Memories of Bleeding Hearts in my Mother’s garden are vivid. Planting these beauties in my shade garden was a must when we moved into our home many years ago. Each year I look forward to their spring blooms and the memories they bring. Delicate little white and red hearts dangling from their tender stems, blowing in the breeze in my yard are precious.
My Mother used to take a blossom from the plant and fold down the bottom of the heart to create what appears to be a girl in a pretty red skirt.
Bleeding Heart Blossom
Bleeding Heart Girl in Dress
In playing this game with my girls, I discovered that if you fold the petal down a little more you now have a young boy in his pants.
White Bleeding Heart Boy
When I decided to post about the beloved Bleeding Heart, I did some research and discovered a wonderful legend that I love and will share with my grandchildren.
BLEEDING HEART LEGEND
Long ago there lived a noble prince who tried in vain to win the heart of a very beautiful princess. The prince had brought the princess wonderful gifts from his travels far and wide. Yet she had taken no notice of him. One day the prince returned from a long journey with very special gifts to surely win the love of the princess. First he presented her with two magical pink bunnies. (Peel off the two outer petals and set them on their sides to display two little bunnies.)
Story of the Bleeding Heart, Bunnies
The princess only sighed and barely looked at the little bunnies. The hopeful prince had another gift for the princess – he presented a pair of beautiful enchanted earrings. (Remove the two long white petals and hold them next to your ears.)
Bleeding Heart Story Earrings
These she took happily, but declared she could not love him. Still, he can’t bear to give up hope, and he makes her another gift of slippers made of the finest silk.
Again, the princess hardly noticed the prince’s gift. Now the poor prince was utterly heartbroken. He could try no more to win the heart of the princess. He rose up, pulled a dagger from his sheath and stabbed himself in the heart. (Remaining in the flower is a heart shape with the stamen, appearing as a dark green line down the center. Hold the heart up, carefully remove the dagger-like line, and plunge the dagger through the heart.)
Bleeding Heart Story with Stake
The princess was overcome by the dedication of the dying prince and his unending love for her. She realized too late that she loved him also. “Alas,” she cried out. “I have done wrong, my own heart is broken also. I shall bleed for my prince forever more!” And her heart bleeds to this very day.
There are many blossoms on a Bleeding Heart in full bloom, so next time you pass such a delightful array, perhaps you’ll have permission to pick a heart and discover the mysteries within
Adapted from Story of Bleeding Hearts from Four Friends and a Blog and Forklore and the Bleeding Heart and Thursday Myths and Legends