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• Online links to story versions / info about "The Blue Rose"
• SOS - Searching Out Stories / info about "The Blue Rose"
~~Advice, References from Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians




Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories / information.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
hort descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.

The Blue Rose, an adaptation by Rose, the Story Lady

Background information

The Complete Russing Folktale - Google Books Result

An adaptation of the Chinese folktale by Marilyn Kinsella

An adaptation by Richard Martin


Advice, Discussion and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories / information.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Short descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.

1) Richard Martin has a version on his web site. I have found 2 printed sources for it: The Blue Rose (China) retold by Frances Frost - printed in Folk Tales 2 Ronald Goodman, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1973. The citation in this book says: The Blue Rose from Legends of the United Nations, by Frances Frost., 1943, used by permission of McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Here is a skeleton of the story:
I'm not sure, but I may have been the first person to circulate it on Storytell - after I heard it from a local teller, Regina Haas-Sauer. I have since seen a number of other versions (some possibly on this list) and have been very struck by just how different versions can become; ranging from a tale of love found at last to a feisty girl making sure she gets her own way in life!

2) "The Blue Rose" in World Folktales: An Anthology of Multicultural Folk Literature, Teacher's Guide by Anita Stern, National Textbook Company, 1994.

3) Marie L. Shedlock brings the full text of the story "The Blue Rose" in her book The Art of the Story-Teller, p. 204--212. She writes that the author is Maurice Baring. The Blue Rose by Maurice Baring. - House of Stratus, 2001.

4) Full text from:
Story Socks Libraries
This is the same version that is retold by Rose Owens, rosethestorylady, at

The Blue Rose -- A folktale from China

There was once an Emperor who had a very beautiful daughter, his only child. She was his pride and joy. His treasure, he cherished her above all else. As he became old and his health began to fail, he realized that he might not always be there to care for and protect this precious daughter. He made up his mind that it would be wise if he were to find a husband for his daughter.

When it was announced that the Emperor was seeking a husband for the Princess, suitors from many lands made their way to the palace to request his daughter’s hand in marriage. The Princess pleaded with her father.

“Father, let me remain with you to care for you. I have no wish to marry and leave you.”

But her father insisted. Finally he agreed to allow her to name one qualification that her chosen husband must meet—be it wealth or looks or special ability or whatever. The Princess said she would name that qualification on the next day. That evening the Princess went to the garden to talk with the gardener’s son—her childhood playmate.

“If I say my husband must be handsome, he might be handsome but have a cruel heart. If I say my husband must be kind, he might also be terribly old. Oh what qualification should I specify?”

As they discussed the problem, the Princess and the gardener’s son devised a difficult test but not so difficult as to be impossible.

“And it must not be too simple,” said the gardener’s son, “ so that it is up to you to determine if the man qualifies.”

Late that night they finally determined what that qualification must be.

The next morning the Princess told her father,

“I will marry the man who can bring me a blue rose.” The never-ending stream of suitors ended for none could find a blue rose.

A wealthy merchant, not wanting to waste time looking for the blue rose, went to a flower vendor.

“I will give you a bag of gold if you can find me a blue rose,” he said.

After searching the world over, the flower vendor gave up. He bought a strong dye and dipped the stem into it. The petals of the rose turned a pale blue.

“Keep the rose in the vase with the dye,” he told the merchant, “until just before you give it to the Princess.” The merchant brought the rose to the Princess. The Princess reached out and took the rose from his hand. As she looked at the rose, a drop of blue dye fell from the stem and puddled in her hand. She looked at the bluish-green leaves and then looked into the merchant’s eyes. He could not meet her gaze.

“I cannot marry you,” she said. You have lied to me. I would have a husband who is true.”

There was a handsome young warrior who would marry the Princess. He was strong and powerful. None dared to stand against him. The young warrior went to the King of a neighboring kingdom.

“Bring me the blue rose,” he said, “or I will kill you and half the people in your Kingdom.”

The King, who valued peace and did not wish to fight, presented the warrior with a blue sapphire that was carved in the shape of a rose.

The young warrior presented the sapphire rose to the Princess. She looked into his cold eyes that were as hard as the rose of stone.

She said, “I cannot marry you. I must have a blue rose that is real and not one that is cold and hard like your heart.”

The youngest of the king’s advisors also sought the Princess’ hand. He conceived a clever plan. He commissioned an artist to make a blue bowl. On the side of the bowl was painted a blue rose. The rim of the bowl was edged in gold. It was fragile and delicate—a thing of rare beauty. The young advisor presented it to the Princess on bended knee. The Princess looked at the bowl and looked into the eyes of the young man.

“Marry me, Princess,” he said, “I will help you rule your kingdom.”
The Princess shook her head, “I must have a rose that is real.”

That evening the Princess sat in the garden talking to the gardener’s son.

“None of them could bring me the blue rose. I must marry someone who will be honest and true with me as you have always been. He cannot be hard and cruel. I need someone who is kind and patient as you have been. I do not want a husband who seeks only for power and riches. I want one who will value me for myself as you have~”

“Princess,” said the gardener’s son.

“Tomorrow I will bring you the blue rose. Wait for me in the blue room just before sundown.”

The next day when the sun was almost gone, the Princess sat in the blue room. The gardener’s son approached bearing a plain white rose in his hands.

“But it is a common white rose,” said one.

“He is the gardener’s son,” said another.

“Surely the Princess will send him away,” said a third.

The gardener’s son knelt before the Princess. Through the blue stain glass windows, the rays of the setting sun shone touched the petals of the white rose.

As the Princess reached out to take the rose, a murmur arose.

“He is only the gardener’s son.”

“The rose is not truly blue.”

The Princess stood.

“My people, let me tell you what I see. I see a young man who has always been honest and true. I see a young man who has had the courage to be patient and kind enough to wait until I knew what was in my heart. I see a young man who values me for myself. In his hands he hold a gift of love. And it is blue. And if you cannot see that the rose is blue, I say that you are colourblind.

The old Emperor took his daughter’s hand and he took the hand of the gardener’s son and joined them. And the Princess married the gardener’s son and they lived happily ever after, not because this storyteller said so, not because that’s the way that love stories should end. But because the Princess and the gardener’s son knew that their happiness was in their own hands and that each was responsible for making sure that the other was happy

Created 2003; last update 5/25/09