”Where you tend a rose, my lad,
A thistle cannot grow.”
This edition, the one above which is illustrated by Tasha Tudor, was the copy of The Secret Garden I first read in 1973. I didn’t love it then.
I loved the idea of a secret garden. I loved thinking of searching among the hanging ivy, finding a forbidden place, and making it beautiful again. But, the description became so very tedious for me.
I didn’t understand the deeper meaning of the story. That the garden is a metaphor for strength. For joy. For Him.
The children call it Magic. Colin, who has long believed that he will be a hunchback, has practically made himself crippled because of the attitudes of those around him. Mistress Mary, once quite contrary, is the best thing that ever happened to him. She comes to her Uncle Craven’s house, after her parents have died in India, as a spoiled, sour little thing. But she is changed by Martha, the scullery maid, and Dickon, her brother. She is changed by the moor in which she is allowed to explore and listen to the wind “wutherin'”.
(“Aha!” I thought, “Wuthering Heights now has another connection for me!”)
The three decide, Mary and Dickon and Colin, that they will show Colin’s father how strong he is. It will be a surprise to see that his son is not an invalid, but in fact can walk.
Like all the truly great literature of old, this book has a story and a lesson. The lesson in A Secret Garden is valuable for children and adults alike: “To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.”
Read along with Book Journey who invited us to her garden party at the end of May.