So they passed her the flowers they had brought, and Annika stood on tiptoe and strewed them– the blue irises, the pink tulips, the marigolds and larkspurs and zinnias, the delphiniums, and the sweet-scented stock… strewed them and scattered them over the golden city, which was her home once more.

The wind had dropped; the flowers fell gently.  Some swirled away on air currents to the city’s edge, but most fell down over the roofs and booths of the funfair, and the people who saw them looked up for a moment and then went back to their work…And one– a large red tulip– fell on the turf path of the Prater where Rocco had reared up to save the life of a small fat boy in a sailor suit.

And it so happened that Fritzi, in the same sailor suit, was walking with his mother and his sister in her pram as he walked each morning along the path that he had walked along that day– when a large red tulip descended and fell at his feet.

Fritzi had learned not to let go of his mother, but he picked up the tulip with his free hand and examined it.

“Mine,” he said…and his mother nodded, for it did not seem to her at all surprising that the heavens had opened and thrown a flower at the feet of her magnificent son.

This, after all, was Vienna.

Ibbotson, Eva, The Star of Kazan. p. 395-397


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