The well known pale pink-carmine flower with the distinctive mild fragrance in Corfu is called “ KOPELOULES” or “YOUNG GIRLS”.
The name is attributed to the following legend :
A village priest had an only child, a beautiful and shy girl in the pre-puberty age.
One day the Venetian Governor of the island known for his licentious life was walking and when he met her various abnormal desires stirred him.
He sent one of his servants to find out who she was and invited the priest with his daughter to his residence in the fortress.
The priest was of course very apprehensive but he went a found the Venetian Governor very hospitable.
They all sat at his table and the priest got drunk. When he fell asleep next to his glass, the Governor took the young girl to show her the fortress.
The wine and his passion excited him and the next moment he tightened his arms round the young girl’s body.
Terrified she escaped and ran in all directions since she did not know the layout of the fortress. She heard behind her the panting Governor and his footsteps and panicked even more.
He caught up with her and yet again she escaped, but she slipped and fell bouncing off the stones on the precipitous slopes of the fortress. When she came to a rest it was already too late. She was dead.
They took her away and one of the soldiers saw a patch of congealed blood remaining in the barely sufficient earth. He covered it and put beside it a make-shift cross with two twigs covered with a stone.
Time went by and one autumn the same soldier happened to be passing by and immediately thought of the unfortunate girl. To his surprise he saw an unknown flower growing under the stone he himself had placed.
He lifted it and found that the congealed blood had become a dark bulb.
From this bulb these pale pink-carmine flowers grew. With a long stem and distinctive fragrance.
He named them “Flowers of the young girl” (Kopeloules) and from then the name still remains.
By Aleko Damaskinos