden couple,” people said.

The king was pleased with his son’s choice and gave blessing to the pair. The prince and Daisy got married in a dream wedding. While the people of the land were celebrating the union, the stepmother and her daughter were scheming to separate the two.

“We need to get Daisy back here somehow,” said Rose.

“She is a filial daughter. If something was to happen to her father, she would come home immediately.” The stepmother said.

Daisy’s father suddenly passed away several days after her wedding. The stepmother sent Daisy the bad news and invited her to come home to attend her father’s funeral.  Although she was suspicious of the stepmother’s intention, Daisy could not miss out on seeing her father for the last time.

When the princess consort returned home, she was greeted enthusiastically by her stepmother and stepsister. The two pleaded her to forgive their previous wrongs. Daisy took it as a sincere gesture and forgave them. After the father’s funeral, the stepmother threw a private feast in Daisy’s honor. Little that Daisy knew, she was stepping into a trap set by the wicked stepmother and stepsister. The two put sleeping drugs in her drink which rendered her immobile. They then carried her to the river in the darkness of night and released her body into the water.

The next morning, Daisy’s attendants entered her room but could not find her. A frantic search ensued. When they searched near the river, they found a piece of her garment.

“My dear sister must have taken a night walk and accidentally fell into the river,” Rose said weeping profusely.

When the prince heard the news of his wife’s drowning, his heart was drowned in sorrow. He hastily traveled to the village to seek confirmation. It was there that he witnessed the sorrowful display of affection for Daisy by her stepsister. Rose wept publicly for three straight days. All of this, of course, was part of Rose’s plan to win over the prince’s heart. The prince took it as a sincere gesture. He commended Rose for her sisterly love and decided to take her to the palace as a lady-in-waiting.

To be continued……….