Collection 1

May 17, 2015

The Black Rose

Do you know who ‘Abdu'l-Baha was? He was a very important person. ‘Abdu'l-Baha was the Son of Baha'u'llah. He was always very kind and good to others. He was a perfect example of what a Baha'i should be. This is a true story about ‘Abdu'l-Baha.

A long time ago, long before you were born, ‘Abdu'l-Baha came to America. While He was on His trip to America, He spoke to many different people ... men and women and children.

He went to many cities - to churches and temples and parks and meetings and houses to tell people about the Baha'i Faith. He spoke to young people and old people and black people and white people and tall people and short people and rich people and poor people...

He told them all about Baha'u'llah.

Wherever 'Abdu'l-Baha went, many Baha'is went with Him. They were Baha'is of all kinds - Persians in Persian clothes, and Americans in American clothes, tall Baha'is and short Baha'is and rich Baha'is and poor Baha'is and old Baha'is and young Baha'is. And all colors - white and yellow and tan and brown and black.

Once, while 'Abdu'l-Baha was in New York, He went to a place where many poor people lived, to tell them about Baha'u'llah. This place was called the Bowery.

Many Baha'is went to the Bowery with 'Abdu'l-Baha. As they walked down the streets, some people stared at them because they were so different.

Soon some of the children started shouting and laughing. They thought that it was funny to see so many different kinds of people together. And, of course, they didn't know who 'Abdu'l-Baha was.

Some of the boys called names and some even threw sticks at ‘Abdu'l-Baha and the Baha'is as they walked down the streets.

Mrs. Kinney was one of the Baha'is with 'Abdu'l-Baha. 'Abdu'l-Baha was staying at her house in New York. It made her sad to see the boys laughing and shouting at 'Abdu'l-Baha. So, she went over to speak to the children.

She told the boys who 'Abdu'l-Baha was. She said that He was a very Holy Man. He had spent many years in prison and had suffered very much, just because He told the Truth and loved all men. Now He was going to a meeting to tell poor people about Baha'u'llah.

The boys were sorry for what they had done. "Can't we go to the meeting, too?" they asked.

"No," Mrs. Kinney said that was impossible. But, since 'Abdu'l-Baha was staying at her house, they could come there on Sunday to meet Him. She gave the boys her address, but she didn't really think that they would come.

When Sunday came, the children arrived at Mrs. Kinney's house dressed up in their very best clothes. She was very surprised to see them. But, she was very happy that they had come to meet ‘Abdu'l-Baha.

All the boys came into the house. They went up the stairs and walked into a large room.

'Abdu'l-Baha was standing at the door. He was smiling and laughing because He liked children very much. He met each one of the boys as they came into His room. He shook their hands and put his arm around their shoulders. His smiles and laughter made them all very happy.

The last child to come into the room was a little black boy. When Abdu'l-Baha saw him, He was even happier than before. In a loud voice He said that here was a black rose.

‘Abdu'l-Baha said these words because he was so happy to see the last little boy. And, this made the little boy very happy, too.

Now, there is really no such thing as a black rose. Most roses are red or yellow or pink or white. But, people say that if there ever were a black rose that it would be the most beautiful flower of all.

You know that some children are red or yellow or pink or white, too. And, some children are brown or tan or black. All of them are like beautiful flowers.

'Abdu'l-Baha loved to be with children of different colors. That is why He was so happy to see the last little boy who came into the room - because he was different from all the others.

Now, while the children were in His room, 'Abdu'l-Baha brought in a large box of chocolate candy. He knew that most little children love candy. He gave every child as many chocolate candies as he could hold in his hands.

The little boys surely never forgot their visit with ‘Abdu'l-Baha. And they surely never forgot what 'Abdu'l-Baha had shown them - people of all kinds and colors are beautiful. 
(Adapted for children by Anthony A. Lee, Illustrated by Rex John Irvine)