Charney’s Little Flower
A Frenchman named Charney incurred the displeasure of Napoleon and was put into a dungeon. He seemed to be forsaken by his friend and forgotten by everyone in the outside world. In loneliness and despair he took a stone and scratched on the wall of his cell, “Nobody cares.”
One day a green shoot came through the cracks in the stones on the floor of the dungeon and began to reach up toward the light in the tiny window at the top of the cell. The prisoner kept part of the water brought to him each day by the jailer and poured it on the blade of green. It grew until at last it became a plant with a beautiful blue flower. As the petals opened in full blossom, the solitary captive crossed out the words previously written on the wall and above them scratched, “God cares.”
But God had a further blessing for this prisoner and the story ends even more happily. The man’s next-cell friend had a little daughter who was permitted to visit the prison. The little girl was pleased with Charney’s love for this plant. And the news reached the amiable Empress Josephine, who commented: “A man who so devotedly loves and tends a flower cannot be a bad man.” And so she persuaded the emperor to set him free.
Charney carried his flower home and carefully tended it the rest of his life. It had taught him to believe in God.