One beautiful spring day a red rose blossomed in a forest. Many kinds of trees and plants grew there. As the red rose looked around, a pine tree nearby said, "What a beautiful flower. I wish I was that lovely." Another tree said, "Dear pine, do not be sad, we can not have everything."
The rose turned its head and remarked, "It seems that I am the most beautiful plant in this forest." A sunflower raised its yellow head and asked, "Why do you say that? In this forest there are many beautiful plants. You are just one of them." The red rose replied, "I see everyone looking at me and admiring me." Then the red rose looked at a cactus and said, "Look at that ugly plant full of thorns!" The pine tree said, "Red rose, what kind of talk is this? Who can say what beauty is? You have thorns too."
The proud red rose looked angrily at the pine and said, "I thought you had good taste! You do not know what beauty is at all. You can not compare my thorns to that of the cactus."
"What a proud flower", thought the trees.
The red rose tried to move its roots away from the cactus, but it could not move. As the days passed, the red rose would look at the cactus and say insulting things, like: This plant is useless? How sorry I am to be his neighbor.
The cactus never got upset and he even tried to advise the rose, saying, "God did not create any form of life without a purpose."
Spring passed, and the weather became very warm. Life became difficult in the forest, as the plants and animals needed water and no rain fell. The red rose began to wilt. One day the red rose saw sparrows stick their beaks into the cactus and then fly away, refreshed. This was puzzling, and the red rose asked the pine tree what the birds were doing. The pine tree explained that the birds got water from the cactus. "Does it not hurt when they make holes?" asked the red rose.
"Yes, but the cactus does not like to see any birds suffer," replied the pine.
The red rose opened its eyes in wonder and said, "The cactus has water?"
"Yes you can also drink from it. The sparrow can bring water to you if you ask the cactus for help."
The red rose felt too ashamed of its past words and behavior to ask for water from the cactus, but then it finally did ask the cactus for help. The cactus kindly agreed and the birds filled their beaks with water and watered the rose's roots. Thus the red rose learned a lesson and never judged anyone by their appearance again.
-- Author Unknown