It did not begin with a rose. It began as all stories do with a wondering. Before the forest, the castle, the storm, there was a ship that went out with a question - what can I find at the far side of the world? This unanswered question, this lost ship, opened a space for story to tumble in. Other questions followed, guiding the story as possibility guides the laying of a new road ... what do we do now, where can we live, what gift would you like, who are you, will you take the rose, will you marry me, will you come back?
The old merchant took the rose for his youngest daughter because he thought his strand of the story was the only important one. But the world was weaving its own strand right along with him. You can not take without being offered the chance to give in return. You may turn down that offer, and then mystery, potentiality, will die without you ever knowing it. Or you may send your heart into the dark castle, the strange old space of story, and see what becomes of it.
I can tell you now what you will find in that castle. Love, always love. That is the only story ever being told.