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Resident shares the heart-piercing legend behind a beautiful plant

June 18th, 2021

Every spring at Points West Living Heritage House in Vegreville, a profusion of bleeding hearts bursts into bloom from a shrub in the courtyard. This year, a resident shared the story behind the herbaceous perennial, a legend illustrated by the parts of the bleeding heart blossom.

Learned from her Baba

Rose Kerich says her Baba (grandmother) used to tell her the legend,” says recreation coordinator Kathy Sawchuk. “She told me the story last year, and this year I asked her to share it again with me and several residents.”

The legend of the Bleeding Heart

Here is the story, as told by PWL Heritage House resident Rose Kerich:

A long time ago there was a handsome prince and a beautiful princess. The prince loved the princess very much and wanted to marry her. The princess was not interested and kept saying no.

The prince decided to shower her with gifts, hoping that he would win her love. The first gift was a pair of pink bunny rabbits. Although they were cute, the princess refused marriage. The prince then decided to give her some of the rarest jewels in the world. He had them made into dangling earrings. Once again the princess refused his marriage proposal.

As a last resort he gave her some beautiful slippers made of the finest fabric for her delicate feet. The princess said, ‘No, prince, I do not want to be your bride. Please stop bothering me!’

The prince was sad and heartbroken. He took his sword and pierced his heart.

Illustrated by blossom parts

Rose went on to explain that if you take apart a blossom from the bleeding heart bush, the pieces tell the legend: The two pink petals (top) are the bunnies, below that are the two dangling earrings, then the fine slippers, and finally the single sword.

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