Far away in the kingdom of long before dawn, snow flowers open downward in the dark. In the long barn cows rest, the lashes dark against their eyes, and outside meadowgrass stutters with the cold and listens to the river turning white. Morning, and a child stands in the door.

Her name is youngest flower. From the windows there are two who watch across her to the elm where no one plays often, to the rose garden of the grandmother, and the fairest tree of all, even its name, larch, is music. They are called the king and the queen.

The king is sitting where you cannot see his height, but he is tall enough to speak to birds when they are flying and perhaps you hear his fields grow when you hold his hand. The queen is not so tall, because of bending down so often to the river or the earth and yet her arms will fit around almost anything. The whole of morning they have been there, thinking.

It is Christmas and this year they want to find for youngest flower the most lovely gift of all her life. Before it was a small green house beneath the larch, and once a bed of pansies, and another time a cradle fashioned by the king himself. And far into the afternoon they smile together with the answer coming to them separate and same.

The dark comes quiet and the moon climbs down the branches of the trees and walks across the graves of last year's clover to the edges of the windows where it sings that youngest flower has been given dreams to open...

Night is all around. It breathes into three faces framed by love and in the last moment before sleep, when every shadow rests against another, it begins to whisper, alleleuia.