The Legend of The Tall Poppy

Have you heard about The Tall Poppy?

She grew from a small poppy, just like all the other poppies in the field. Just like them, she was colourful, graceful, delicate even – yet strong as she gently bent with the breeze. As she grew tall, she kept reaching up to the brilliant sun. Even on cloudy days, she kept reaching up. She knew she was meant to be tall, to reach higher.

Soon she found herself growing a little bit taller than the other poppies.  She didn’t mind, she was only reaching for the sun, after all. The sun that shined on her brilliant colours, basked her in its warmth and radiated her joy in Being a Poppy.

After a time The Tall Poppy stood out.

The other poppies were similar in height, small compared to The Tall Poppy. They noticed how much taller she was, and saw her as different. Who did she think she was? Didn’t she know about the mean birds? Didn’t she know they would swoop down and cut her head off? 

And so they told her. Don’t get too big for your britches!! She thought: What the heck are “britches“?

After another time, The Tall Poppy saw what happened to the other Tall Poppy – way out there in the next field, tormented by mean birds – and began to duck her pretty head, to shrink her size as much as she could. If I don’t stand out so much, maybe I’ll be safe!

Still she stood out from the other poppies, who worried The Tall Poppy would attract the attention of the mean birds to their field and attack them. And so they began to shy away from her, create distance.

The Tall Poppy began to feel isolated, alone.

The more the others leaned away from The Tall Poppy, the more she stood out – vulnerable to the ravages of the wind, the rain and the mean birds.

She didn’t want to be a Fall Poppy™ – you know, the one that takes the fatal hit? While others tsk, see that’s what happens when you get too big for your britches.

She tried to shrink even more, to hide her brilliant colours, to retreat from her beloved Sun. In fact, the more she tried to shrink herself, the more she forgot about the Sun, about how it gave her joy and illuminated her brilliance.

*Now lest you think this is a tragic tale – wait for it – the Turning Point is coming! And just like every Legend, the bounds of credulity will be stretched a teeny bit…*

Then one day, (*classic turning point* 😉 ) The Tall Poppy thought to herself: I just want to be ME! This isn’t who I am, who I am meant to be. I’m just Tall. That’s all.

And so, she began to reach back up into her full tall poppy-ness, to let her brilliant colours shine out and to bask in the joy of her beloved Sun again. Oh I have missed this! I never want to shrink away from my own glory again!

As The Tall Poppy revealed herself again, she found she grew even taller, even more brilliant, even more glorious!

But – still she was alone. The other poppies didn’t know what to make of her, what to think of her or say about her. Some were unkind. Perhaps they wished they could be as brave? Perhaps shine their own colours a wee bit more, as they reached for the Sun in their own way, in their own time?

Her sadness at being alone – toughing it out when the winds blew, dodging the mean birds when they flew – dimmed her light from time to time.

Then one day, (*classic turning point #2* :)) The Tall Poppy looked across at the other fields, noticing the other Tall Poppies standing alone in their fields. Each was surviving out there, alone.

She caught the eye of one of the Tall Poppies, who inclined her petals in acknowledgement – Yes, we do rather stand out, don’t we? (*I did tell you the bounds of credulity would be stretched a teeny bit…right?* 😉 )

Shall we stand out together? Shall we tell each other stories about how wonderful it is to reach for the Sun?

As The Tall Poppies found strength and solace in each other, knowing there where other tall poppies out in the other fields, they began to notice something they hadn’t expected. Some of the other poppies around them were standing taller, unfurling more, shining more of their brilliance up toward the Sun! They had been tall poppies too, pretending to be shrinking violets. Even the small poppies began to shine their own colours a bit brighter too.

The Tall Poppy began to notice something else too. The more tall poppies she hung out with, whether in their own field or across at other fields, the more The Tall Poppy thrived.

Think about it.

The End.

Tall Poppy

*If you liked this story, and would like to hear more about The Tall Poppy, and especially if you’re a Tall Poppy who wants to thrive with other Tall Poppies, sign up for early-bird notification of The Tall Poppy Revolution™!