Once a year, the flower queen held a festival in her garden where the most beautiful flower was awarded a prize.
"May I go with you?" the evening primrose asked the azalea.
Fluffing up her gorgeous red-petalled gown, the azalea said, "You're such a straggly little plant, all stalk and no flower. How dare you ask me to accompany you?"
"But my blossoms come out at night," said the evening primrose, flicking a tendril to wipe away some dew.
"You can come with me," said a hearty hibiscus bush.
"That's very kind," said the evening primrose.
"Good riddance," said the azalea. "And do stop talking. I need a snatch of beauty sleep before I set off."
When the hibiscus bush and the evening primrose arrived, the flower party was in full bouquet. Bougainvilleas bopped. Crepe myrtle did the cancan. The evening primrose danced with everyone and told them all how pretty they looked.
The azalea arrived in full bloom but with a long face.
"You smell nice," said a bee, buzzing over to her.
But the arrogant azalea closed her petals so the bee couldn't drink.
The flower queen strode on stage to make an announcement and all the flowers clustered around her.
"I award this year's most beautiful flower award ... to evening primrose!"
"But she isn't even in flower," cried the azalea.
The flower queen presented the evening primrose the crown of daisies."Because you have the kind of inner beauty that never fades," she said. "You are such fun to be with and you find the best in everyone."
"But what about me?" said the azalea, shaking her petals.
No one paid her any attention. And as the sun sank behind the mountain, the late blossoms of the evening primrose shone like gold.
This tale is loosely based on an ancient Naxi tribe legend.
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