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Flower Flabes

by Louisa May Alcott

 

 

"Pondering shadowscolorsclouds

Grass-budsand caterpillar shrouds

Boughs on which the wild bees settle

Tints that spot the violet's petal."

EMERSON'S WOOD-NOTES.

 

 

TO

ELLEN EMERSON

FOR WHOM THEY WERE FANCIED

THESE FLOWER FABLES

ARE INSCRIBED

BY HER FRIEND

THE AUTHOR.

BostonDec. 91854.

 

 

 

Contents

The Frost King: orThe Power of Love

Eva's Visit to Fairy-Land

The Flower's Lesson

Lily-Bell and Thistledown

Little Bud

Clover-Blossom

Little Annie's Dream: orThe Fairy Flower

Ripplethe Water-Spirit

Fairy Song

 

 

FLOWER FABLES.

 

 

THE summer moon shone brightly down upon the sleeping earthwhile

far away from mortal eyes danced the Fairy folk. Fire-flies hung

in bright clusters on the dewy leavesthat waved in the cool

night-wind; and the flowers stood gazingin very wonderat the

little Elveswho lay among the fern-leavesswung in the vine-boughs

sailed on the lake in lily cupsor danced on the mossy ground

to the music of the hare-bellswho rung out their merriest peal

in honor of the night.

Under the shade of a wild rose sat the Queen and her little

Maids of Honorbeside the silvery mushroom where the feast

was spread.

"Nowmy friends" said she"to wile away the time till thebright

moon goes downlet us each tell a taleor relate what we have done

or learned this day. I will begin with youSunny Lock" added she

turning to a lovely little Elfwho lay among the fragrant leaves

of a primrose.

With a gay smile"Sunny Lock" began her story.

"As I was painting the bright petals of a blue bellit told me

this tale."

 

 

 

THE FROST-KING:

OR

THE POWER OF LOVE.

 

 

THREE little Fairies sat in the fields eating their breakfast;

each among the leaves of her favorite flowerDaisyPrimrose

and Violetwere happy as Elves need be.

The morning wind gently rocked them to and froand the sun

shone warmly down upon the dewy grasswhere butterflies spread

their gay wingsand bees with their deep voices sung

among the flowers; while the little birds hopped merrily about

to peep at them.

On a silvery mushroom was spread the breakfast; little cakes

of flower-dust lay on a broad green leafbeside a crimson

strawberrywhichwith sugar from the violetand cream

from the yellow milkweedmade a fairy mealand their drink was

the dew from the flowers' bright leaves.

"Ah me" sighed Primrosethrowing herself languidly back

"how warm the sun grows! give me another piece of strawberry

and then I must hasten away to the shadow of the ferns. But

while I eattell medear Violetwhy are you all so sad?

I have scarce seen a happy face since my return from Rose Land;

dear friendwhat means it?"

"I will tell you" replied little Violetthe tears gathering

in her soft eyes. "Our good Queen is ever striving to keep

the dear flowers from the power of the cruel Frost-King; many ways

she triedbut all have failed. She has sent messengers to his court

with costly gifts; but all have returned sick for want of sunlight

weary and sad; we have watched over themheedless of sun or shower

but still his dark spirits do their workand we are left to weep

over our blighted blossoms. Thus have we strivenand in vain;

and this night our Queen holds council for the last time. Therefore

are we saddear Primrosefor she has toiled and cared for us

and we can do nothing to help or advise her now."

"It is indeed a cruel thing" replied her friend; "but as wecannot

help itwe must suffer patientlyand not let the sorrows of others

disturb our happiness. Butdear sisterssee you not how high

the sun is getting? I have my locks to curland my robe to prepare

for the evening; therefore I must be goneor I shall be brown as

a withered leaf in this warm light." Sogathering a tiny mushroom

for a parasolshe flew away; Daisy soon followedand Violet was

left alone.

Then she spread the table afreshand to it came fearlessly the busy

ant and beegay butterfly and bird; even the poor blind mole and

humble worm were not forgotten; and with gentle words she gave to all

while each learned something of their kind little teacher; and the

love that made her own heart bright shone alike on all.

The ant and bee learned generositythe butterfly and bird

contentmentthe mole and worm confidence in the love of others;

and each went to their home better for the little time they had been

with Violet.

Evening cameand with it troops of Elves to counsel their good Queen

whoseated on her mossy thronelooked anxiously upon the throng

belowwhose glittering wings and rustling robes gleamed like

many-colored flowers.

At length she roseand amid the deep silence spoke thus:--

"Dear childrenlet us not tire of a good workhard though it be

and wearisome; think of the many little hearts that in their sorrow

look to us for help. What would the green earth be without its

lovely flowersand what a lonely home for us! Their beauty fills

our hearts with brightnessand their love with tender thoughts.

Ought we then to leave them to die uncared for and alone? They give

to us their all; ought we not to toil unceasinglythat they may

bloom in peace within their quiet homes? We have tried to gain

the love of the stern Frost-Kingbut in vain; his heart is hard as

his own icy land; no love can meltno kindness bring it back to

sunlight and to joy. How then may we keep our frail blossoms

from his cruel spirits? Who will give us counsel? Who will be

our messenger for the last time ? Speakmy subjects."

Then a great murmuring aroseand many spokesome for costlier gifts

some for war; and the fearful counselled patience and submission.

Long and eagerly they spokeand their soft voices rose high.

Then sweet music sounded on the airand the loud tones were hushed

as in wondering silence the Fairies waited what should come.

Through the crowd there came a little forma wreath of pure

white violets lay among the bright locks that fell so softly

round the gentle facewhere a deep blush glowedaskneeling at

the thronelittle Violet said:--

"Dear Queenwe have bent to the Frost-King's powerwe have borne

gifts unto his pridebut have we gone trustingly to him and

spoken fearlessly of his evil deeds? Have we shed the soft light

of unwearied love around his cold heartand with patient tenderness

shown him how bright and beautiful love can make even the darkest lot?

"Our messengers have gone fearfullyand with cold looks and

courtly words offered him rich giftsthings he cared not for

and with equal pride has he sent them back.

"Then let methe weakest of your bandgo to himtrusting

in the love I know lies hidden in the coldest heart.

"I will bear only a garland of our fairest flowers; these

will I wind about himand their bright faceslooking lovingly

in hiswill bring sweet thoughts to his dark mindand their

soft breath steal in like gentle words. Thenwhen he sees them

fading on his breastwill he not sigh that there is no warmth there

to keep them fresh and lovely? This will I dodear Queenand

never leave his dreary hometill the sunlight falls on flowers

fair as those that bloom in our own dear land."

Silently the Queen had listenedbut nowrising and placing her hand

on little Violet's headshe saidturning to the throng below:--

"We in our pride and power have erredwhile thisthe weakest and

lowliest of our subjectshas from the innocence of her own pure heart

counselled us more wisely than the noblest of our train.

All who will aid our brave little messengerlift your wands

that we may know who will place their trust in the Power of Love."

Every fairy wand glistened in the airas with silvery voices

they cried"Love and little Violet."

Then down from the thronehand in handcame the Queen and Violet

and till the moon sank did the Fairies toilto weave a wreath

of the fairest flowers. Tenderly they gathered themwith the

night-dew fresh upon their leavesand as they wove chanted sweet

spellsand whispered fairy blessings on the bright messengers

whom they sent forth to die in a dreary landthat their gentle

kindred might bloom unharmed.

At length it was done; and the fair flowers lay glowing

in the soft starlightwhile beside them stood the Fairiessinging

to the music of the wind-harps:--

 

"We are sending youdear flowers

Forth alone to die

Where your gentle sisters may not weep

O'er the cold graves where you lie;

But you go to bring them fadeless life

In the bright homes where they dwell

And you softly smile that 't is so

As we sadly sing farewell.

O plead with gentle words for us

And whisper tenderly

Of generous love to that cold heart

And it will answer ye;

And though you fade in a dreary home

Yet loving hearts will tell

Of the joy and peace that you have given:

Flowersdear flowersfarewell!"

 

The morning sun looked softly down upon the broad green earth

which like a mighty altar was sending up clouds of perfume from its

breastwhile flowers danced gayly in the summer windand birds sang

their morning hymn among the cool green leaves. Then high above

on shining wingssoared a little form. The sunlight rested softly

on the silken hairand the winds fanned lovingly the bright face

and brought the sweetest odors to cheer her on.

Thus went Violet through the clear airand the earth looked

smiling up to heraswith the bright wreath folded in her

armsshe flew among the softwhite clouds.

On and on she wentover hill and valleybroad rivers and

rustling woodstill the warm sunlight passed awaythe winds

grew coldand the air thick with falling snow. Then far below

she saw the Frost-King's home. Pillars of hardgray ice supported

the higharched roofhung with crystal icicles. Dreary gardens

lay aroundfilled with withered flowers and baredrooping trees;

while heavy clouds hung low in the dark skyand a cold wind

murmured sadly through the wintry air.

With a beating heart Violet folded her fading wreath more closely

to her breastand with weary wings flew onward to the dreary palace.

Herebefore the closed doorsstood many forms with dark faces and

harshdiscordant voiceswho sternly asked the shivering little Fairy

why she came to them.

Gently she answeredtelling them her errandbeseeching them

to let her pass ere the cold wind blighted her frail blossoms.

Then they flung wide the doorsand she passed in.

Walls of icecarved with strange figureswere around her;

glittering icicles hung from the high roofand softwhite snow

covered the hard floors. On a throne hung with clouds sat

the Frost-King; a crown of crystals bound his white locksand

a dark mantle wrought with delicate frost-work was folded over

his cold breast.

His stern face could not stay little Violetand on through

the long hall she wentheedless of the snow that gathered on

her feetand the bleak wind that blew around her; while the King

with wondering eyes looked on the golden light that played upon the

dark walls as she passed.

The flowersas if they knew their partunfolded their bright leaves

and poured forth their sweetest perfumeaskneeling at the throne

the brave little Fairy said--

"O King of blight and sorrowsend me not away till I have

brought back the light and joy that will make your dark home bright

and beautiful again. Let me call back to the desolate gardens the

fair forms that are goneand their soft voices blessing you will

bring to your breast a never failing joy. Cast by your icy crown

and sceptreand let the sunlight of love fall softly on your heart.

"Then will the earth bloom again in all its beautyand your dim eyes

will rest only on fair formswhile music shall sound through these

dreary hallsand the love of grateful hearts be yours. Have pity

on the gentle flower-spiritsand do not doom them to an early death

when they might bloom in fadeless beautymaking us wiser by their

gentle teachingsand the earth brighter by their lovely forms.

These fair flowerswith the prayers of all Fairy LandI lay

before you; O send me not away till they are answered."

And with tears falling thick and fast upon their tender leaves

Violet laid the wreath at his feetwhile the golden light grew ever

brighter as it fell upon the little form so humbly kneeling there.

The King's stern face grew milder as he gazed on the gentle Fairy

and the flowers seemed to look beseechingly upon him; while their

fragrant voices sounded softly in his eartelling of their dying

sistersand of the joy it gives to bring happiness to the weak

and sorrowing. But he drew the dark mantle closer over his breast

and answered coldly--

"I cannot grant your prayerlittle Fairy; it is my will

the flowers should die. Go back to your Queenand tell her

that I cannot yield my power to please these foolish flowers."

Then Violet hung the wreath above the throneand with weary foot

went forth againout into the colddark gardensand still the

golden shadows followed herand wherever they fellflowers bloomed

and green leaves rustled.

Then came the Frost-Spiritsand beneath their cold wings the

flowers diedwhile the Spirits bore Violet to a lowdark cell

saying as they left herthat their King was angry that she had dared

to stay when he had bid her go.

So all alone she satand sad thoughts of her happy home came back

to herand she wept bitterly. But soon came visions of the gentle

flowers dying in their forest homesand their voices ringing

in her earimploring her to save them. Then she wept no longer

but patiently awaited what might come.

Soon the golden light gleamed faintly through the celland she heard

little voices calling for helpand high up among the heavy cobwebs

hung poor little flies struggling to free themselveswhile their

cruel enemies sat in their netswatching their pain.

With her wand the Fairy broke the bands that held themtenderly bound

up their broken wingsand healed their wounds; while they lay in the

warm lightand feebly hummed their thanks to their kind deliverer.

Then she went to the ugly brown spidersand in gentle words

told themhow in Fairy Land their kindred spun all the elfin cloth

and in return the Fairies gave them foodand then how happily they

lived among the green leavesspinning garments for their neigbbors.

"And you too" said she"shall spin for meand I will giveyou

better food than helpless insects. You shall live in peace

and spin your delicate threads into a mantle for the stern King;

and I will weave golden threads amid the graythat when folded over

his cold heart gentle thoughts may enter in and make it their home.

And while she gayly sungthe little weavers spun their silken

threadsthe flies on glittering wings flew lovingly above her head

and over all the golden light shone softly down.

When the Frost-Spirits told their Kinghe greatly wondered and

often stole to look at the sunny little room where friends and enemies

worked peacefully together. Still the light grew brighterand

floated out into the cold airwhere it hung like bright clouds

above the dreary gardenswhence all the Spirits' power could not

drive it; and green leaves budded on the naked treesand

flowers bloomed; but the Spirits heaped snow upon themand

they bowed their heads and died.

At length the mantle was finishedand amid the gray threads

shone golden onesmaking it bright; and she sent it to the King

entreating him to wear itfor it would bring peace and love

to dwell within his breast.

But he scornfully threw it asideand bade his Spirits take her

to a colder celldeep in the earth; and there with harsh words

they left her.

Still she sang gayly onand the falling drops kept time so musically

that the King in his cold ice-halls wondered at the lowsweet sounds

that came stealing up to him.

Thus Violet dweltand each day the golden light grew stronger; and

from among the crevices of the rocky walls came troops of little

velvet-coated molespraying that they might listen to the sweet

musicand lie in the warm light.

"We lead" said they"a dreary life in the cold earth; the

flower-roots are deadand no soft dews descend for us to drink

no little seed or leaf can we find. Ahgood Fairylet us be

your servants: give us but a few crumbs of your daily breadand we

will do all in our power to serve you."

And Violet saidYes; so day after day they labored to make

a pathway through the frozen earththat she might reach the roots

of the withered flowers; and soonwherever through the dark galleries

she wentthe soft light fell upon the roots of flowersand they

with new life spread forth in the warm groundand forced fresh sap

to the blossoms above. Brightly they bloomed and danced in the

soft lightand the Frost-Spirits tried in vain to harm themfor when

they came beneath the bright clouds their power to do evil left them.

From his dark castle the King looked out on the happy flowers

who nodded gayly to himand in sweet colors strove to tell him

of the good little Spiritwho toiled so faithfully below

that they might live. And when he turned from the brightness without

to his stately palaceit seemcd so cold and drearythat he folded

Violet's mantle round himand sat beneath the faded wreath upon his

ice-carved thronewondering at the strange warmth that came from it;

till at length he bade his Spirits bring the little Fairy from

her dismal prison.

Soon they came hastening backand prayed him to come and see

how lovely the dark cell had grown. The rough floor was spread

with deep green mossand over wall and roof grew flowery vines

filling the air with their sweet breath; while above played the clear

soft lightcasting rosy shadows on the glittering drops that lay

among the fragrant leaves; and beneath the vines stood Violet

casting crumbs to the downy little moles who ran fearlessly about

and listened as she sang to them.

When the old King saw how much fairer she had made the dreary cell

than his palace roomsgentle thoughts within whispered him to grant

her prayerand let the little Fairy go back to her friends and home;

but the Frost-Spirits breathed upon the flowers and bid him see how

frail they wereand useless to a King. Then the sterncold thoughts

came back againand he harshly bid her follow him.

With a sad farewell to her little friends she followed himand

before the throne awaited his command. When the King saw how pale and

sad the gentle face had grownhow thin her robeand weak her wings

and yet how lovingly the golden shadows fell around her and brightened

as they lay upon the wandwhichguided by patient lovehad made

his once desolate home so brighthe could not be cruel to the one

who had done so much for himand in kindly tone he said--

"Little FairyI offer you two thingsand you may choose

between them. If I will vow never more to harm the flowers you may

lovewill you go back to your own people and leave me and my Spirits

to work our will on all the other flowers that bloom? The earth

is broadand we can find them in any landthen why should you care

what happens to their kindred if your own are safe? Will you do this?"

"Ah!" answered Violet sadly"do you not know that beneath

the flowers' bright leaves there beats a little heart that loves

and sorrows like our own? And can Iheedless of their beauty

doom them to pain and griefthat I might save my own dear blossoms

from the cruel foes to which I leave them? Ah no! sooner would I

dwell for ever in your darkest cellthan lose the love of those

warmtrusting hearts."

"Then listen" said the King"to the task I give you. Youshall

raise up for me a palace fairer than thisand if you can work

that miracle I will grant your prayer or lose my kingly crown.

And now go forthand begin your task; my Spirits shall not harm you

and I will wait till it is done before I blight another flower."

Then out into the gardens went Violet with a heavy heart; for

she had toiled so longher strength was nearly gone. But the

flowers whispered their gratitudeand folded their leaves as if they

blessed her; and when she saw the garden filled with loving friends

who strove to cheer and thank her for her carecourage and strength

returned; and raising up thick clouds of mistthat hid her from the

wondering flowersalone and trustingly she began her work.

As time went bythe Frost-King feared the task had been

too hard for the Fairy; sounds were heard behind the walls of mist

bright shadows seen to pass withinbut the little voice was never

heard. Meanwhile the golden light had faded from the garden

the flowers bowed their headsand all was dark and cold as when

the gentle Fairy came.

And to the stern King his home seemed more desolate and sad; for

he missed the warm lightthe happy flowersandmore than all

the gay voice and bright face of little Violet. So he wandered

through his dreary palacewondering how he had been content

to live before without sunlight and love.

And little Violet was mourned as dead in Fairy-Landand many tears

were shedfor the gentle Fairy was beloved by allfrom the Queen

down to the humblest flower. Sadly they watched over every bird

and blossom which she had lovedand strove to be like her in

kindly words and deeds. They wore cypress wreathsand spoke of her

as one whom they should never see again.

Thus they dwelt in deepest sorrowtill one day there came to them an

unknown messengerwrapped in a dark mantlewho looked with wondering

eyes on the bright palaceand flower-crowned elveswho kindly

welcomed himand brought fresh dew and rosy fruit to refresh the

weary stranger. Then he told them that he came from the Frost-King

who begged the Queen and all her subjects to come and see the palace

little Violet had built; for the veil of mist would soon be withdrawn

and as she could not make a fairer home than the ice-castlethe King

wished her kindred near to comfort and to bear her home. And while

the Elves wepthe told them how patiently she had toiledhow

her fadeless love had made the dark cell bright and beautiful.

These and many other things he told them; for little Violet had won

the love of many of the Frost-Spiritsand even when they killed the

flowers she had toiled so hard to bring to life and beautyshe spoke

gentle words to themand sought to teach them how beautiful is love.

Long stayed the messengerand deeper grew his wonder that the Fairy

could have left so fair a hometo toil in the dreary palace of his

cruel masterand suffer cold and wearinessto give life and joy to

the weak and sorrowing. When the Elves had promised they would come

he bade farewell to happy Fairy-Landand flew sadly home.

At last the time arrivedand out in his barren gardenunder a canopy

of dark cloudssat the Frost-King before the misty wallbehind which

were heard lowsweet soundsas of rustling trees and warbling birds.

Soon through the air came many-colored troops of Elves. First the

Queenknown by the silver lilies on her snowy robe and the bright

crown in her hairbeside whom fIew a band of Elves in crimson and

goldmaking sweet music on their flower-trumpetswhile all around

with smiling faces and bright eyesfluttered her loving subjects.

On they camelike a flock of brilliant butterfliestheir shining

wings and many-colored garments sparkling in the dim air; and soon

the leafless trees were gay with living flowersand their sweet

voices filled the gardens with music. Like his subjectsthe King

looked on the lovely Elvesand no longer wondered that little Violet

wept and longed for her home. Darker and more desolate seemed his

stately homeand when the Fairies asked for flowershe felt ashamed

that he had none to give them.

At length a warm wind swept through the gardensand the mist-clouds

passed awaywhile in silent wonder looked the Frost-King and

the Elves upon the scene before them.

Far as eye could reach were tall green trees whose drooping boughs

made graceful archesthrough which the golden light shone softly

making bright shadows on the deep green moss belowwhere the fairest

flowers waved in the cool windand sangin their lowsweet voices

how beautiful is Love.

Flowering vines folded their soft leaves around the trees

making green pillars of their rough trunks. Fountains threw their

bright waters to the roofand flocks of silver-winged birds flew

singing among the flowersor brooded lovingly above their nests.

Doves with gentle eyes cooed among the green leavessnow-white clouds

floated in the sunny shyand the golden lightbrighter than before

shone softly down.

Soon through the long aisles came Violetflowers and green leaves

rustling as she passed. On she went to the Frost-King's throne

bearing two crownsone of sparkling iciclesthe other of pure

white liliesand kneeling before himsaid--

"My task is doneandthanks to the Spirits of earth and airI have

made as fair a home as Elfin hands can form. You must now decide.

Will you be King of Flower-Landand own my gentle kindred for your

loving friends? Will you possess unfading peace and joyand the

grateful love of all the green earth's fragrant children? Then take

this crown of flowers. But if you can find no pleasure here

go back to your own cold homeand dwell in solitude and darkness

where no ray of sunlight or of joy can enter.

"Send forth your Spirits to carry sorrow and desolation over

the happy earthand win for yourself the fear and hatred of those

who would so gladly love and reverence you. Then take this glittering

crownhard and cold as your own heart will beif you will shut out

all that is bright and beautiful. Both are before you. Choose."

The old King looked at the little Fairyand saw how lovingly

the bright shadows gathered round heras if to shield her

from every harm; the timid birds nestled in her bosomand the

flowers grew fairer as she looked upon them; while her gentle friends

with tears in their bright eyesfolded their hands beseechingly

and smiled on her.

Kind thought came thronging to his mindand he turned to look at

the two palaces. Violet'sso fair and beautifulwith its rustling

treescalmsunny skiesand happy birds and flowersall created

by her patient love and care. His ownso cold and dark and dreary

his empty gardens where no flowers could bloomno green trees dwell

or gay birds singall desolate and dim;--and while he gazedhis own

Spiritscasting off their dark mantlesknelt before him and besought

him not to send them forth to blight the things the gentle Fairies

loved so much. "We have served you long and faithfully" said they

"give us now our freedomthat we may learn to be beloved by the sweet

flowers we have harmed so long. Grant the little Fairy's prayer;

and let her go back to her own dear home. She has taught us that

Love is mightier than Fear. Choose the Flower crownand we will be

the truest subjects you have ever had."

Thenamid a burst of wildsweet musicthe Frost-King placed

the Flower crown on his headand knelt to little Violet; while far

and nearover the broad green earthsounded the voices of flowers

singing their thanks to the gentle Fairyand the summer wind

was laden with perfumeswhich they sent as tokens of their gratitude;

and wherever she wentold trees bent down to fold their slender

branches round herflowers laid their soft faces against her own

and whispered blessings; even the humble moss bent over the little

feetand kissed them as they passed.

The old Kingsurrounded by the happy Fairiessat in Violet's

lovely homeand watched his icy castle melt away beneath the bright

sunlight; while his Spiritscold and gloomy no longerdanced

with the Elvesand waited on their King with loving eagerness.

Brighter grew the golden lightgayer sang the birdsand the

harmonious voices of grateful flowerssounding over the earth

carried new joy to all their gentle kindred.

 

Brighter shone the golden shadows;

On the cool wind softly came

The lowsweet tones of happy flowers

Singing little Violet's name.

'Mong the green trees was it whispered

And the bright waves bore it on

To the lonely forest flowers

Where the glad news had not gone.

Thus the Frost-King lost his kingdom

And his power to harm and blight.

Violet conqueredand his cold heart

Warmed with musicloveand light;

And his fair homeonce so dreary

Gay with lovely Elves and flowers

Brought a joy that never faded

Through the long bright summer hours.

Thusby Violet's magic power

All dark shadows passed away

And o'er the home of happy flowers

The golden light for ever lay.

Thus the Fairy mission ended

And all Flower-Land was taught

The "Power of Love" by gentle deeds

That little Violet wrought.

 

As Sunny Lock ceasedanother little Elf came forward; and this was

the tale "Silver Wing" told.

 

 

EVA'S VISIT TO FAIRY-LAND.

 

DOWN among the grass and fragrant clover lay little Eva by the

brook-sidewatching the bright wavesas they went singing by under

the drooping flowers that grew on its banks. As she was wondering

where the waters wentshe heard a faintlow soundas of far-off

music. She thought it was the windbut not a leaf was stirring

and soon through the rippling water came a strange little boat.

It was a lily of the valleywhose tall stem formed the mast

while the broad leaves that rose from the rootsand drooped again

till they reached the waterwere filled with gay little Elves

who danced to the music of the silver lily-bells abovethat rang

a merry pealand filled the air with their fragrant breath.

On came the fairy boattill it reached a moss-grown rock; and here

it stoppedwhile the Fairies rested beneath the violet-leaves

and sang with the dancing waves.

Eva looked with wonder on their gay faces and bright garmentsand

in the joy of her heart sang tooand threw crimson fruit for the

little folks to feast upon.

They looked kindly on the childandafter whispering long among

themselvestwo little bright-eyed Elves flew over the shining water

andlighting on the clover-blossomssaid gently"Little maiden

many thanks for your kindness; and our Queen bids us ask if you will

go with us to Fairy-Landand learn what we can teach you."

"Gladly would I go with youdear Fairies" said Eva"but Icannot

sail in your little boat. See! I can hold you in my handand could

not live among you without harming your tiny kingdomI am so large."

Then the Elves laughed gaylyas they folded their arms about her

saying"You are a good childdear Evato fear doing harm to those

weaker than yourself. You cannot hurt us now. Look in the water

and see what we have done."

Eva looked into the brookand saw a tiny child standing between

the Elves. "Now I can go with you" said she"but seeI can

no longer step from the bank to yonder stonefor the brook seems now

like a great riverand you have not given me wings like yours."

But the Fairies took each a handand flew lightly over the stream.

The Queen and her subjects came to meet herand all seemed glad to

say some kindly word of welcome to the little stranger. They placed

a flower-crown upon her headlaid their soft faces against her own

and soon it seemed as if the gentle Elves had always been her friends.

"Now must we go home" said the Queen"and you shall go withus

little one."

Then there was a great bustleas they flew about on shining wings

some laying cushions of violet leaves in the boatothers folding the

Queen's veil and mantle more closely round herlest the falling dews

should chill her.

The cool waves' gentle plashing against the boatand the sweet chime

of the lily-bellslulled little Eva to sleepand when she woke

it was in Fairy-Land. A faintrosy lightas of the setting sun

shone on the white pillars of the Queen's palace as they passed in

and the sleeping flowers leaned gracefully on their stemsdreaming

beneath their soft green curtains. All was cool and stilland the

Elves glided silently aboutlest they should break their slumbers.

They led Eva to a bed of pure white leavesabove which drooped

the fragrant petals of a crimson rose.

"You can look at the bright colors till the light fadesand then

the rose will sing you to sleep" said the Elvesas they folded the

soft leaves about hergently kissed herand stole away.

Long she lay watching the bright shadowsand listening to the song

of the rosewhile through the long night dreams of lovely things

floated like bright clouds through her mind; while the rose bent

lovingly above herand sang in the clear moonlight.

With the sun rose the Fairiesandwith Evahastened away to

the fountainwhose cool waters were soon filled with little forms

and the air ringing with happy voicesas the Elves floated in the

blue waves among the fair white liliesor sat on the green moss

smoothing their bright locksand wearing fresh garlands of dewy

flowers. At length the Queen came forthand her subjects gathered

round herand while the flowers bowed their headsand the trees

hushed their rustlingthe Fairies sang their morning hymn to

the Father of birds and blossomswho had made the earth so fair a

home for them.

Then they flew away to the gardensand soonhigh up among the

tree-topsor under the broad leavessat the Elves in little groups

taking their breakfast of fruit and pure fresh dew; while the

bright-winged birds came fearlessly among thempecking the same

ripe berriesand dipping their little beaks in the same flower-cups

and the Fairies folded their arms lovingly about themsmoothed their

soft bosomsand gayly sang to them.

"Nowlittle Eva" said they"you will see that Fairies arenot

idlewilful Spiritsas mortals believe. Comewe will show you

what we do."

They led her to a lovely roomthrough whose walls of deep green

leaves the light stole softly in. Here lay many wounded insects

and harmless little creatureswhom cruel hands had hurt; and pale

drooping flowers grew beside urns of healing herbsfrom whose fresh

leaves came a faintsweet perfume.

Eva wonderedbut silently followed her guidelittle Rose-Leaf

who with tender words passed among the delicate blossoms

pouring dew on their feeble rootscheering them with her loving words

and happy smile.

Then she went to the insects; first to a little fly who lay in a

flower-leaf cradle.

"Do you suffer muchdear Gauzy-Wing?" asked the Fairy. "Iwill

bind up your poor little legand Zephyr shall rock you to sleep."

So she folded the cool leaves tenderly about the poor flybathed his

wingsand brought him refreshing drinkwhile he hummed his thanks

and forgot his painas Zephyr softly sung and fanned him with her

waving wings.

They passed onand Eva saw beside each bed a Fairywho with gentle

hands and loving words soothed the suffering insects. At length

they stopped beside a beewho lay among sweet honeysuckle flowers

in a coolstill placewhere the summer wind blew inand the green

leaves rustled pleasantly. Yet he seemed to find no restand

murmured of the pain he was doomed to bear. " Why must I lie here

while my kindred are out in the pleasant fieldsenjoying the sunlight

and the fresh airand cruel hands have doomed me to this dark place

and bitter pain when I have done no wrong? Uncared for and forgotten

I must stay here among these poor things who think only of themselves.

Come hereRose-Leafand bind up my woundsfor I am far more useful

than idle bird or fly."

Then said the Fairywhile she bathed the broken wing--

"Love-Blossomyou should not murmur. We may find happiness in

seeking to be patient even while we suffer. You are not forgotten or

uncared forbut others need our care more than youand to those

who take cheerfully the pain and sorrow sentdo we most gladly give

our help. You need not be idleeven though lying here in darkness

and sorrow; you can be taking from your heart all sad and discontented

feelingsand if love and patience blossom thereyou will be better

for the lonely hours spent here. Look on the bed beside you; this

little dove has suffered far greater pain than youand all our care

can never ease it; yet through the long days he hath lain herenot an

unkind word or a repining sigh hath he uttered. AhLove-Blossom

the gentle bird can teach a lesson you will be wiser and better for."

Then a faint voice whispered"Little Rose-Leafcome quicklyor

I cannot thank you as I ought for all your loving care of me."

So they passed to the bed beside the discontented beeand here upon

the softest down lay the dovewhose gentle eyes looked gratefully

upon the Fairyas she knelt beside the little couchsmoothed the

soft white bosomfolded her arms about it and wept sorrowing tears

while the bird still whispered its gratitude and love.

"Dear Fairythe fairest flowers have cheered me with their sweet

breathfresh dew and fragrant leaves have been ever ready for me

gentle hands to tendkindly hearts to love; and for this I can only

thank you and say farewell."

Then the quivering wings were stilland the patient little dove

was dead; but the bee murmured no longerand the dew from the flowers

fell like tears around the quiet bed.

Sadly Rose-Leaf led Eva awaysaying"Lily-Bosom shall have a grave

tonight beneath our fairest blossomsand you shall see that

gentleness and love are prized far above gold or beautyhere in

Fairy-Land. Come now to the Flower Palaceand see the Fairy Court."

Beneath green archesbright with birds and flowersbeside singing

waveswent Eva into a lofty hall. The roof of pure white lilies

rested on pillars of green clustering vineswhile many-colored

blossoms threw their bright shadows on the wallsas they danced below

in the deep green mossand their lowsweet voices sounded softly

through the sunlit palacewhile the rustling leaves kept time.

Beside the throne stood Evaand watched the lovely forms around her

as they stoodeach little band in its own colorwith glistening

wingsand flower wands.

Suddenly the music grew louder and sweeterand the Fairies knelt

and bowed their headsas on through the crowd of loving subjects

came the Queenwhile the air was filled with gay voices singing

to welcome her.

She placed the child beside hersaying"Little Evayou shall see

now how the flowers on your great earth bloom so brightly. A band

of loving little gardeners go daily forth from Fairy-Landto tend

and watch themthat no harm may befall the gentle spirits that dwell

beneath their leaves. This is never knownfor like all good it is

unseen by mortal eyesand unto only pure hearts like yours do we

make known our secret. The humblest flower that grows is visited by

our messengersand often blooms in fragrant beauty unknownunloved

by all save Fairy friendswho seek to fill the spirits with all sweet

and gentle virtuesthat they may not be useless on the earth; for the

noblest mortals stoop to learn of flowers. NowEglantinewhat have

you to tell us of your rosy namesakes on the earth?"

From a group of Elveswhose rose-wreathed wands showed the flower

they lovedcame one bearing a tiny urnandanswering the Queen

she said--

"Over hill and valley they are blooming fresh and fair as summer sun

and dew can make them. No drooping stem or withered leaf tells of any

evil thought within their fragrant bosomsand thus from the fairest

of their race have they gathered this sweet dewas a token of their

gratitude to one whose tenderness and care have kept them pure and

happy; and thisthe loveliest of their sistershave I brought to

place among the Fairy flowers that never pass away."

Eglantine laid the urn before the Queenand placed the fragrant rose

on the dewy moss beside the thronewhile a murmur of approval went

through the hallas each elfin wand waved to the little Fairy

who had toiled so well and faithful]yand could bring so fair a gift

to their good Queen.

Then came forth an Elf bearing a withered leafwhile her many-colored

robe and the purple tulips in her hair told her name and charge.

"Dear Queen" she sadly said"I would gladly bring aspleasant

tidings as my sisterbutalas! my flowers are proud and wilful

and when I went to gather my little gift of colored leaves for royal

garmentsthey bade me bring this withered blossomand tell you

they would serve no longer one who will not make them Queen over all

the other flowers. They would yield neither dew nor honeybut

proudly closed their leaves and bid me go."

"Your task has been too hard for you" said the Queen kindlyasshe

placed the drooping flower in the urn Eglantine had given"you will

see how this dew from a sweetpure heart will give new life and

loveliness even to this poor faded one. So can youdear Rainbowby

loving words and gentle teachingsbring back lost purity and peace

to those whom pride and selfishness have blighted. Go once again

to the proud flowersand tell them when they are queen of their own

hearts they will ask no fairer kingdom. Watch more tenderly than ever

over themsee that they lack neither dew nor airspeak lovingly

to themand let no unkind word or deed of theirs anger you. Let them

see by your patient love and care how much fairer they might be

and when next you comeyou will be laden with gifts from humble

loving flowers."

Thus they told what they had doneand received from their Queen some

gentle chiding or loving word of praise.

"You will be weary of this" said little Rose-Leaf to Eva;"come now

and see where we are taught to read the tales written on flower-

leavesand the sweet language of the birdsand all that can make

a Fairy heart wiser and better."

Then into a cheerful place they wentwhere were many groups of

flowersamong whose leaves sat the child Elvesand learned from

their flower-books all that Fairy hands had written there. Some

studied how to watch the tender budswhen to spread them to the

sunlightand when to shelter them from rain; how to guard the

ripening seedsand when to lay them in the warm earth or send them

on the summer wind to far off hills and valleyswhere other Fairy

hands would tend and cherish themtill a sisterhood of happy flowers

sprang up to beautify and gladden the lonely spot where they had

fallen. Others learned to heal the wounded insectswhose frail limbs

a breeze could shatterand whowere it not for Fairy handswould

die ere half their happy summer life had gone. Some learned how by

pleasant dreams to cheer and comfort mortal heartsby whispered words

bf love to save from evil deeds those who had gone astrayto fill

young hearts with gentle thoughts and pure affectionsthat no sin

might mar the beauty of the human flower; while otherslike mortal

childrenlearned the Fairy alphabet. Thus the Elves made loving

friends by care and loveand no evil thing could harm themfor

those they helped to cherish and protect ever watched to shield and

save them.

Eva nodded to the gay little onesas they peeped from among the

leaves at the strangerand then she listened to the Fairy lessons.

Several tiny Elves stood on a broad leaf while the teacher sat

among the petals of a flower that bent beside themand asked

questions that none but Fairies would care to know.

"Twinkleif there lay nine seeds within a flower-cup and the wind

bore five awayhow many would the blossom have?" "Four"replied the

little one.

"Rosebudif a Cowslip opens three leaves in one day and four the

nexthow many rosy leaves will there be when the whole flower

has bloomed?"

"Seven" sang the gay little Elf.

"Harebellif a silkworm spin one yard of Fairy cloth in an hour

how many will it spin in a day?"

"Twelve" said the Fairy child.

"Primrosewhere ]ies Violet Island?"

"In the Lake of Ripples."

"Lillayou may bound Rose Land."

"On the north by Ferndalesouth by Sunny Wave Rivereast by the hill

of Morning Cloudsand west by the Evening Star."

"Nowlittle ones" said the teacher"you may go to yourpainting

that our visitor may see how we repair the flowers that earthly hands

have injured."

Then Eva saw howon largewhite leavesthe Fairies learned to

imitate the lovely colorsand with tiny brushes to brighten the blush

on the anemone's cheekto deepen the blue of the violet's eyeand

add new light to the golden cowslip.

"You have stayed long enough" said the Elves at length"wehave

many things to show you. Come now and see what is our dearest work."

So Eva said farewell to the child Elvesand hastened with little

Rose-Leaf to the gates. Here she saw many bands of Fairiesfolded in

dark mantles that mortals might not know themwhowith the child

among themflew away over hill and valley. Some went to the cottages

amid the hillssome to the sea-side to watch above the humble fisher

folks; but little Rose-Leaf and many others went into the noisy city.

Eva wondered within herself what good the tiny Elves could do in this

great place; but she soon learnedfor the Fairy band went among the

poor and friendlessbringing pleasant dreams to the sick and old

sweettender thoughts of love and gentleness to the youngstrength

to the weakand patient cheerfulness to the poor and lonely.

Then the child wondered no longerbut deeper grew her love

for the tender-hearted Elveswho left their own happy home to cheer

and comfort those who never knew what hands had clothed and fed them

what hearts had given of their own joyand brought such happiness

to theirs.

Long they stayedand many a lesson little Eva learned: but when

she begged them to go backthey still led her onsaying"Our work

is not yet done; shall we leave so many sad hearts when we may

cheer themso many dark homes that we may brighten? We must stay

yet longerlittle Evaand you may learn yet more."

Then they went into a dark and lonely roomand here they found

a palesad-eyed childwho wept bitter tears over a faded flower.

"Ah" sighed the little one"it was my only friendand I

cherished it with all my lone heart's love; 't was all that made

my sad life happy; and it is gone."

Tenderly the child fastened the drooping stemand placed it

where the one faint ray of sunlight stole into the dreary room.

"Do you see" said the Elves"through this simple flower willwe

keep the child pure and stainless amid the sin and sorrow around her.

The love of this shall lead her on through temptation and through

griefand she shall be a spirit of joy and consolation to the sinful

and the sorrowing."

And with busy love toiled the Elves amid the withered leaves

and new strength was given to the flower; whileas day by day the

friendless child watered the growing budsdeeper grew her love for

the unseen friends who had given her one thing to cherish in her

lonely home; sweetgentle thoughts filled her heart as she bent

above itand the blossom's fragrant breath was to her a whispered

voice of all fair and lovely things; and as the flower taught her

so she taught others.

The loving Elves brought her sweet dreams by nightand happy thoughts

by dayand as she grew in childlike beautypure and patient amid

poverty and sorrowthe sinful were rebukedsorrowing hearts grew

lightand the weak and selfish forgot their idle fearswhen they saw

her trustingly live on with none to aid or comfort her. The love

she bore the tender flower kept her own heart innocent and bright

and the pure human flower was a lesson to those who looked upon it;

and soon the gloomy house was bright with happy heartsthat learned

of the gentle child to bear poverty and grief as she had doneto

forgive those who brought care and wrong to themand to seek for

happiness in humble deeds of charity and love.

"Our work is done" whispered the Elvesand with blessings on the

two fair flowersthey flew away to other homes;--to a blind old man

who dwelt alone with none to love himtill through long years of

darkness and of silent sorrow the heart within had grown dim and cold.

No sunlight could enter at the darkened eyesand none were near

to whisper gentle wordsto cheer and comfort.

Thus he dwelt forgotten and aloneseeking to give no joy to others

possessing none himself. Life was dark and sad till the untiring

Elves came to his dreary homebringing sunlight and love. They

whispered sweet words of comfort--howif the darkened eyes could

find no light withoutwithin there might be never-failing happiness;

gentle feelings and sweetloving thoughts could make the heart fair

if the gloomyselfish sorrow were but cast awayand all would be

bright and beautiful.

They brought light-hearted childrenwho gathered round himmaking

the desolate home fair with their young facesand his sad heart gay

with their sweetchildish voices. The love they bore he could not

cast awaysunlight stole inthe dark thoughts passed awayand the

earth was a pleasant home to him.

Thus their little hands led him back to peace and happiness

flowers bloomed beside his doorand their fragrant breath brought

happy thoughts of pleasant valleys and green hills; birds sang to him

and their sweet voices woke the music in his own soulthat never

failed to calm and comfort. Happy sounds were heard in his once

lonely homeand bright faces gathered round his kneeand listened

tenderly while he strove to tell them all the good that gentleness and

love had done for him.

Still the Elves watched nearand brighter grew the heart as kindly

thoughts and tender feelings entered inand made it their home;

and when the old man fell asleepabove his grave little feet trod

lightlyand loving hands laid fragrant flowers.

Then went the Elves into the dreary prison-houseswhere sad hearts

pined in lonely sorrow for the joy and freedom they had lost. To

these came the loving band with tender wordstelling of the peace

they yet might win by patient striving and repentant tearsthus

waking in their bosoms all the holy feelings and sweet affections

that had slept so long.

They told pleasant talesand sang their sweetest songs to cheer and

gladdenwhile the dim cells grew bright with the sunlightand

fragrant with the flowers the loving Elves had broughtand by their

gentle teachings those saddespairing hearts were filled with patient

hope and earnest longing to win back their lost innocence and joy.

Thus to all who needed help or comfort went the faithful Fairies; and

when at length they turned towards Fairy-Landmany were the grateful

happy hearts they left behind.

Then through the summer skyabove the blossoming earththey

journeyed homehappier for the joy they had givenwiser for the good

they had done.

All Fairy-Land was dressed in flowersand the soft wind went singing

byladen with their fragrant breath. Sweet music sounded through the

airand troops of Elves in their gayest robes hastened to the palace

where the feast was spread.

Soon the bright hall was filled with smiling faces and fair formsand

little Evaas she stood beside the Queenthought she had never seen

a sight so lovely.

The many-colored shadows of the fairest flowers played on the pure

white wallsand fountains sparkled in the sunlightmaking music

as the cool waves rose and fellwhile to and frowith waving wings

and joyous voiceswent the smiling Elvesbearing fruit and honey

or fragrant garlands for each other's hair.

Long they feastedgayly they sangand Evadancing merrily

among themlonged to be an Elf that she might dwell forever

in so fair a home.

At length the music ceasedand the Queen saidas she laid her hand

on little Eva's shining hair:--

"Dear childtomorrow we must bear you homeformuch as we long

to keep youit were wrong to bring such sorrow to your loving earthly

friends; therefore we will guide you to the brook-sideand there say

farewell till you come again to visit us. Naydo not weepdear

Rose-Leaf; you shall watch over little Eva's flowersand when she

looks at them she will think of you. Come now and lead her to the

Fairy gardenand show her what we think our fairest sight. Weep

no morebut strive to make her last hours with us happy as you can."

With gentle caresses and most tender words the loving Elves gathered

about the childandwith Rose-Leaf by her sidethey led her through

the palaceand along greenwinding pathstill Eva saw what seemed

a wall of flowers rising before herwhile the air was filled with the

most fragrant odorsand the lowsweet music as of singing blossoms.

"Where have you brought meand what mean these lovely sounds?"

asked Eva.

"Look hereand you shall see" said Rose-Leafas she bent aside

the vines"but listen silently or you cannot hear."

Then Evalooking through the drooping vinesbeheld a garden filled

with the loveliest flowers; fair as were all the blossoms she had seen

in Fairy-Landnone were so beautiful as these. The rose glowed

with a deeper crimsonthe lily's soft leaves were more purely white

the crocus and humble cowslip shone like sunlightand the violet

was blue as the sky that smiled above it.

"How beautiful they are" whispered Eva"butdear Rose-Leafwhy

do you keep them hereand why call you this your fairest sight?"

"Look againand I will tell you" answered the Fairy.

Eva lookedand saw from every flower a tiny form come forth to

welcome the Elveswho allsave Rose-Leafhad flown above the wall

and were now scattering dew upon the flowers' bright leaves and

talking gayly with the Spiritswho gathered around themand seemed

full of joy that they had come. The child saw that each one wore the

colors of the flower that was its home. Delicate and graceful were

the little formsbright the silken hair that fell about each lovely

face; and Eva heard the lowsweet murmur of their silvery voices and

the rustle of their wings. She gazed in silent wonderforgetting she

knew not who they weretill the Fairy said--

"These are the spirits of the flowersand this the Fairy Home where

those whose hearts were pure and loving on the earth come to bloom in

fadeless beauty herewhen their earthly life is past. The humblest

flower that blooms has a home with usfor outward beauty is a

worthless thing if all be not fair and sweet within. Do you see

yonder lovely spirit singing with my sister Moonlight? a clover

blossom was her homeand she dwelt unknownunloved; yet patient and

contentbearing cheerfully the sorrows sent her. We watched and saw

how fair and sweet the humble flower grewand then gladly bore her

hereto blossom with the lily and the rose. The flowers' lives

are often shortfor cruel hands destroy them; therefore is it our

greatest joy to bring them hitherwhere no careless foot or wintry

wind can harm themwhere they bloom in quiet beautyrepaying our

care by their love and sweetest perfumes."

"I will never break another flower" cried Eva; " but let mego

to themdear Fairy; I would gladly know the lovely spiritsand ask

forgiveness for the sorrow I have caused. May I not go in?"

"Naydear Evayou are a mortal childand cannot enter here; but I

will tell them of the kind little maiden who has learned to love them

and they will remember you when you are gone. Come nowfor you have

seen enoughand we must be away."

On a rosy morning cloudsurrounded by the loving Elveswent Eva

through the sunny sky. The fresh wind bore them gently onand soon

they stood again beside the brookwhose waves danced brightly as if

to welcome them.

"Nowere we say farewell" said the Queenas they gathered nearer

to the child"tell medear Evawhat among all our Fairy gifts

will make you happiestand it shall be yours."

"You good little Fairies" said Evafolding them in her armsfor

she was no longer the tiny child she had been in Fairy-Land"you dear

good little Elveswhat can I ask of youwho have done so much

to make me happyand taught me so many good and gentle lessons

the memory of which will never pass away? I can only ask of you the

power to be as pure and gentle as yourselvesas tender and loving

to the weak and sorrowingas untiring in kindly deeds to all. Grant

me this giftand you shall see that little Eva has not forgotten

what you have taught her."

"The power shall be yours" said the Elvesand laid their softhands

on her head; we will watch over you in dreamsand when you would have

tidings of usask the flowers in your gardenand they will tell you

all you would know. Farewell. Remember Fairy-Land and all your

loving friends."

They clung about her tenderlyand little Rose-Leaf placed a flower

crown on her headwhispering softly"When you would come to us

againstand by the brook-side and wave this in the airand we will

gladly take you to our home again. Farewelldear Eva. Think of your

little Rose-Leaf when among the flowers."

Long Eva watched their shining wingsand listened to the music of

their voices as they flew singing homeand when at length the last

little form had vanished among the cloudsshe saw that all around her

where the Elves had beenthe fairest flowers had sprung upand the

lonely brook-side was a blooming garden.

Thus she stood among the waving blossomswith the Fairy garland in

her hairand happy feelings in her heartbetter and wiser for her

visit to Fairy-Land.

"NowStar-Twinklewhat have you to teach?" asked the Queen.

"Nothing but a little song I heard the hare-bells singing" replied

the Fairyandtaking her harpsangin a lowsweet voice:--

 

 

 

THE FLOWER'S LESSON.

 

 

THERE grew a fragrant rose-tree where the brook flows

With two little tender budsand one full rose;

When the sun went down to his bed in the west

The little buds leaned on the rose-mother's breast

While the bright eyed stars their long watch kept

And the flowers of the valley in their green cradles slept;

Then silently in odors they communed with each otber

The two little buds on the bosom of their mother.

"O sister" said the little oneas she gazed at the sky

"I wish that the Dew Elvesas they wander lightly by

Would bring me a star; for they never grow dim

And the Father does not need them to burn round him.

The shining drops of dew the Elves bring each day

And place in my bosomso soon pass away;

But a star would glitter brightly through the long summer hours

And I should be fairer than all my sister flowers.

That were better far than the dew-drops that fall

On the high and the lowand come alike to all.

I would be fair and statelywith a bright star to shine

And give a queenly air to this crimson robe of mine."

And proudly she cried"These fire-flies shall be

My jewelssince the stars can never come to me."

Just then a tiny dew-drop that hung o'er the dell

On the breast of the bud like a soft star fell;

But impatiently she flung it away from her leaf

And it fell on her mother like a tear of grief

While she folded to her breastwith wilful pride

A glittering fire-fly that hung by her side.

"Heed" said the mother rose"daughter mine

Why shouldst thou seek for beauty not thine?

The Father hath made thee what thou now art;

And what he most loveth is a sweetpure heart.

Then why dost thou take with such discontent

The loving gift which he to thee hath sent?

For the cool fresh dew will render thee far

More lovely and sweet than the brightest star;

They were made for Heavenand can never come to shine

Like the fire-fly thou hast in that foolish breast of thine.

O my foolish little buddo listen to thy mother;

Care only for true beautyand seek for no other.

There will be grief and trouble in that wilful little heart;

Unfold thy leavesmy daughterand let the fly depart."

But the proud little bud would have her own will

And folded the fire-fly more closely still;

Till the struggling insect tore open the vest

Of purple and greenthat covered her breast.

When the sun came upshe saw with grief

The blooming of her sister bud leaf by leaf.

While sheonce as fair and bright as the rest

Hung her weary head down on her wounded breast.

Bright grew the sunshineand the soft summer air

Was filled with the music of flowers singing there;

But faint grew the little bud with thirst and pain

And longed for the cool dew; but now 't was in vain.

Then bitterly she wept for her folly and pride

As drooping she stood by her fair sister's side.

Then the rose mother leaned the weary little head

On her bosom to restand tenderly she said:

"Thon hast learnedmy little budthatwhatever may betide

Thou canst win thyself no joy by passion or by pride.

The loving Father sends the sunshine and the shower

That thou mayst become a perfect little flower;--

The sweet dews to feed theethe soft wind to cheer

And the earth as a pleasant homewhile thou art dwelling here.

Then shouldst thou not be grateful for all this kindly care

And strive to keep thyself most innocent and fair?

Then seekmy little blossomto win humility;

Be fair withoutbe pure withinand thou wilt happy be.

So when the quiet Autumn of thy fragrant life shall come

Thou mayst pass awayto bloom in the Flower Spirits' home."

Then from the mother's breastwhere it still lay hid

Into the fading bud the dew-drop gently slid;

Stronger grew the little formand happy tears fell

As the dew did its silent workand the bud grew well

While the gentle rose leanedwith motherly pride

O'er the fair little ones that bloomed at her side.

Night came againand the fire-flies flew;

But the bud let them passand drank of the dew;

While the soft stars shonefrom the still summer heaven

On the happy little flower that had learned the lesson given.

 

The music-loving Elves clapped their handsas Star-Twinkle ceased;

and the Queen placed a flower crownwith a gentle smileupon the

Fairy's headsaying--

"The little bud's lesson shall teach us how sad a thing is pride

and that humility alone can bring true happiness to flower and Fairy.

You shall come nextZephyr."

And the little Fairywho lay rocking to and fro upon a fluttering

vine-leafthus began her story:--

"As I lay resting in the bosom of a cowslip that bent above the brook

a little windtired of playtold me this tale of

 

 

LILY-BELL AND THISTLEDOWN.

 

ONCE upon a timetwo little Fairies went out into the worldto

seek their fortune. Thistle-down was as gay and gallant a little Elf

as ever spread a wing. His purple mantleand doublet of greenwere

embroidered with the brightest threadsand the plume in his cap

came always from the wing of the gayest butterfly.

But he was not loved in Fairy-Landforlike the flower whose

name and colors he worethough fair to look uponmany were the

little thorns of cruelty and selfishness that lay concealed by his

gay mantle. Many a gentle flower and harmless bird died by his hand

for he cared for himself aloneand whatever gave him pleasure must

be histhough happy hearts were rendered sadand peaceful homes

destroyed.

Such was Thistledown; but far different was his little friend

Lily-Bell. Kindcompassionateand lovingwherever her gentle face

was seenjoy and gratitude were found; no suffering flower or insect

that did not love and bless the kindly Fairy; and thus all Elf-Land

looked upon her as a friend.

Nor did this make her vain and heedless of others; she humb]y dwelt

among themseeking to do all the good she might; and many a houseless

bird and hungry insect that Thistledown had harmed did she feed and

shelterand in return no evil could befall herfor so many

friends were all about herseeking to repay her tenderness and love

by their watchful care.

She would not now have left Fairy-Landbut to help and counsel her

wild companionThistledownwhodiscontented with his quiet home

WOULD seek his fortune in the great worldand she feared he would

suffer from his own faults for others would not always be as gentle

and forgiving as his kindred. So the kind little Fairy left her home

and friends to go with him; and thusside by sidethey flew beneath

the bright summer sky.

On and onover hill and valleythey wentchasing the gay

butterfliesor listening to the beesas they flew from flower to

flower like busy little housewivessinging as they worked; till

at last they reached a pleasant gardenfilled with flowers and green

old trees.

"See" cried Thistledown"what a lovely home is here; let usrest

among the cool leavesand hear the flowers singfor I am sadly tired

and hungry."

So into the quiet garden they wentand the winds gayly welcomed them

while the flowers nodded on their stemsoffering their bright leaves

for the Elves to rest uponand freshsweet honey to refresh them.

"Nowdear Thistledo not harm these friendly blossoms" said

Lily-Bell; "see how kindly they spread their leavesand offer us

their dew. It would be very wrong in you to repay their care with

cruelty and pain. You will be tender for my sakedear Thistle."

Then she went among the flowersand they bent lovingly before her

and laid their soft leaves against her little facethat she might see

how glad they were to welcome one so good and gentleand kindly

offered their dew and honey to the weary little Fairywho sat among

their fragrant petals and looked smilingly on the happy blossomswho

with their softlow voicessang her to sleep.

While Lily-Bell lay dreaming among the rose-leavesThistledown went

wandering through the garden. First he robbed the bees of their

honeyand rudely shook the little flowersthat he might get the dew

they had gathered to bathe their buds in. Then he chased the bright

winged fliesand wounded them with the sharp thorn he carried for a

sword; he broke the spider's shining webslamed the birdsand soon

wherever he passed lay wounded insects and drooping flowers; while

the winds carried the tidings over the gardenand bird and blossom

looked upon him as an evil spiritand fled away or closed their

leaveslest he should harm them.

Thus he wentleaving sorrow and pain behind himtill he came to the

roses where Lily-Bell lay sleeping. Thereweary of his cruel sport

he stayed to rest beneath a graceful rose-treewhere grew one

blooming flower and a tiny bud.

"Why are you so slow in bloominglittle one? You are too old to be

rocked in your green cradle longerand should be out among your

sister flowers" said Thistleas he lay idly in the shadow of the

tree.

"My little bud is not yet strong enough to venture forth" repliedthe

roseas she bent fondly over it; "the sunlight and the rain would

blight her tender formwere she to blossom nowbut soon she will be

fit to bear them; till then she is content to rest beside her mother

and to wait."

"You silly flower" said Thistledown"see how quickly I willmake you

bloom! your waiting is all useless." And speaking thushe pulled

rudely apart the folded leavesand laid them open to the sun and air;

while the rose mother implored the cruel Fairy to leave her little bud

untouched.

"It is my firstmy only one" said she"and I have watchedover it

with such carehoping it would soon bloom beside me; and now you have

destroyed it. How could you harm the little helpless onethat never

did aught to injure you?" And while her tears fell like summer rain

she drooped in grief above the little budand sadly watched it fading

in the sunlight; but Thistledownheedless of the sorrow he had given

spread his wings and flew away.

Soon the sky grew darkand heavy drops began to fall. Then Thistle

hastened to the lilyfor her cup was deepand the white leaves

fell like curtains over the fragrant bed; he was a dainty little Elf

and could not sleep among the clovers and bright buttercups. But

when he asked the flower to unfold her leaves and take him inshe

turned her palesoft face awayand answered sadly"I must shield my

little drooping sisters whom you have harmedand cannot let you in."

Then Thistledown was very angryand turned to find shelter among the

stately roses; but they showed their sharp thornsandwhile their

rosy faces glowed with angertold him to begoneor they would repay

him for the wrong he had done their gentle kindred.

He would have stayed to harm thembut the rain fell fastand he

hurried awaysaying"The tulips will take me infor I have praised

their beautyand they are vain and foolish flowers."

But when he cameall wet and coldpraying for shelter among their

thick leavesthey only laughed and said scornfully"We know you

and will not let you infor you are false and crueland will

only bring us sorrow. You need not come to us for another mantle

when the rain has spoilt your fine one; and do not stay hereor

we will do you harm."

Then they waved their broad leaves stormilyand scattered the heavy

drops on his dripping garments.

"Now must I go to the humble daisies and blue violets" saidThistle

"they will be glad to let in so fine a Fairyand I shall die in

this cold wind and rain."

So away he flewas fast as his heavy wings would bear himto the

daisies; but they nodded their heads wiselyand closed their leaves

yet closersaying sharply--

"Go away with yourselfand do not imagine we will open our leaves

to youand spoil our seeds by letting in the rain. It serves you

rightly; to gain our love and confidenceand repay it by such

cruelty! You will find no shelter here for one whose careless hand

wounded our little friend Violetand broke the truest heart that ever

beat in a flower's breast. We are very angry with youwicked Fairy;

go away and hide yourself."

"Ah" cried the shivering Elf"where can I find shelter? Iwill go

to the violets: they will forgive and take me in."

But the daisies had spoken truly; the gentle little flower was dead

and her blue-eyed sisters were weeping bitterly over her faded leaves.

"Now I have no friends" sighed poor Thistle-down"and mustdie of

cold. Ahif I had but minded Lily-BellI might now be dreaming

beneath some flower's leaves."

"Others can forgive and lovebeside Lily-Bell and Violet" said

a faintsweet voice; "I have no little bud to shelter nowand you

can enter here." It was the rose mother that spokeand Thistle saw

how pale the bright leaves had grownand how the slender stem was

bowed. Grievedashamedand wondering at the flower's forgiving

wordshe laid his weary head on the bosom he had filled with sorrow

and the fragrant leaves were folded carefully about him.

But he could find no rest. The rose strove to comfort him; but when

she fancied he was sleepingthoughts of her lost bud stole inand

the little heart beat so sadly where he laythat no sleep came; while

the bitter tears he had caused to flow fell more coldly on him than

the rain without. Then he heard the other flowers whispering among

themselves of his crueltyand the sorrow he had brought to their

happy home; and many wondered how the rosewho had suffered most

could yet forgive and shelter him.

"Never could I forgive one who had robbed me of my children. I could

bow my head and diebut could give no happiness to one who had taken

all my own" said Hyacinthbending fondly over the little ones that

blossomed by her side.

"Dear Violet is not the only one who will leave us" sobbed little

Mignonette; "the rose mother will fade like her little budand we

shall lose our gentlest teacher. Her last lesson is forgiveness;

let us show our love for herand the gentle stranger Lily-Bell

by allowing no unkind word or thought of him who has brought us all

this grief."

The angry words were hushedand through the long night nothing was

heard but the dropping of the rainand the low sighs of the rose.

Soon the sunlight came againand with it Lily-Bell seeking for

Thistledown; but he was ashamedand stole away.

When the flowers told their sorrow to kind-hearted Lily-Be]lshe wept

bitterly at the pain her friend had givenand with loving words

strove to comfort those whom he had grieved; with gentle care she

healed the wounded birdsand watched above the flowers he had harmed

bringing each day dew and sunlight to refresh and strengthentill all

were well again; and though sorrowing for their dead friendsstill

they forgave Thistle for the sake of her who had done so much for

them. Thuserelongbuds fairer than that she had lost lay on the

rose mother's breastand for all she had suffered she was well repaid

by the love of Lily-Bell and her sister flowers.

And when birdbeeand blossom were strong and fair againthe gentle

Fairy said farewelland flew away to seek her friendleaving behind

many grateful heartswho owed their joy and life to her.

 

Meanwhileover hill and dale went Thistledownand for a time was

kind and gentle to every living thing. He missed sadly the little

friend who had left her happy home to watch over himbut he was

too proud to own his faultand so went onhoping she would find him.

One day he fell asleepand when he woke the sun had setand the dew

began to fall; the flower-cups were closedand he had nowhere to go

till a friendly little beebelated by his heavy load of honeybid

the weary Fairy come with him.

"Help me to bear my honey homeand you can stay with us tonight"

he kindly said.

So Thistle gladly went with himand soon they came to a pleasant

gardenwhere among the fairest flowers stood the hivecovered with

vines and overhung with blossoming trees. Glow-worms stood at the

door to light them homeand as they passed inthe Fairy thought how

charming it must be to dwell in such a lovely place. The floor of wax

was pure and white as marblewhile the walls were formed of golden

honey-comband the air was fragrant with the breath of flowers.

"You cannot see our Queen to-night" said the little bee"but

I will show you to a bed where you can rest."

And he led the tired Fairy to a little cellwhere on a bed of

flower-leaves he folded his wings and fell asleep.

As the first ray of sunlight stole inhe was awakened by sweet music.

It was the morning song of the bees.

 

"Awake! awake! for the earliest gleam

Of golden sunlight shines

On the rippling wavesthat brightly flow

Beneath the flowering vines.

Awake! awake! for the lowsweet chant

Of the wild-birds' morning hymn

Comes floating by on the fragrant air

Through the forest cool and dim;

Then spread each wing

And workand sing

Through the longbright sunny hours;

O'er the pleasant earth

We journey forth

For a day among the flowers.

"Awake! awake! for the summer wind

Hath bidden the blossoms unclose

Hath opened the violet's soft blue eye

And wakened the sleeping rose.

And lightly they wave on their slender stems

Fragrantand freshand fair

Waiting for usas we singing come

To gather our honey-dew there.

Then spread each wing

And workand sing

Through the longbright sunny hours;

O'er the pleasant earth

We journey forth

For a day among the flowers!"

 

Soon his friend came to bid him riseas the Queen desired to speak

with him. Sowith his purple mantle thrown gracefully over his

shoulderand his little cap held respectfully in his handhe

followed Nimble-Wing to the great hallwhere the Queen was being

served by her little pages. Some bore her fresh dew and honeysome

fanned her with fragrant flower-leaveswhile others scattered the

sweetest perfumes on the air.

"Little Fairy" said the Queen"you are welcome to my palace;and

we will gladly have you stay with usif you will obey our laws.

We do not spend the pleasant summer days in idleness and pleasurebut

each one labors for the happiness and good of all. If our home is

beautifulwe have made it so by industry; and hereas one large

loving familywe dwell; no sorrowcareor discord can enter in

while all obey the voice of her who seeks to be a wise and gentle

Queen to them. If you will stay with uswe will teach you many

things. Orderpatienceindustrywho can teach so well as they

who are the emblems of these virtues?

"Our laws are few and simple. You must each day gather your share of

honeysee that your cell is sweet and freshas you yourself must be;

rise with the sunand with him to sleep. You must harm no flower in

doing your worknor take more than your just share of honey; for they

so kindly give us foodit were most cruel to treat them with aught

save gentleness and gratitude. Now will you stay with usand learn

what even mortals seek to knowthat labor brings true happiness?"

And Thistle said he would stay and dwell with them; for he was tired

of wandering aloneand thought he might live here till Lily-Bell

should comeor till he was weary of the kind-hearted bees. Then they

took away his gay garmentsand dressed him like themselvesin the

black velvet cloak with golden bands across his breast.

"Now come with us" they said. So forth into the green fields

they wentand made their breakfast among the dewy flowers; and then

till the sun set they flew from bud to blossomsinging as they went;

and Thistle for a while was happier than when breaking flowers and

harming gentle birds.

But he soon grew tired of working all day in the sunand longed to be

free again. He could find no pleasure with the industrious beesand

sighed to be away with his idle friendsthe butterflies; so while the

others worked he slept or playedand thenin haste to get his share

he tore the flowersand took all they had saved for their own food.

Nor was this all; he told such pleasant tales of the life he led

before he came to live with themthat many grew unhappy and

discontentedand they who had before wished no greater joy than

the love and praise of their kind Queennow disobeyed and blamed her

for all she had done for them.

Long she bore with their unkind words and deeds; and when at length

she found it was the ungrateful Fairy who had wrought this trouble in

her quiet kingdomshe strovewith sweetforgiving wordsto show

him all the wrong he had done; but he would not listenand still went

on destroying the happiness of those who had done so much for him.

Thenwhen she saw that no kindness could touch his heartshe said:--

"Thistledownwe took you ina friendless strangerfed and clothed

youand made our home as pleasant to you as we could; and in return

for all our careyou have brought discontent and trouble to my

subjectsgrief and care to me. I cannot let my peaceful kingdom

be disturbed by you; therefore go and seek another home. You may find

other friendsbut none will love you more than wehad you been

worthy of it; so farewell." And the doors of the once happy home

he had disturbed were closed behind him.

Then he was very angryand determined to bring some great sorrow on

the good Queen. So he sought out the idlewilful beeswhom he had

first made discontentedbidding them follow himand win the honey

the Queen had stored up for the winter.

"Let us feast and make merry in the pleasant summer-time" said

Thistle; "winter is far offwhy should we waste these lovely days

toiling to lay up the food we might enjoy now. Comewe will take

what we have madeand think no more of what the Queen has said."

So while the industrious bees were out among the flowershe led

the drones to the hiveand took possession of the honeydestroying

and laying waste the home of the kind bees; thenfearing that

in their grief and anger they might harm himThistle flew away to

seek new friends.

 

After many wanderingshe came at length to a great forestand here

beside a still lake he stayed to rest. Delicate wood-flowers grew near

him in the deep green mosswith drooping headsas if they listened

to the soft wind sing-ing among the pines. Bright-eyed birds peeped

at him from their nestsand many-colored insects danced above the

coolstill lake.

"This is a pleasant place" said Thistle; "it shall be my homefor a

while. Come hitherblue dragon-flyI would gladly make a friend of

youfor I am all alone."

The dragon-fly folded his shining wings beside the Elflistened to

the tale he toldpromised to befriend the lonely oneand strove

to make the forest a happy home to him.

So here dwelt Thistleand many kind friends gathered round him

for he spoke gently to themand they knew nothing of the cruel deeds

he had done; and for a while he was happy and content. But at length

he grew weary of the gentle birdsand wild-flowersand sought new

pleasure in destroying the beauty he was tired of; and soon the

friends who had so kindly welcomed him looked upon him as an evil

spiritand shrunk away as he approached.

At length his friend the dragon-fly besought him to leave the quiet

home he had disturbed. Then Thistle was very angryand while the

dragon-fly was sleeping among the flowers that hung over the lakehe

led an ugly spider to the spotand bade him weave his nets about the

sleeping insectand bind him fast. The cruel spider gladly obeyed

the ungrateful Fairy; and soon the poor fly could move neither leg nor

wing. Then Thistle flew away through the woodleaving sorrow and

trouble behind him.

He had not journeyed far before he grew wearyand lay down to rest.

Long he sleptand when he awokeand tried to risehis hands and

wings were bound; while beside him stood two strange little figures

with dark faces and garmentsthat rustled like withered leaves; who

cried to himas he struggled to get free--

"Lie stillyou naughty Fairyyou are in the Brownies' powerand

shall be well punished for your cruelty ere we let you go."

So poor Thistle lay sorrowfullywondering what would come of it

and wishing Lily-Bell would come to help and comfort him; but he had

left herand she could not help him now.

Soon a troop of Brownies came rustling through the airand gathered

round himwhile one who wore an acorn-cup on his headand was their

Kingsaidas he stood beside the trembling Fairy--

"You have done many cruel thingsand caused much sorrow to happy

hearts; now you are in my powerand I shall keep you prisoner

till you have repented. You cannot dwell on the earth without harming

the fair things given you to enjoyso you shall live alone in

solitude and darknesstill you have learned to find happiness in

gentle deedsand forget yourself in giving joy to others. When you

have learned thisI will set you free."

Then the Brownies bore him to a highdark rockandentering a

little doorled him to a small celldimly lighted by a crevice

through which came a single gleam of sunlight; and therethrough

longlong dayspoor Thistle sat aloneand gazed with wistful eyes

at the little openinglonging to be out on the green earth. No one

came to himbut the silent Brownies who brought his daily food; and

with bitter tears he wept for Lily-Bellmourning his cruelty and

selfishnessseeking to do some kindly deed that might atone for his

wrong-doing.

A little vine that grew outside his prison rock came creeping up

and looked in through the creviceas if to cheer the lonely Fairy

who welcomed it most gladlyand daily sprinkled its soft leaves

with his small share of waterthat the little vine might live

even if it darkened more and more his dim cell.

The watchful Brownies saw this kind deedand brought him fresh

flowersand many thingswhich Thistle gratefully receivedthough

he never knew it was his kindness to the vine that gained for him

these pleasures.

Thus did poor Thistle strive to be more gentle and unselfishand

grew daily happier and better.

Now while Thistledown was a captive in the lonely cellLily-Bell was

seeking him far and wideand sadly traced him by the sorrowing hearts

he had left behind.

She healed the drooping flowerscheered the Queen Bee's grief

brought back her discontented subjectsrestored the home to peace

and orderand left them blessing her.

Thus she journeyed ontill she reached the forest where Thistledown

had lost his freedom. She unbound the starving dragon-flyand tended

the wounded birds; but though all learned to love hernone could tell

where the Brownies had borne her friendtill a little wind came

whispering byand told her that a sweet voice had been heardsinging

Fairy songsdeep in a moss-grown rock.

Then Lily-Bell went seeking through the forestlistening for the

voice. Long she looked and listened in vain; when one dayas she was

wandering through a lonely dellshe heard a faintlow sound of

musicand soon a distant voice mournfully singing--

 

"Bright shines the summer sun

Soft is the summer air;

Gayly the wood-birds sing

Flowers are blooming fair.

"Butdeep in the darkcold rock

Sadly I dwell

Longing for theedear friend

Lily-Bell! Lily-Bell!"

 

"Thistledear Thistlewhere are you?" joyfully cried Lily-Bell

as she flew from rock to rock. But the voice was stilland she

would have looked in vainhad she not seen a little vinewhose green

leaves fluttering to and fro seemed beckoning her to come; and as she

stood among its flowers she sang--

 

"Through sunlight and summer air

I have sought for thee long

Guided by birds and flowers

And now by thy song.

"Thistledown! Thistledown!

O'er hill and dell

Hither to comfort thee

Comes Lily-Bell."

 

Then from the vine-leaves two little arms were stretched out to her

and Thistledown was found. So Lily-Bell made her home in the shadow

of the vineand brought such joy to Thistlethat his lonely cell

seemed pleasanter to him than all the world beside; and he grew daily

more like his gentle friend. But it did not last longfor one day

she did not come. He watched and waited longfor the little face

that used to peep smiling in through the vine-leaves. He called and

beckoned through the narrow openingbut no Lily-Bell answered; and

he wept sadly as he thought of all she had done for himand that now

he could not go to seek and help herfor he had lost his freedom

by his own cruel and wicked deeds.

At last he besought the silent Brownie earnestly to tell him

whither she had gone.

"O let me go to her" prayed Thistle; "if she is in sorrowIwill

comfort herand show my gratitude for all she has done for me: dear

Brownieset me freeand when she is found I will come and be your

prisoner again. I will bear and suffer any danger for her sake."

"Lily-Bell is safe" replied the Brownie; "comeyou shalllearn

the trial that awaits you."

Then he led the wondering Fairy from his prisonto a group of tall

drooping fernsbeneath whose shade a large white lily had been

placedforming a little tentwithin whichon a couch of thick green

mosslay Lily-Bell in a deep sleep; the sunlight stole softly in

and all was cool and still.

"You cannot wake her" said the Brownieas Thistle folded his arms

tenderly about her. "It is a magic slumberand she will not wake

till you shall bring hither gifts from the EarthAirand Water

Spirits. 'T is a long and weary taskfor you have made no friends

to help youand will have to seek for them alone. This is the trial

we shall give you; and if your love for Lily-Bell be strong enough

to keep you from all cruelty and selfishnessand make you kind and

loving as you should beshe will awake to welcome youand love you

still more fondly than before."

Then Thistlewith a last look on the little friend he loved so well

set forth alone to his long task.

 

The home of the Earth Spirits was the first to findand no one

would tell him where to look. So far and wide he wanderedthrough

gloomy forests and among lonely hillswith none to cheer him when

sad and wearynone to guide him on his way.

On he wentthinking of Lily-Belland for her sake bearing all;

for in his quiet prison many gentle feelings and kindly thoughts had

sprung up in his heartand he now strove to be friends with alland

win for himself the love and confidence of those whom once he sought

to harm and cruelly destroy.

But few believed him; for they remembered his false promises and

evil deedsand would not trust him now; so poor Thistle found few

to love or care for him.

Long he wanderedand carefully he sought; but could not find the

Earth Spirits' home. And when at length he reached the pleasant

garden where he and Lily-Bell first partedhe said within himself--

"Here I will stay awhileand try to win by kindly deeds the flowers'

forgiveness for the pain and sorrow I brought them long ago; and they

may learn to love and trust me. Soeven if I never find the Spirits

I shall be worthier Lily-Bell's affection if I strive to atone for

the wrong I have done."

Then he went among the flowersbut they closed their leavesand

shrank awaytrembling with fear; while the birds fled to hide

among the leaves as he passed.

This grieved poor Thistleand he longed to tell them how changed

he had become; but they would not listen. So he tried to showby

quiet deeds of kindnessthat he meant no harm to them; and soon

the kind-hearted birds pitied the lonely Fairyand when he came near

sang cheering songsand dropped ripe berries in his pathfor he

no longer broke their eggsor hurt their little ones.

And when the flowers saw thisand found the once cruel Elf now

watering and tending little budsfeeding hungry insectsand

helping the busy ants to bear their heavy loadsthey shared the pity

of the birdsand longed to trust him; but they dared not yet.

He came one daywhile wandering through the gardento the little

rose he had once harmed so sadly. Many buds now bloomed beside her

and her soft face glowed with motherly prideas she bent fondly over

them. But when Thistle camehe saw with sorrow how she bade them

close their green curtainsand conceal themselves beneath the leaves

for there was danger near; anddrooping still more closely over them

she seemed to wait with trembling fear the cruel Fairy's coming.

But no rude hand tore her little ones awayno unkind words were

spoken; but a soft shower of dew fell lightly on themand Thistle

bending tenderly above themsaid--

"Dear flowerforgive the sorrow I once brought youand trust me now

for Lily-Bell's sake. Her gentleness has changed my cruelty to

kindnessand I would gladly repay all for the harm I have done;

but none will love and trust me now."

Then the little rose looked upand while the dew-drops shone

like happy tears upon her leavesshe said--

"I WILL love and trust youThistlefor you are indeed much

changed. Make your home among usand my sister flowers will soon

learn to love you as you deserve. Not for sweet Lily-Bell's sake

but for your ownwill I become your friend; for you are kind and

gentle nowand worthy of our love. Look upmy little onesthere is

no danger near; look upand welcome Thistle to our home."

Then the little buds raised their rosy facesdanced again upon

their stemsand nodded kindly at Thistlewho smiled on them through

happy tearsand kissed the sweetforgiving rosewho loved and

trusted him when most forlorn and friendless.

But the other flowers wondered among themselvesand Hyacinth said--

"If Rose-Leaf is his friendsurely we may be; yet still I fear he may

soon grow weary of this gentlenessand be again the wicked Fairy he

once wasand we shall suffer for our kindness to him now."

"Ahdo not doubt him!" cried warm-hearted little Mignonette;"surely

some good spirit has changed the wicked Thistle into this good little

Elf. See how tenderly he lifts aside the leaves that overshadow pale

Harebelland listen now how softly he sings as he rocks little

Eglantine to sleep. He has done many friendly thingsthough none

save Rose-Leaf has been kind to himand he is very sad. Last night

when I awoke to draw my curtains closerhe sat weeping in the

moonlightso bitterlyI longed to speak a kindly word to him.

Dear sisterslet us trust him."

And they all said little Mignonette was right; andspreading wide

their leavesthey bade him comeand drink their dewand lie among

the fragrant petalsstriving to cheer his sorrow. Thistle told them

allandafter much whispering togetherthey said--

"Yeswe will help you to find the Earth Spiritsfor you are striving

to be goodand for love of Lily-Bell we will do much for you."

So they called a little bright-eyed moleand said"Downy-Back

we have given you a pleasant home among our rootsand you are

a grateful little friend; so will you guide dear Thistle to the

Earth Spirits' home?"

Downy-Back said"Yes" and Thistlethanking the kindly flowers

followed his little guidethrough longdark galleriesdeeper

and deeper into the ground; while a glow-worm flew before to light

the way. On they wentand after a whilereached a path lit up by

bright jewels hung upon the walls. Here Downy-Backand Glimmer

the glow-wormleft himsaying--

"We can lead you no farther; you must now go on aloneand the music

of the Spirits will guide you to their home."

Then they went quickly up the winding pathand Thistleguided

by the sweet musicwent on alone.

He soon reached a lovely spotwhose golden halls were bright

with jewelswhich sparkled brightlyand threw many-colored shadows

on the shining garments of the little Spiritswho danced below

to the melody of softsilvery bells.

Long Thistle stood watching the brilliant forms that flashed and

sparkled round him; but he missed the flowers and the sunlight

and rejoiced that he was not an Earth Spirit.

At last they spied him outandgladly welcoming himbade him join

in their dance. But Thistledown was too sad for thatand when he

told them all his story they no longer urgedbut sought to comfort

him; and one whom they called little Sparkle (for her crown and robe

shone with the brightest diamonds)said: "You will have to work

for usere you can win a gift to show the Brownies; do you see

those golden bells that make such musicas we wave them to and fro?

We worked long and hard ere they were wonand you can win one of

thoseif you will do the task we give you."

And Thistle said"No task will be too hard for me to do for dear

Lily-Bell's sake."

Then they led him to a strangedark placelit up with torches;

where troops of Spirits flew busily to and froamong damp rocksand

through dark galleries that led far down into the earth. "What do

they here?" asked Thistle.

"I will tell" replied little Sparkle"for I once worked here

myself. Some of them watch above the flower-rootsand keep them

fresh and strong; others gather the clear drops that trickle from the

damp rocksand form a little springwhichgrowing ever larger

rises to the light aboveand gushes forth in some green field or

lonely forest; where the wild-birds come to drinkand wood-flowers

spread their thirsty leaves above the clearcool wavesas they go

dancing awaycarrying joy and freshness wherever they go. Others

shape the bright jewels into lovely formsand make the good-luck

pennies which we give to mortals whom we love. And here you must toil

till the golden flower is won."

Then Thistle went among the Spiritsand joined in their tasks;

he tended the flower-rootsgathered the water-dropsand formed the

good-luck pennies. Long and hard he workedand was often sad and

wearyoften tempted by unkind and selfish thoughts; but he thought

of Lily-Belland strove to be kind and loving as she had been; and

soon the Spirits learned to love the patient Fairywho had left his

home to toil among them for the sake of his gentle friend.

At length came little Sparkle to himsaying"You have done enough;

come nowand dance and feast with usfor the golden flower is won."

But Thistle could not stayfor half his task was not yet done; and

he longed for sunlight and Lily-Bell. Sotaking a kind farewell

he hastened through the torch-lit path up to the light again; and

spreading his wingsflew over hill and dale till he reached the

forest where Lily-Bell lay sleeping.

It was early morningand the rosy light shone brightly through the

lily-leaves upon heras Thistle enteredand laid his first gift

at the Brownie King's feet.

"You have done well" said he"we hear good tidings of youfrom

bird and flowerand you are truly seeking to repair the evil

you have done. Take now one look at your little friendand then

go forth to seek from the Air Spirits your second gift."

Then Thistle said farewell again to Lily-Belland flew far and wide

among the cloudsseeking the Air Spirits; but though he wandered till

his weary wings could bear him no longerit was in vain. Sofaint

and sadhe lay down to rest on a broad vine-leafthat fluttered

gently in the wind; and as he layhe saw beneath him the home

of the kind bees whom he had so disturbedand Lily-Bell had helped

and comforted.

"I will seek to win their pardonand show them that I am no longer

the cruel Fairy who so harmed them" thought Thistle"and whenthey

become again my friendsI will ask their help to find the Air

Spirits; and if I deserve itthey will gladly aid me on my way."

So he flew down into the field belowand hastened busily from

flower to flowertill he had filled a tiny blue-bell with sweet

fresh honey. Then he stole softly to the hiveandplacing it near

the doorconcealed himself to watch. Soon his friend Nimble-Wing

came flying homeand when he spied the little cuphe hummed with

joyand called his companions around him.

"Surelysome good Elf has placed it here for us" said they;"let us

bear it to our Queen; it is so fresh and fragrant it will be a fit

gift for her"; and they joyfully took it inlittle dreaming who had

placed it there.

So each day Thistle filled a flower-cupand laid it at the door;

and each day the bees wondered more and morefor many strange things

happened. The field-flowers told of the good spirit who watched

above themand the birds sang of the same kind little Elf bringing

soft moss for their nestsand food for their hungry young ones;

while all around the hive had grown fairer since the Fairy came.

But the bees never saw himfor he feared he had not yet done enough

to win their forgiveness and friendship; so he lived alone among the

vinesdaily bringing them honeyand doing some kindly action.

At lengthas he lay sleeping in a flower-bella little bee came

wandering byand knew him for the wicked Thistle; so he called his

friendsandas they flew murmuring around himhe awoke.

"What shall we do to younaughty Elf?" said they. "You are in

our powerand we will sting you if you are not still."

"Let us close the flower-leaves around him and leave him here

to starve" cried onewho had not yet forgotten all the sorrow

Thistle had caused them long ago.

"Nonothat were very crueldear Buzz" said little Hum;"let us

take him to our Queenand she will tell us how to show our anger for

the wicked deeds he did. See how bitterly he weeps; be kind to him

he will not harm us more.

"You good little Hum!" cried a kind-hearted robin who had hoppednear

to listen to the bees. "Dear friendsdo you not know that this is

the good Fairy who has dwelt so quietly among uswatching over bird

and blossomgiving joy to all he helps? It is HE who brings the

honey-cup each day to youand then goes silently awaythat you may

never know who works so faithfully for you. Be kind to himfor if

he has done wronghe has repented of itas you may see."

"Can this be naughty Thistle?" said Nimble-Wing.

"Yesit is I" said Thistle"but no longer cruel and unkind.I have

tried to win your love by patient industry. Ahtrust me nowand you

shall see I am not naughty Thistle any more."

Then the wondering bees led him to their Queenand when he had told

his taleand begged their forgivenessit was gladly given; and

all strove to show him that he was loved and trusted. Then he asked

if they could tell him where the Air Spirits dweltfor he must not

forget dear Lily-Bell; and to his great joy the Queen said"Yes"

and bade little Hum guide Thistle to Cloud-Land.

Little Hum joyfully obeyed; and Thistle followed himas he flew

higher and higher among the soft cloudstill in the distance they saw

a radiant light.

"There is their homeand I must leave you nowdear Thistle" said

the little bee; andbidding him farewellhe flew singing back; while

Thistlefollowing the lightsoon found himself in the Air Spirits'

home.

The sky was gold and purple like an autumn sunsetand long walls of

brilliant clouds lay round him. A rosy light shone through the silver

miston gleaming columns and the rainbow roof; softfragrant winds

went whispering byand airy little forms were flitting to and fro.

Long Thistle wondered at the beauty round him; and then he went

among the shining Spiritstold his taleand asked a gift.

But they answered like the Earth Spirits. "You must serve us first

and then we will gladly give you a robe of sunlight like our own "

And then they told him how they wafted flower-seeds over the earth

to beautify and brighten lonely spots; how they watched above the

blossoms by dayand scattered dews at nightbrought sunlight

into darkened placesand soft winds to refresh and cheer.

"These are the things we do" said they" and you must aid us

for a time."

And Thistle gladly went with the lovely Spirits; by day he joined

the sunlight and the breeze in their silent work; by nightwith

Star-Light and her sister spiritshe flew over the moon-lit earth

dropping cool dew upon the folded flowersand bringing happy dreams

to sleeping mortals. Many a kind deed was donemany a gentle word

was spoken; and each day lighter grew his heartand stronger his

power of giving joy to others.

At length Star-Light bade him work no moreand gladly gave him

the gift he had won. Then his second task was doneand he flew gayly

back to the green earth and slumbering Lily-Bell.

The silvery moonlight shone upon heras he came to give his second

gift; and the Brownie spoke more kindly than before.

"One more trialThistleand she will awake. Go bravely forth and

win your last and hardest gift."

 

Then with a light heart Thistle journeyed away to the brooks and

riversseeking the Water Spirits. But he looked in vain; till

wandering through the forest where the Brownies took him captive

he stopped beside the quiet lake.

As he stood here he heard a sound of painandlooking in the tall

grass at his sidehe saw the dragon-fly whose kindness he once

repayed by pain and sorrowand who now lay suffering and alone.

Thistle bent tenderly beside himsaying"Dear Flutterdo not

fear me. I will gladly ease your painif you will let me; I am your

friendand long to show you how I grieve for all the wrong I did you

when you were so kind to me. Forgiveand let me help and comfort

you."

Then he bound up the broken wingand spoke so tenderly that Flutter

doubted him no longerand was his friend again.

Day by day did Thistle watch beside himmaking little beds of

coolfresh moss for him to rest uponfanning him when he slept

and singing sweet songs to cheer him when awake. And often when

poor Flutter longed to be dancing once again over the blue waves

the Fairy bore him in his arms to the lakeand on a broad leaf

with a green flag for a sailthey floated on the still water; while

the dragon-fly's companions flew about themplaying merry games.

At length the broken wing was welland Thistle said he must again

seek the Water Spirits. "I can tell you where to find them" said

Flutter; "you must follow yonder little brookand it will lead you

to the seawhere the Spirits dwell. I would gladly do more for you

dear Thistlebut I cannotfor they live deep beneath the waves.

You will find some kind friend to aid you on your way; and so

farewell."

Thistle followed the little brookas it flowed through field and

valleygrowing ever largertill it reached the sea. Here the wind

blew freshlyand the great waves rolled and broke at Thistle's feet

as he stood upon the shorewatching the billows dancing and sparkling

in the sun.

"How shall I find the Spirits in this great seawith none to help or

guide me? Yet it is my last taskand for Lily-Bell's sake I must not

fear or falter now" said Thistle. So he flew hither and thither

over the sealooking through the waves. Soon he sawfar below

the branches of the coral tree.

"They must be here" thought heandfolding his wingshe plunged

into the deepcold sea. But he saw only fearful monsters and dark

shapes that gathered round him; andtrembling with fearhe struggled

up again.

The great waves tossed him to and froand cast him bruised and faint

upon the shore. Here he lay weeping bitterlytill a voice beside him

said"Poor little Elfwhat has befallen you? These rough waves are

not fit playmates for so delicate a thing as you. Tell me your

sorrowand I will comfort you."

And Thistlelooking upsaw a white sea-bird at his sidewho tried

with friendly words to cheer him. So he told all his wanderings

and how he sought the Sea Spirits.

"Surelyif bee and blossom do their part to help youbirds should

aid you too" said the Sea-bird. "I will call my friendthe

Nautilusand he will bear you safely to the Coral Palace where the

Spirits dwell."

Sospreading his great wingshe flew awayand soon Thistle saw

a little boat come dancing over the wavesand wait beside the shore

for him.

In he sprang. Nautilus raised his little sail to the windand the

light boat glided swiftly over the blue sea. At last Thistle cried

"I see lovely arches far below; let me goit is the Spirits'home."

"Nayclose your eyesand trust to me. I will bear you safelydown"

said Nautilus.

So Thistle closed his eyesand listened to the murmur of the sea

as they sank slowly through the waves. The soft sound lulled him

to sleepand when he awoke the boat was goneand he stood among

the Water Spiritsin their strange and lovely home.

Lofty arches of snow-white coral bent above himand the walls

of brightly tinted shells were wreathed with lovely sea-flowersand

the sunlight shining on the waves cast silvery shadows on the ground

where sparkling stones glowed in the sand. A coolfresh wind swept

through the waving garlands of bright sea-mossand the distant murmur

of dashing waves came softly on the air. Soon troops of graceful

Spirits flitted byand when they found the wondering Elfthey

gathered round himbringing pearl-shells heaped with precious stones

and all the rarestrange gifts that lie beneath the sea. But Thistle

wished for none of theseand when his tale was toldthe kindly

Spirits pitied him; and little Pearl sighedas she told him of the

long and weary task he must performere he could win a crown of

snow-white pearls like those they wore. But Thistle had gained

strength and courage in his wanderingsand did not falter nowwhen

they led bim to a place among the coral-workersand told him he must

labor heretill the spreading branches reached the light and air

through the waves that danced above.

With a patient hope that he might yet be worthy of Lily-Bell

the Fairy left the lovely spirits and their pleasant hometo toil

among the coral-builderswhere all was strange and dim. Longlong

he worked; but still the waves rolled far above themand his task was

not yet done; and many bitter tears poor Thistle shedand sadly he

pined for air and sunlightthe voice of birdsand breath of flowers.

Oftenfolded in the magic garments which the Spirits gave himthat

he might pass unharmed among the fearful creatures dwelling there

he rose to the surface of the seaandgliding through the waves

gazed longingly upon the hillsnow looking blue and dim so far away

or watched the flocks of summer birdsjourneying to a warmer land;

and they brought sad memories of green old forestsand sunny fields

to the lonely little Fairy floating on the greatwild sea.

Day after day went byand slowly Thistle's task drew towards an end.

Busily toiled the coral-workersbut more busily toiled he; insect

and Spirit daily wondered more and moreat the industry and patience

of the silent little Elfwho had a friendly word for allthough

he never joined them in their sport.

Higher and higher grew the coral-boughsand lighter grew the Fairy's

heartwhile thoughts of dear Lily-Bell cheered him onas day by day

he steadily toiled; and when at length the sun shone on his work

and it was donehe stayed but to take the garland he had wonand

to thank the good Spirits for their love and care. Then up through

the coldblue waves he swiftly glidedandshaking the bright drops

from his wingssoared singing up to the sunny sky.

 

On through the fragrant air went Thistlelooking with glad face

upon the fairfresh earth belowwhere flowers looked smiling up

and green trees bowed their graceful heads as if to welcome him. Soon

the forest where Lily-Bell lay sleeping rose before himand as he

passed along the cooldim wood-pathsnever had they seemed so fair.

But when he came where his little friend had sleptit was no longer

the darksilent spot where he last saw her. Garlands hung from every

treeand the fairest flowers filled the air with their sweet breath.

Bird's gay voices echoed far and wideand the little brook went

singing bybeneath the arching ferns that bent above it; green

leaves rustled in the summer windand the air was full of music.

But the fairest sight was Lily-Bellas she lay on the couch of

velvet moss that Fairy hands had spread. The golden flower lay

beside herand the glittering robe was folded round her little form.

The warmest sunlight fell upon herand the softest breezes lifted

her shining hair.

Happy tears fell fastas Thistle folded his arms around her

crying"O Lily-Belldear Lily-Bellawake! I have been true to you

and now my task is done."

Thenwith a smileLily-Bell awokeand looked with wondering eyes

upon the beauty that had risen round her.

"Dear Thistlewhat mean these fair thingsand why are we in this

lovely place?"

"ListenLily-Bell" said the Brownie Kingas he appeared besideher.

And then he told all that Thistle had done to show his love for her;

how he had wandered far and wide to seek the Fairy giftsand toiled

long and hard to win them; how he had been lovingtrueand tender

when most lonely and forsaken.

"Birdbeeand blossom have forgiven himand none is more loved

and trusted now by allthan the once cruel Thistle" said the King

as he bent down to the happy Elfwho bowed low before him.

"You have learned the beauty of a gentlekindly heartdear Thistle;

and you are now worthy to become the friend of her for whom you have

done so much. Place the crown upon her headfor she is Queen of all

the Forest Fairies now."

And as the crown shone on the head that Lily-Bell bent down on

Thistle's breastthe forest seemed alive with little formswho

sprang from flower and leafand gathered round herbringing gifts

for their new Queen.

"If I am Queenthen you are Kingdear Thistle" said the Fairy.

"Take the crownand I will have a wreath of flowers. You have toiled

and suffered for my sakeand you alone should rule over these little

Elves whose love you have won."

"Keep your crownLily-Bellfor yonder come the Spirits with their

gifts to Thistle" said the Brownie. Andas he pointed with his

wandout from among the mossy roots of an old tree came trooping

the Earth Spiritstheir flower-bells ringing softly as they came

and their jewelled garments glittering in the sun. On to where

Thistledown stood beneath the shadow of the flowerswith Lily-Bell

beside himwent the Spirits; and then forth sprang little Sparkle

waving a golden flowerwhose silvery music filled the air. "Dear

Thistle" said the shining Spirit"what you toiled so faithfully

to win for anotherlet us offer now as a token of our love for you."

As she ceaseddown through the air came floating bands of lovely

Air Spiritsbringing a shining robeand they too told their love

for the gentle Fairy who had dwelt with them.

Then softly on the breeze came distant musicgrowing ever nearer

till over the rippling waves came the singing Water Spiritsin their

boats of many-colored shells; and as they placed their glittering

crown on Thistle's headloud rang the flowersand joyously sang

the birdswhile all the Forest Fairies criedwith silvery voices

"Lily-Bell and Thistledown! Long live our King and Queen!"

"Have you a tale for us toodear Violet-Eye?" said the Queenas

Zephyr ceased. The little Elf thus named looked from among the

flower-leaves where she satand with a smile replied"As I was

weaving garlands in the fieldI heard a primrose tell this tale

to her friend Golden-Rod."

 

 

LITTLE BUD.

 

IN a great foresthigh up among the green boughslived Bird

Brown-Breastand his bright-eyed little mate. They were now very

happy; their home was donethe four blue eggs lay in the soft nest

and the little wife sat still and patient on themwhile the husband

sangand told her charming talesand brought her sweet berries

and little worms.

Things went smoothly ontill one day she found in the nest a little

white eggwith a golden band about it.

"My friend" cried she"come and see! Where can this fine egghave

come from? My four are hereand this also; what think you of it?"

The husband shook his head gravelyand said"Be not alarmedmy

love; it is doubtless some good Fairy who has given us thisand we

shall find some gift within; do not let us touch itbut do you sit

carefully upon itand we shall see in time what has been sent us."

So they said nothing about itand soon their home had four little

chirping children; and then the white egg openedandbehold

a little maiden lay singing within. Then how amazed were they

and how they welcomed heras she lay warm beneath the mother's wing

and how the young birds did love her.

Great joy was in the forestand proud were the parents of their

familyand still more of the little one who had come to them;

while all the neighbors flocked into see Dame Brown-Breast's

little child. And the tiny maiden talked to themand sang so

merrilythat they could have listened for ever. Soon she was

the joy of the whole forestdancing from tree to treemaking

every nest her homeand none were ever so welcome as little Bud;

and so they lived right merrily in the green old forest.

The father now had much to do to supply his family with foodand

choice morsels did he bring little Bud. The wild fruits were her

foodthe fresh dew in the flower-cups her drinkwhile the green

leaves served her for little robes; and thus she found garments in

the flowers of the fieldand a happy home with Mother Brown-Breast;

and all in the woodfrom the stately trees to the little mosses

in the turfwere friends to the merry child.

And each day she taught the young birds sweet songsand as their gay

music rang through the old forestthe sterndark pines ceased their

solemn wavingthat they might hear the soft sounds stealing through

the dim wood-pathsand mortal children came to listensaying softly

"Hear the flowers singand touch them notfor the Fairies arehere."

Then came a band of sad little Elves to Budpraying that they might

hear the sweet music; and when she took them by the handand spoke

gently to themthey wept and said sadlywhen she asked them whence

they came--

"We dwelt once in Fairy-Landand O how happy were we then! But alas!

we were not worthy of so fair a homeand were sent forth into the

cold world. Look at our robesthey are like the withered leaves;

our wings are dimour crowns are goneand we lead sadlonely lives

in this dark forest. Let us stay with you; your gay music sounds

like Fairy songsand you have such a friendly way with youand speak

so gently to us. It is good to be near one so lovely and so kind; and

you can tell us how we may again become fair and innocent. Say we may

stay with youkind little maiden."

And Bud said"Yes" and they stayed; but her kind little heart

was grieved that they wept so sadlyand all she could say could not

make them happy; till at last she said--

"Do not weepand I will go to Queen Dew-Dropand beseech her

to let you come back. I will tell her that you are repentant

and will do anything to gain her love again; that you are sadand

long to be forgiven. This will I sayand moreand trust she will

grant my prayer."

"She will not say no to youdear Bud" said the poor littleFairies;

"she will love you as we doand if we can but come again to our lost

homewe cannot give you thanks enough. GoBudand if there be

power in Fairy giftsyou shall be as happy as our hearts' best love

can make you."

The tidings of Bud's departure flew through the forestand all her

friends came to say farewellas with the morning sun she would go;

and each brought some little giftfor the land of Fairies was

far awayand she must journey long.

"Nayyou shall not go on your feetmy child" said Mother

Brown-Breast; "your friend Golden-Wing shall carry you. Call him

hitherthat I may seat you rightlyfor if you should fall off

my heart would break."

Then up came Golden-Wingand Bud was safely seated on the cushion

of violet-leaves; and it was really charming to see her merry little

facepeeping from under the broad brim of her cow-slip hatas

her butterfly steed stood waving his bright wings in the sunlight.

Then came the bee with his yellow honey-bagswhich he begged she

would takeand the little brown spider that lived under the great

leaves brought a veil for her hatand besought her to wear it

lest the sun should shine too brightly; while the ant came bringing a

tiny strawberrylest she should miss her favorite fruit. The mother

gave her good adviceand the papa stood with his head on one side

and his round eyes twinkling with delightto think that his

little Bud was going to Fairy-Land.

Then they all sang gayly togethertill she passed out of sight

over the hillsand they saw her no more.

 

And now Bud left the old forest far behind her. Golden-Wing

bore her swiftly alongand she looked down on the green mountains

and the peasant's cottagesthat stood among overshadowing trees;

and the earth looked brightwith its broadblue rivers winding

through soft meadowsthe singing birdsand flowerswho kept their

bright eyes ever on the sky.

And she sang gayly as they floated in the clear airwhile her friend

kept time with his waving wingsand ever as they went along all grew

fairer; and thus they came to Fairy-Land.

As Bud passed through the gatesshe no longer wondered that the

exiled Fairies wept and sorrowed for the lovely home they had lost.

Bright clouds floated in the sunny skycasting a rainbow light on

the Fairy palaces belowwhere the Elves were dancing; while the

lowsweet voices of the singing flowers sounded softly through the

fragrant airand mingled with the music of the rippling wavesas

they flowed on beneath the blossoming vines that drooped above them.

All was bright and beautiful; but kind little Bud would not linger

for the forms of the weeping Fairies were before her; and

though the blossoms nodded gayly on their stems to welcome her

and the soft winds kissed her cheekshe would not staybut on

to the Flower Palace she wentinto a pleasant hall whose walls

were formed of crimson rosesamid whose leaves sat little Elves

making sweet music on their harps. When they saw Budthey gathered

round herand led her through the flower-wreathed arches to a group

of the most beautiful Fairieswho were gathered about a stately lily

in whose fragrant cup sat one whose purple robe and glittering crown

told she was their Queen.

Bud knelt before herandwhile tears streamed down her little face

she told her errandand pleaded earnestly that the exiled Fairies

might be forgivenand not be left to pine far from their friends and

kindred. And as she prayedmany wept with her; and when she ceased

and waited for her answermany knelt beside herpraying forgiveness

for the unhappy Elves.

With tearful eyesQueen Dew-Drop replied--

"Little maidenyour prayer has softened my heart. They shall not be

left sorrowing and alonenor shall you go back without a kindly word

to cheer and comfort them. We will pardon their faultand when they

can bring hither a perfect Fairy crownrobeand wandthey shall be

again received as children of their loving Queen. The task is hard

for none but the best and purest can form the Fairy garments; yet with

patience they may yet restore their robes to their former brightness.

Farewellgood little maiden; come with themfor but for you they

would have dwelt for ever without the walls of Fairy-Land."

"Good speed to youand farewell" cried they allaswith loving

messages to their poor friendsthey bore her to the gates.

 

Day after day toiled little Budcheering the Fairieswho

angry and disappointedwould not listen to her gentle words

but turned away and sat alone weeping. They grieved her kind heart

with many cruel words; but patiently she bore with themand when

they told her they could never perform so hard a taskand must dwell

for ever in the dark forestshe answered gentlythat the snow-white

lily must be plantedand watered with repentant tearsbefore the

robe of innocence could be won; that the sun of love must shine

in their heartsbefore the light could return to their dim crowns

and deeds of kindness must be performedere the power would come

again to their now useless wands.

Then they planted the lilies; but they soon drooped and diedand

no light came to their crowns. They did no gentle deedsbut cared

only for themselves; and when they found their labor was in vain

they tried no longerbut sat weeping. Budwith ceaseless toil and

patient caretended the lilieswhich bloomed brightlythe crowns

grew brightand in her hands the wands had power over birds and

blossomsfor she was striving to give happiness to others

forgetful of herself. And the idle Fairieswith thankful wordstook

the garments from herand then with Bud went forth to Fairy-Land

and stood with beating hearts before the gates; where crowds of Fairy

friends came forth to welcome them.

But when Queen Dew-Drop touched them with her wandas they passed in

the light faded from their crownstheir robes became like withered

leavesand their wands were powerless.

Amid the tears of all the Fairiesthe Queen led them to the gates

and said--

"Farewell! It is not in my power to aid you; innocence and love are

not within your heartsand were it not for this untiring little

maidenwho has toiled while you have weptyou never would have

entered your lost home. Go and strive againfor till all is once

more fair and pureI cannot call you mine."

"Farewell!" sang the weeping Fairiesas the gates closed on their

outcast friends; whohumbled and broken-heartedgathered around Bud;

and shewith cheering wordsguided them back to the forest.

 

Time passed onand the Fairies had done nothing to gain their

lovely home again. They wept no longerbut watched little Bud

as she daily tended the flowersrestoring thelr strength and beauty

or with gentle words flew from nest to nestteaching the little birds

to live happily together; and wherever she went blessings felland

loving hearts were filled with gratitude.

Thenone by onethe Elves secretly did some little work of kindness

and found a quiet joy come back to repay them. Flowers looked

lovingly up as they passedbirds sang to cheer them when sad thoughts

made them weep. And soon little Bud found out their gentle deeds

and her friendly words gave them new strength. So day after day

they followed herand like a band of guardian spirits they flew

far and widecarrying with them joy and peace.

And not only birds and flowers blessed thembut human beings also;

for with tender hands they guided little children from dangerand

kept their young hearts free from evil thoughts; they whispered

soothing words to the sickand brought sweet odors and fair flowers

to their lonely rooms. They sent lovely visions to the old and blind

to make their hearts young and bright with happy thoughts.

But most tenderly did they watch over the poor and sorrowing

and many a poor mother blessed the unseen hands that laid food

before her hungry little onesand folded warm garments round

their naked limbs. Many a poor man wondered at the fair flowers

that sprang up in his little garden-plotcheering him with their

bright formsand making his dreary home fair with their loveliness

and looked at his once barren fieldwhere now waved the golden corn

turning its broad leaues to the warm sunand promising a store of

golden ears to give him food; while the care-worn face grew bright

and the troubled heart filled with gratitude towards the invisible

spirits who had brought him such joy.

Thus time passed onand though the exiled Fairies longed often for

their homestillknowing they did not deserve itthey toiled on

hoping one day to see the friends they had lost; while the joy of

their own hearts made their life full of happiness.

One day came little Bud to themsaying--

"Listendear friends. I have a hard task to offer you. It is a

great sacrifice for you lightloving Fairies to dwell through the long

winter in the darkcold earthwatching over the flowerrootsto keep

them free from the little grubs and worms that seek to harm them.

But in the sunny Spring when they bloom againtheir love and

gratitude will give you happy homes among their bright leaves.

"It is a wearisome taskand I can give you no reward for all your

tender carebut the blessings of the gentle flowers you will have

saved from death. Gladly would I aid you; but my winged friends are

preparing for their journey to warmer landsand I must help them

teach their little ones to flyand see them safely on their way.

Thenthrough the wintermust I seek the dwellings of the poor

and sufferingcomfort the sick and lonelyand give hope and courage

to those who in their poverty are led astray. These things must I do;

but when the flowers bloom again I will be with youto welcome back

our friends from over the sea."

Thenwith tearsthe Fairies answered"Ahgood little Budyou have

taken the hardest task yourselfand who will repay you for all your

deeds of tenderness and mercy in the great world? Should evil befall

youour hearts would break. We will labor trustingly in the earth

and thoughts of you shall cheer us on; for without you we had been

worthless beingsand never known the joy that kindly actions bring.

Yesdear Budwe will gladly toil among the rootsthat the fair

flowers may wear their gayest robes to welcome you.

Then deep in the earth the Fairies dweltand no frost or snow

could harm the blossoms they tended. Every little seed was laid

in the soft earthwateredand watched. Tender roots were folded

in withered leavesthat no chilling drops might reach them; and

safely dreamed the flowerstill summer winds should call them forth;

while lighter grew each Fairy heartas every gentle deed was

tenderly performed.

At length the snow was goneand they heard little voices calling them

to come up; but patiently they workedtill seed and root were green

and strong. Thenwith eager feetthey hastened to the earth above

whereover hill and valleybright flowers and budding trees smiled

in the warm sunlightblossoms bent lovingly before themand rang

their colored bellstill the fragrant air was full of music; while

the stately trees waved their great arms above themand scattered

soft leaves at their feet.

Then came the merry birdsmaking the wood alive with their gay

voicescalling to one anotheras they flew among the vines

building their little homes. Long waited the Elvesand at last

she came with Father Brown-Breast. Happy days passed; and

summer flowers were in their fullest beautywhen Bud bade the Fairies

come with her.

 

Mounted on bright-winged butterfliesthey flew over forest and

meadowtill with joyful eyes they saw the flower-crowned walls

of Fairy-Land.

Before the gates they stoodand soon troops of loving Elves

came forth to meet them. And on through the sunny gardens they went

into the Lily Hallwhereamong the golden stamens of a graceful

flowersat the Queen; while on the broadgreen leaves around it

stood the brighteyed little maids of honor.

Thenamid the deep silencelittle Budleading the Fairies to the

thronesaid--

"Dear QueenI here bring back your subjectswiser for their sorrow

better for their hard trial; and now might any Queen be proud of them

and bow to learn from them that giving joy and peace to others

brings it fourfold to usbearing a double happiness in the blessings

to those we help. Through the dreary monthswhen they might have

dwelt among fair Southern flowersbeneath a smiling skythey toiled

in the dark and silent earthfilling the hearts of the gentle Flower

Spirits with grateful loveseeking no reward but the knowledge of

their own good deedsand the joy they always bring. This they have

done unmurmuringly and alone; and nowfar and wideflower blessings

fall upon themand the summer winds bear the glad tidings unto those

who droop in sorrowand new joy and strength it bringsas they look

longingly for the friends whose gentle care hath brought such

happiness to their fair kindred.

"Are they not worthy of your lovedear Queen? Have they not won

their lovely home? Say they are pardonedand you have gained

the love of hearts pure as the snow-white robes now folded over them."

As Bud ceasedshe touched the wondering Fairies with her wand

and the dark faded garments fell away; and beneaththe robes

of lily-leaves glittered pure and spotless in the sun-light.

Thenwhile happy tears fellQueen Dew-Drop placed the bright crowns

on the bowed heads of the kneeling Fairiesand laid before them

the wands their own good deeds had rendered powerful.

They turned to thank little Bud for all her patient love

but she was gone; and high abovein the clear airthey saw

the little form journeying back to the quiet forest.

She needed no reward but the joy she had given. The Fairy hearts

were pure againand her work was done; yet all Fairy-Land had learned

a lesson from gentle little Bud.

 

"Nowlittle Sunbeamwhat have you to tell us?" said the Queen

looking down on a bright-eyed Elfwho sat half hidden in the deep

moss at her feet.

"I toolike Star-Twinklehave nothing but a song to offer"

replied the Fairy; and thenwhile the nightingale's sweet voice

mingled with her ownshe sang--

 

 

CLOVER-BLOSSOM.

 

IN a quietpleasant meadow

Beneath a summer sky

Where green old trees their branches waved

And winds went singing by;

Where a little brook went rippling

So musically low

And passing clouds cast shadows

On the waving grass below;

Where lowsweet notes of brooding birds

Stole out on the fragrant air

And golden sunlight shone undimmed

On al1 most fresh and fair;--

There bloomed a lovely sisterhood

Of happy little flowers

Together in this pleasant home

Through quiet summer hours.

No rude hand came to gather them

No chilling winds to blight;

Warm sunbeams smiled on them by day

And soft dews fell at night.

So herealong the brook-side

Beneath the green old trees

The flowers dwelt among their friends

The sunbeams and the breeze.

One morningas the flowers awoke

Fragrantand freshand fair

A little worm came creeping by

And begged a shelter there.

"Ah! pity and love me" sighed the worm

"I am lonelypoorand weak;

A little spot for a resting-plaee

Dear flowersis all I seek.

I am not fairand have dwelt unloved

By butterflybirdand bee.

They little knew that in this dark form

Lay the beauty they yet may see.

Then let me lie in the deep green moss

And weave my little tomb

And sleep my longunbroken sleep

Till Spring's first flowers come.

Then will I come in a fairer dress

And your gentle care repay

By the grateful love of the humble worm;

Kind flowersO let me stay!"

But the wild rose showed her little thorns

While her soft face glowed with pride;

The violet hid beneath the drooping ferns

And the daisy turned aside.

Little Houstonia seornfully laughed

As she danced on her slender stem;

While the cowslip bent to the rippling waves

And whispered the tale to them.

A blue-eyed grass looked down on the worm

As it silently turned away

And cried"Thou wilt harm our delicate leaves

And therefore thou canst not stay."

Then a sweetsoft voicecalled out from far

"Come hitherpoor wormto me;

The sun lies warm in this quiet spot

And I'11 share my home with thee."

The wondering flowers looked up to see

Who had offered the worm a home:

'T was a clover-blossomwhose fluttering leaves

Seemed beckoning him to come;

It dwelt in a sunny little nook

Where cool winds rustled by

And murmuring bees and butterflies came

On the flower's breast to lie.

Down through the leaves the sunlight stole

And seemed to linger there

As if it loved to brighten the home

Of one so sweet and fair.

Its rosy face smiled kindly down

As the friendless worm drew near;

And its low voicesoftly whisperingsaid

"Poor thingthou art welcome here;

Close at my sidein the soft green moss

Thou wilt find a quiet bed

Where thou canst softly sleep till Spring

With my leaves above thee spread.

I pity and love theefriendless worm

Though thou art not graceful or fair;

For many a darkunlovely form

Hath a kind heart dwelling there;

No more o'er the green and pleasant earth

Lonely and poorshalt thou roam

For a loving friend hast thou found in me

And rest in my little home."

Thendeep in its quiet mossy bed

Sheltered from sun and shower

The grateful worm spun its winter tomb

In the shadow of the flower.

And Clover guarded well its rest

Till Autumn's leaves were sere

Till all her sister flowers were gone

And her winter sleep drew near.

Then her withered leaves were softly spread

O'er the sleeping worm below

Ere the faithful little flower lay

Beneath the winter snow.

Spring came againand the flowers rose

From their quiet winter graves

And gayly danced on their slender stems

And sang with the rippling waves.

Softly the warm winds kissed their cheeks;

Brightly the sunbeams fell

Asone by onethey came again

In their summer homes to dwell.

And little Clover bloomed once more

Rosyand sweetand fair

And patiently watched by the mossy bed

For the worm still slumbered there.

Then her sister flowers scornfully cried

As they waved in the summer air

"The ugly worm was friendless and poor;

Little Cloverwhy shouldst thou care?

Then watch no morenor dwell alone

Away from thy sister flowers;

Comedance and feastand spend with us

These pleasant summer hours.

We pity theefoolish little flower

To trust what the false worm said;

He will not come in a fairer dress

For he lies in the green moss dead."

But little Clover still watched on

Alone in her sunny home;

She did not doubt the poor worm's truth

And trusted he would come.

At last the small cell opened wide

And a glittering butterfly

From out the mosson golden wings

Soared up to the sunny sky.

Then the wondering flowers cried aloud

"Cloverthy watch was vain;

He only sought a shelter here

And never will come again."

And the unkind flowers danced for joy

When they saw him thus depart;

For the love of a beautiful butterfly

Is dear to a flower's heart.

They feared he would stay in Clover's home

And her tender care repay;

So they danced for joywhen at last he rose

And silently flew away.

Then little Clover bowed her head

While her soft tears fell like dew;

For her gentle heart was grievedto find

That her sisters' words were true

And the insect she had watched so long

When helplesspoorand lone

Thankless for all her faithful care

On his golden wings had flown.

But as she droopedin silent grief

She heard little Daisy cry

"O sisterslook! I see him now

Afar in the sunny sky;

He is floating back from Cloud-Land now

Borne by the fragrant air.

Spread wide your leavesthat he may choose

The flower he deems most fair."

Then the wild rose glowed with a deeper blush

As she proudly waved on her stem;

The Cowslip bent to the clear blue waves

And made her mirror of them.

Little Houstonia merrily danced

And spread her white leaves wide;

While Daisy whispered her joy and hope

As she stood by her gay friends' side.

Violet peeped from the tall green ferns

And lifted her soft blue eye

To watch the glittering formthat shone

Afar in the summer sky.

They thought no more of the ugly worm

Who once had wakened their scorn;

But looked and longed for the butterfly now

As the soft wind bore him on.

Nearer and nearer the bright form came

And fairer the blossoms grew;

Each welcomed himin her sweetest tones;

Each offered her honey and dew.

But in vain did they beckonand smileand call

And wider their leaves unclose;

The glittering form still floated on

By VioletDaisyand Rose.

Lightly it flew to the pleasant home

Of the flower most truly fair

On Clover's breast he softly lit

And folded his bright wings there.

"Dear flower" the butterfly whispered low

"Long hast thou waited for me;

Now I am comeand my grateful love

Shall brighten thy home for thee;

Thou hast loved and cared for mewhen alone

Hast watched o'er me long and well;

And now will I strive to show the thanks

The poor worm could not tell.

Sunbeam and breeze shall come to thee

And the coolest dews that fall;

Whate'er a flower can wish is thine

For thou art worthy all.

And the home thou shared with the friendless worm

The butterfly's home shall be;

And thou shalt finddearfaithful flower

A loving friend in me."

Thenthrough the longbright summer hours

Through sunshine and through shower

Together in their happy home

Dwelt butterfly and flower.

 

"Ahthat is very lovely" cried the Elvesgathering round

little Sunbeam as she ceasedto place a garland in her hair and

praise her song.

"Now" said the Queen"call hither Moon-light andSummer-Wind

for they have seen many pleasant things in their long wanderings

and will gladly tell us them."

"Most joyfully will we do our bestdear Queen" said the Elves

as they folded their wings beside her.

"NowSummer-Wind" said Moonlight"till your turn comesdoyou sit

here and fan me while I tell this tale of

 

 

LITTLE ANNIE'S DREAM;

OR

THE FAIRY FLOWER.

IN a large and pleasant garden sat little Annie all aloneand

she seemed very sadfor drops that were not dew fell fast upon the

flowers beside herwho looked wonderingly upand bent still nearer

as if they longed to cheer and comfort her. The warm wind lifted up

her shining hair and softly kissed her cheekwhile the sunbeams

looking most kindly in her facemade little rainbows in her tears

and lingered lovingly about her. But Annie paid no heed to sun

or windor flower; still the bright tears felland she forgot

all but her sorrow.

"Little Annietell me why you weep" said a low voice in her ear;

andlooking upthe child beheld a little figure standing on a

vine-leaf at her side; a lovely face smiled on herfrom amid

bright locks of hairand shining wings were folded on a white and

glittering robethat fluttered in the wind.

"Who are youlovely little thing?" cried Anniesmiling through

her tears.

"I am a Fairylittle childand am come to help and comfort you; now

tell me why you weepand let me be your friend" replied the spirit

as she smiled more kindly still on Annie's wondering face.

"And are you reallythena little Elfsuch as I read of

in my fairy books? Do you ride on butterfliessleep in flower-cups

and live among the clouds?"

"Yesall these things I doand many stranger stillthat all

your fairy books can never tell; but nowdear Annie" said the Fairy

bending nearer"tell me why I found no sunshine on your face; why are

these great drops shining on the flowersand why do you sit alone

when BIRD and BEE are calling you to play?"

"Ahyou will not love me any more if I should tell you all"

said Anniewhile the tears began to fall again; "I am not happy

for I am not good; how shall I learn to be a patientgentle child?

good little Fairywill you teach me how?"

"Gladly will I aid youAnnieand if you truly wish to be

a happy childyou first must learn to conquer many passions that

you cherish nowand make your heart a home for gentle feelings and

happy thoughts; the task is hardbut I will give this fairy flower

to help and counsel you. Bend hitherthat I may place it in your

breast; no hand can take it hencetill I unsay the spell that

holds it there."

As thus she spokethe Elf took from her bosom a graceful flower

whose snow-white leaves shone with a strangesoft light. "This is

a fairy flower" said the Elf"invisible to every eye save yours;

now listen while I tell its powerAnnie. When your heart is filled

with loving thoughtswhen some kindly deed has been donesome duty

well performedthen from the flower there will arise the sweetest

softest fragranceto reward and gladden you. But when an unkind word

is on your lipswhen a selfishangry feeling rises in your heart

or an unkindcruel deed is to be donethen will you hear the soft

low chime of the flower-bell; listen to its warninglet the word

remain unspokenthe deed undoneand in the quiet joy of your own

heartand the magic perfume of your bosom floweryou will find

a sweet reward."

"O kind and generous Fairyhow can I ever thank you for this lovely

gift!" cried Annie. "I will be trueand listen to my little bell

whenever it may ring. But shall I never see YOU more? Ah! if you

would only stay with meI should indeed be good."

"I cannot stay nowlittle Annie" said the Elf"but when

another Spring comes roundI shall be here againto see how well

the fairy gift has done its work. And now farewelldear child;

be faithful to yourselfand the magic flower will never fade."

Then the gentle Fairy folded her little arms around Annie's neck

laid a soft kiss on her cheekandspreading wide her shining wings

flew singing up among the white clouds floating in the sky.

And little Annie sat among her flowersand watched with wondering joy

the fairy blossom shining on her breast.

The pleasant days of Spring and Summer passed awayand in

little Annie's garden Autumn flowers were blooming everywhere

with each day's sun and dew growing still more beautiful and bright;

but the fairy flowerthat should have been the loveliest of all

hung pale and drooping on little Annie's bosom; its fragrance seemed

quite goneand the clearlow music of its warning chime rang often

in her ear.

When first the Fairy placed it thereshe had been pleased with

her new giftand for a while obeyed the fairy belland often tried

to win some fragrance from the flowerby kind and pleasant words

and actions; thenas the Fairy saidshe found a sweet reward in

the strangesoft perfume of the magic blossomas it shone upon her

breast; but selfish thoughts would come to tempt hershe would yield

and unkind words fell from her lips; and then the flower drooped pale

and scentlessthe fairy bell rang mournfullyAnnie would forget

her better resolutionsand be again a selfishwilful little child.

At last she tried no longerbut grew angry with the faithful flower

and would have torn it from her breast; but the fairy spell still

held it fastand all her angry words but made it ring a louder

sadder peal. Then she paid no heed to the silvery music sounding

in her earand each day grew still more unhappydiscontented

and unkind; sowhen the Autumn days came roundshe was no better

for the gentle Fairy's giftand longed for Springthat it might

be returned; for now the constant echo of the mournful music made her

very sad.

One sunny morningwhen the freshcool Winds were blowing

and not a cloud was in the skylittle Annie walked among her flowers

looking carefully into eachhoping thus to find the Fairywho alone

could take the magic blossom from her breast. But she lifted up their

drooping leavespeeped into their dewy cups in vain; no little Elf

lay hidden thereand she turned sadly from them allsaying"I will

go out into the fields and woodsand seek her there. I will not

listen to this tiresome music morenor wear this withered flower

longer." So out into the fields she wentwhere the long grass

rustled as she passedand timid birds looked at her from their nests;

where lovely wild-flowers nodded in the windand opened wide their

fragrant leavesto welcome in the murmuring beeswhile butterflies

like winged flowersdanced and glittered in the sun.

Little Annie lookedsearchedand asked them all if any one

could tell her of the Fairy whom she sought; but the birds looked

wonderingly at her with their softbright eyesand still sang on;

the flowers nodded wisely on their stemsbut did not speak

while butterfly and bee buzzed and fluttered awayone far too busy

the other too idleto stay and tell her what she asked.

Then she went through broad fields of yellow grainthat waved

around her like a golden forest; here crickets chirpedgrasshoppers

leapedand busy ants workedbut they could not tell her what

she longed to know.

"Now will I go among the hills" said Annie"she may bethere."

So up and down the green hill-sides went her little feet; long she

searched and vainly she called; but still no Fairy came. Then

by the river-side she wentand asked the gay dragon-fliesand the

cool white liliesif the Fairy had been there; but the blue waves

rippled on the white sand at her feetand no voice answered her.

Then into the forest little Annie went; and as she passed along the

dimcool pathsthe wood-flowers smiled up in her facegay squirrels

peeped at heras they swung amid the vinesand doves cooed softly

as she wandered by; but none could answer her. Soweary with

her long and useless searchshe sat amid the fernsand feasted

on the rosy strawberries that grew beside herwatching meanwhile

the crimson evening clouds that glowed around the setting sun.

The night-wind rustled through the boughsrocking the flowers

to sleep; the wild birds sang their evening hymnsand all within

the wood grew calm and still; paler and paler grew the purple light

lower and lower drooped little Annie's headthe tall ferns bent

to shield her from the dewthe whispering pines sang a soft lullaby;

and when the Autumn moon rose upher silver light shone on the child

wherepillowed on green mossshe lay asleep amid the wood-flowers

in the dim old forest.

And all night long beside her stood the Fairy she had soughtand

by elfin spell and charm sent to the sleeping child this dream.

Little Annie dreamed she sat in her own gardenas she had often

sat beforewith angry feelings in her heartand unkind words upon

her lips. The magic flower was ringing its soft warningbut she paid

no heed to anythingsave her own troubled thoughts; thus she sat

when suddenly a low voice whispered in her ear--

"Little Annielook and see the evil things that you are cherishing;

I will clothe in fitting shapes the thoughts and feelings that now

dwell within your heartand you shall see how great their power

becomesunless you banish them for ever."

Then Annie sawwith fear and wonderthat the angry words she uttered

changed to darkunlovely formseach showing plainly from what fault

or passion it had sprung. Some of the shapes had scowling faces and

brightfiery eyes; these were the spirits of Anger. Otherswith

sullenanxious looksseemed gathering up all they could reachand

Annie saw that the more they gainedthe less they seemed to have;

and these she knew were shapes of Selfishness. Spirits of Pride were

therewho folded their shadowy garments round themand turned

scornfully away from all the rest. These and many others

little Annie sawwhich had come from her own heartand taken form

before her eyes.

When first she saw themthey were small and weak; but as she looked

they seemed to grow and gather strengthand each gained a

strange power over her. She could not drive them from her sight

and they grew ever strongerdarkerand more unlovely to her eyes.

They seemed to cast black shadows over all aroundto dim the

sunshineblight the flowersand drive away all bright and lovely

things; while rising slowly round her Annie saw a highdark wal]

that seemed to shut out everything she loved; she dared not move

or speakbutwith a strange fear at her heartsat watching the dim

shapes that hovered round her.

Higher and higher rose the shadowy wallslowly the flowers near her

diedlingeringly the sunlight faded; but at last they both were gone

and left her all alone behind the gloomy wall. Then the spirits

gathered round herwhispering strange things in her earbidding her

obeyfor by her own will she had yielded up her heart to be their

homeand she was now their slave. Then she could hear no morebut

sinking down among the withered flowerswept sad and bitter tears

for her lost liberty and joy; then through the gloom there shone

a faintsoft lightand on her breast she saw her fairy flower

upon whose snow-white leaves her tears lay shining.

Clearer and brighter grew the radiant lighttill the evil spirits

turned away to the dark shadow of the walland left the child alone.

The light and perfume of the flower seemed to bring new strength

to Annieand she rose upsayingas she bent to kiss the blossom

on her breast"Dear flowerhelp and guide me nowand I will listen

to your voiceand cheerfully obey my faithful fairy bell."

Then in her dream she felt how hard the spirits tried to tempt

and trouble herand howbut for her flowerthey would have led

her backand made all dark and dreary as before. Long and hard

she struggledand tears often fell; but after each new trial

brighter shone her magic flowerand sweeter grew its breathwhile

the spirits lost still more their power to tempt her. Meanwhile

greenflowering vines crept up the highdark walland hid its

roughness from her sight; and over these she watched most tenderly

for soonwherever green leaves and flowers bloomedthe wall beneath

grew weakand fell apart. Thus little Annie worked and hoped

till one by one the evil spirits fled awayand in their place

came shining formswith gentle eyes and smiling lipswho gathered

round her with such loving wordsand brought such strength and joy

to Annie's heartthat nothing evil dared to enter in; while slowly

sank the gloomy wallandover wreaths of fragrant flowersshe

passed out into the pleasant world againthe fairy gift no longer

pale and droopingbut now shining like a star upon her breast.

Then the low voice spoke again in Annie's sleeping earsaying

"The darkunlovely passions you have looked upon are in your heart;

watch well while they are few and weaklest they should darken your

whole lifeand shut out love and happiness for ever. Remember well

the lesson of the dreamdear childand let the shining spirits

make your heart their home."

And with that voice sounding in her earlittle Annie woke to find

it was a dream; but like other dreams it did not pass away; and as she

sat alonebathed in the rosy morning lightand watched the forest

waken into lifeshe thought of the strange forms she had seenand

looking down upon the flower on her breastshe silently resolved to

striveas she had striven in her dreamto bring back light and

beauty to its faded leavesby being what the Fairy hoped to render

hera patientgentle little child. And as the thought came to her

mindthe flower raised its drooping headandlooking up into the

earnest little face bent over itseemed by its fragrant breath to

answer Annie's silent thoughtand strengthen her for what might come.

Meanwhile the forest was astirbirds sang their gay good-morrows

from tree to treewhile leaf and flower turned to greet the sun

who rose up smiling on the world; and so beneath the forest boughs

and through the dewy fields went little Annie homebetter and wiser

for her dream.

 

Autumn flowers were dead and goneyellow leaves lay rustling on the

groundbleak winds went whistling through the naked treesand cold

white Winter snow fell softly down; yet nowwhen all without looked

dark and drearyon little Annie's breast the fairy flower bloomed

more beautiful than ever. The memory of her forest dream had never

passed awayand through trial and temptation she had been trueand

kept her resolution still unbroken; seldom now did the warning bell

sound in her earand seldom did the flower's fragrance cease to float

about heror the fairy light to brighten all whereon it fell.

Sothrough the longcold Winterlittle Annie dwelt like a sunbeam

in her homeeach day growing richer in the love of othersand

happier in herself; often was she temptedbutremembering her dream

she listened only to the music of the fairy belland the unkind

thought or feeling fled awaythe smiling spirits of gentleness

and love nestled in her heartand all was bright again.

So better and happier grew the childfairer and sweeter grew the

flowertill Spring came smiling over the earthand woke the flowers

set free the streamsand welcomed back the birds; then daily did

the happy child sit among her flowerslonging for the gentle Elf

to come againthat she might tell her gratitude for all the magic

gift had done.

At lengthone dayas she sat singing in the sunny nook where

all her fairest flowers bloomedweary with gazing at the far-off sky

for the little form she hoped would comeshe bent to look with joyful

love upon her bosom flower; and as she lookedits folded leaves

spread wide apartandrising slowly from the deep white cup

appeared the smiling face of the lovely Elf whose coming she had

waited for so long.

"Dear Annielook for me no longer; I am here on your own breast

for you have learned to love my giftand it has done its work

most faithfully and well" the Fairy saidas she looked into the

happy child's bright faceand laid her little arms most tenderly

about her neck.

"And now have I brought another gift from Fairy-Landas a fit reward

for youdear child" she saidwhen Annie had told all her gratitude

and love; thentouching the child with her shining wandthe Fairy

bid her look and listen silently.

And suddenly the world seemed changed to Annie; for the air was filled

with strangesweet soundsand all around her floated lovely forms.

In every flower sat little smiling Elvessinging gayly as they rocked

amid the leaves. On every breezebrightairy spirits came floating

by; some fanned her cheek with their cool breathand waved her long

hair to and frowhile others rang the flower-bellsand made a

pleasant rustling among the leaves. In the fountainwhere the water

danced and sparkled in the sunastride of every drop she saw merry

little spiritswho plashed and floated in the clearcool wavesand

sang as gayly as the flowerson whom they scattered glittering dew.

The tall treesas their branches rustled in the windsang a low

dreamy songwhile the waving grass was filled with little voices

she had never heard before. Butterflies whispered lovely tales in

her earand birds sang cheerful songs in a sweet language she had

never understood before. Earth and air seemed filled with beauty

and with music she had never dreamed of until now.

"O tell me what it meansdear Fairy! is it another and a lovelier

dreamor is the earth in truth so beautiful as this?" she cried

looking with wondering joy upon the Elfwho lay upon the flower

in her breast.

"Yesit is truedear child" replied the Fairy"and few arethe

mortals to whom we give this lovely gift; what to you is now so full

of music and of lightto others is but a pleasant summer world;

they never know the language of butterfly or bird or flowerand they

are blind to aIl that I have given you the power to see. These fair

things are your friends and playmates nowand they will teach you

many pleasant lessonsand give you many happy hours; while the garden

where you once satweeping sad and bitter tearsis now brightened

by your own happinessfilled with loving friends by your own kindly

thoughts and feelings; and thus rendered a pleasant summer home

for the gentlehappy childwhose bosom flower will never fade.

And nowdear AnnieI must go; but every Springtimewith the

earliest flowerswill I come again to visit youand bring

some fairy gift. Guard well the magic flowerthat I may find all

fair and bright when next I come."

Thenwith a kind farewellthe gentle Fairy floated upward

through the sunny airsmiling down upon the childuntil she vanished

in the softwhite cloudsand little Annie stood alone in her

enchanted gardenwhere all was brightened with the radiant light

and fragrant with the perfume of her fairy flower.

 

When Moonlight ceasedSummer-Wind laid down her rose-leaf fanand

leaning back in her acorn cuptold this tale of

 

 

RIPPLETHE WATER-SPIRIT.

 

DOWN in the deep blue sea lived Ripplea happy little Water-Spirit;

all day long she danced beneath the coral archesmade garlands

of bright ocean flowersor floated on the great waves that sparkled

in the sunlight; but the pastime that she loved best was lying

in the many-colored shells upon the shorelistening to the low

murmuring music the waves had taught them long ago; and here

for hours the little Spirit lay watching the sea and skywhile

singing gayly to herself.

But when tempests roseshe hastened down below the stormy billows

to where all was calm and stilland with her sister Spirits waited

till it should be fair againlistening sadlymeanwhileto the cries

of those whom the wild waves wrecked and cast into the angry sea

and who soon came floating downpale and coldto the Spirits'

pleasant home; then they wept pitying tears above the lifeless forms

and laid them in quiet graveswhere flowers bloomedand jewels

sparkled in the sand.

This was Ripple's only griefand she often thought of those who

sorrowed for the friends they lovedwho now slept far down in the dim

and silent coral cavesand gladly would she have saved the lives

of those who lay around her; but the great ocean was far mightier than

all the tender-hearted Spirits dwelling in its bosom. Thus she could

only weep for themand lay them down to sleep where no cruel waves

could harm them more.

One daywhen a fearful storm raged far and wideand the Spirits saw

great billows rolling like heavy clouds above their headsand heard

the wild winds sounding far awaydown through the foaming waves

a little child came floating to their home; its eyes were closed as if

in sleepthe long hair fell like sea-weed round its palecold face

and the little hands still clasped the shells they had been gathering

on the beachwhen the great waves swept it into the troubled sea.

With tender tears the Spirits laid the little form to rest upon its

bed of flowersandsinging mournful songsas if to make its sleep

more calm and deepwatched long and lovingly above ittill the storm

had died awayand all was still again.

While Ripple sang above the little childthrough the distant roar

of winds and waves she heard a wildsorrowing voicethat seemed to

call for help. Long she listenedthinking it was but the echo of

their own plaintive songbut high above the music still sounded

the sadwailing cry. Thenstealing silently awayshe glided up

through foam and spraytillthrough the parting cloudsthe sunlight

shone upon her from the tranquil sky; andguided by the mournful

soundshe floated ontillclose before her on the beachshe saw

a woman stretching forth her armsand with a sadimploring voice

praying the restless sea to give her back the little child it had

so cruelly borne away. But the waves dashed foaming up among the

bare rocks at her feetmingling their cold spray with her tears

and gave no answer to her prayer.

When Ripple saw the mother's griefshe longed to comfort her;

sobending tenderly beside herwhere she knelt upon the shore

the little Spirit told her how her child lay softly sleepingfar down

in a lovely placewhere sorrowing tears were shedand gentle hands

laid garlands over him. But all in vain she whispered kindly words;

the weeping mother only cried--

"Dear Spiritcan you use no charm or spell to make the waves bring

back my childas full of life and strength as when they swept him

from my side? O give me back my little childor let me lie beside

him in the bosom of the cruel sea."

"Most gladly will I help you if I canthough I have little power

to use; then grieve no morefor I will search both earth and sea

to find some friend who can bring back all you have lost. Watch daily

on the shoreand if I do not come againthen you will know my search

has been in vain. Farewellpoor motheryou shall see your little

child againif Fairy power can win him back." And with these

cheering words Ripple sprang into the sea; whilesmiling through her

tearsthe woman watched the gentle Spirittill her bright crown

vanished in the waves.

When Ripple reached her homeshe hastened to the palace of the Queen

and told her of the little childthe sorrowing motherand the

promise she had made.

"Good little Ripple" said the Queenwhen she had told her all

"your promise never can be kept; there is no power below the sea

to work this charmand you can never reach the Fire-Spirits' home

to win from them a flame to warm the little body into life. I pity

the poor motherand would most gladly help her; but alas! I am a

Spirit like yourselfand cannot serve you as I long to do."

"Ahdear Queen! if you had seen her sorrowyou too would seek to

keep the promise I have made. I cannot let her watch for ME in

vaintill I have done my best: then tell me where the Fire-Spirits

dwelland I will ask of them the flame that shall give life to the

little child and such great happiness to the sadlonely mother:

tell me the pathand let me go."

"It is farfar awayhigh up above the sunwhere no Spirit ever

dared to venture yet" replied the Queen. "I cannot show the path

for it is through the air. Dear Rippledo not gofor you can

never reach that distant place: some harm most surely will befall;

and then how shall we livewithout our dearestgentlest Spirit?

Stay here with us in your own pleasant homeand think more of this

for I can never let you go."

But Ripple would not break the promise she had madeand besought

so earnestlyand with such pleading wordsthat the Queen at last

with sorrow gave consentand Ripple joyfully prepared to go. She

with her sister Spiritsbuilt up a tomb of delicatebright-colored

shellswherein the child might lietill she should come to wake him

into life; thenpraying them to watch most faithfully above it

she said farewelland floated bravely forthon her longunknown

journeyfar away.

"I will search the broad earth till I find a path up to the sun

or some kind friend who will carry me; foralas! I have no wings

and cannot glide through the blue air as through the sea" said Ripple

to herselfas she went dancing over the waveswhich bore her swiftly

onward towards a distant shore.

Long she journeyed through the pathless oceanwith no friends

to cheer hersave the white sea-birds who went sweeping byand

only stayed to dip their wide wings at her sideand then flew

silently away. Sometimes great ships sailed byand then with

longing eyes did the little Spirit gaze up at the faces that looked

down upon the sea; for often they were kind and pleasant onesand

she gladly would have called to them and asked them to be friends.

But they would never understand the strangesweet language that

she spokeor even see the lovely face that smiled at them above the

waves; her bluetransparent garments were but water to their eyes

and the pearl chains in her hair but foam and sparkling spray; so

hoping that the sea would be most gentle with themsilently she

floated on her wayand left them far behind.

At length green hills were seenand the waves gladly bore the little

Spirit ontillrippling gently over soft white sandthey left her

on the pleasant shore.

"Ahwhat a lovely place it is!" said Rippleas she passed through

sunny valleyswhere flowers began to bloomand young leaves rustled

on the trees.

"Why are you all so gaydear birds?" she askedas their cheerful

voices sounded far and near; "is there a festival over the earth

that all is so beautiful and bright?"

"Do you not know that Spring is coming? The warm winds whispered it

days agoand we are learning the sweetest songsto welcome her

when she shall come" sang the larksoaring away as the music gushed

from his little throat.

"And shall I see herVioletas she journeys over the earth?"asked

Ripple again.

"Yesyou will meet her soonfor the sunlight told me she was near;

tell her we long to see her againand are waiting to welcome her

back" said the blue flowerdancing for joy on her stemas she

nodded and smiled on the Spirit.

"I will ask Spring where the Fire-Spirits dwell; she travels over

the earth each yearand surely can show me the way" thought Ripple

as she went journeying on.

Soon she saw Spring come smiling over the earth; sunbeams and breezes

floated beforeand thenwith her white garments covered with

flowerswith wreaths in her hairand dew-drops and seeds falling

fast from her hands the beautiful season came singing by.

"Dear Springwill you listenand help a poor little Spirit

who seeks far and wide for the Fire-Spirits' home?" cried Ripple; and

then told why she was thereand begged her to tell what she sought.

"The Fire-Spirits' home is farfar awayand I cannot guide you

there; but Summer is coming behind me" said Spring"and she mayknow

better than I. But I will give you a breeze to help you on your way;

it will never tire nor failbut bear you easily over land and sea.

Farewelllittle Spirit! I would gladly do morebut voices are

calling me far and wideand I cannot stay."

"Many thankskind Spring!" cried Rippleas she floated away onthe

breeze; "give a kindly word to the mother who waits on the shoreand

tell her I have not forgotten my vowbut hope soon to see her again."

Then Spring flew on with her sunshine and flowersand Ripple went

swiftly over hill and valetill she came to the land where Summer

was dwelling. Here the sun shone warmly down on the early fruit

the winds blew freshly over fields of fragrant hayand rustled with

a pleasant sound among the green leaves in the forests; heavy dews

fell softly down at nightand longbright days brought strength

and beauty to the blossoming earth.

"Now I must seek for Summer" said Rippleas she sailed slowly

through the sunny sky.

"I am herewhat would you with melittle Spirit?" said a musical

voice in her ear; andfloating by her sideshe saw a graceful form

with green robes fluttering in the airwhose pleasant face looked

kindly on herfrom beneath a crown of golden sunbeams that cast

a warmbright glow on all beneath.

Then Ripple told her taleand asked where she should go; but

Summer answered--

"I can tell no more than my young sister Spring where you may find

the Spirits that you seek; but I toolike herwill give a gift to

aid you. Take this sunbeam from my crown; it will cheer and brighten

the most gloomy path through which you pass. Farewell! I shall carry

tidings of you to the watcher by the seaif in my journey round the

world I find her there."

And Summergiving her the sunbeampassed away over the distant

hillsleaving all green and bright behind her.

So Ripple journeyed on againtill the earth below her shone

with ye]low harvests waving in the sunand the air was filled

with cheerful voicesas the reapers sang among the fields or in

the pleasant vineyardswhere purple fruit hung gleaming through

the leaves; while the sky above was cloudlessand the changing

forest-trees shone like a many-colored garlandover hill and plain;

and herealong the ripening corn-fieldswith bright wreaths of

crimson leaves and golden wheat-ears in her hair and on her purple

mantlestately Autumn passedwith a happy smile on her calm face

as she went scattering generous gifts from her full arms.

But when the wandering Spirit came to herand asked for what she

soughtthis seasonlike the otherscould not tell her where to go;

sogiving her a yellow leafAutumn saidas she passed on--

"Ask Winterlittle Ripplewhen you come to his cold home; he knows

the Fire-Spirits wellfor when he comes they fly to the earth

to warm and comfort those dwelling there; and perhaps he can tell you

where they are. So take this gift of mineand when you meet his

chilly windsfold it about youand sit warm beneath its shelter

till you come to sunlight again. I will carry comfort to the

patient womanas my sisters have already doneand tell her you are

faithful still."

Then on went the never-tiring Breezeover foresthilland field

till the sky grew darkand bleak winds whistled by. Then Ripple

folded in the softwarm leaflooked sadly down on the earth

that seemed to lie so desolate and still beneath its shroud of snow

and thought how bitter cold the leaves and flowers must be; for the

little Water-Spirit did not know that Winter spread a soft white

covering above their bedsthat they might safely sleep below till

Spring should waken them again. So she went sorrowfully ontill

Winterriding on the strong North-Windcame rushing bywith

a sparkling ice-crown in his streaming hairwhile from beneath his

crimson cloakwhere glittering frost-work shone like silver threads

he scattered snow-flakes far and wide.

"What do you seek with mefair little Spiritthat you come

so bravely here amid my ice and snow? Do not fear me; I am warm

at heartthough rude and cold without" said Winterlooking kindly

on herwhile a bright smile shone like sunlight on his pleasant face

as it glowed and glistened in the frosty air.

When Ripple told him why she had comehe pointed upwardwhere the

sunlight dimly shone through the heavy cloudssaying--

"Far off therebeside the sunis the Fire-Spirits' home; and the

only path is upthrough cloud and mist. It is a longstrange path

for a lonely little Spirit to be going; the Fairies are wildwilful

thingsand in their play may harm and trouble you. Come back with

meand do not go this dangerous journey to the sky. I'll gladly

bear you home againif you will come."

But Ripple said"I cannot turn back nowwhen I am nearly there.

The Spirits surely will not harm mewhen I tell them why I am come;

and if I win the flameI shall be the happiest Spirit in the sea

for my promise will be keptand the poor mother happy once again.

So farewellWinter! Speak to her gentlyand tell her to hope still

for I shall surely come."

"Adieulittle Ripple! May good angels watch above you! Journey

bravely onand take this snow-flake that will never meltas MY

gift" Winter criedas the North-Wind bore him onleaving a cloud

of falling snow behind.

"Nowdear Breeze" said Ripple"fly straight upward throughthe air

until we reach the place we have so long been seeking; Sunbeam shall

go before to light the wayYellow-leaf shall shelter me from heat and

rainwhile Snow-flake shall lie here beside me till it comes of use.

So farewell to the pleasant earthuntil we come again. And now away

up to the sun!"

When Ripple first began her airy journeyall was dark and dreary;

heavy clouds lay piled like hills around herand a cold mist

filled the air but the Sunbeamlike a starlit up the waythe leaf

lay warmly round herand the tireless wind went swiftly on. Higher

and higher they floated upstill darker and darker grew the air

closer the damp mist gatheredwhile the black clouds rolled and

tossedlike great wavesto and fro.

 

"Ah!" sighed the weary little Spirit"shall I never see thelight

againor feel the warm winds on my cheek? It is a dreary way indeed

and but for the Seasons' gifts I should have perished long ago; but

the heavy clouds MUST pass away at lastand all be fair again.

So hasten ongood Breezeand bring me quickly to my journey's end."

Soon the cold vapors vanished from her pathand sunshine shone

upon her pleasantly; so she went gayly ontill she came up among

the starswhere many newstrange sights were to be seen. With

wondering eyes she looked upon the bright worlds that once seemed dim

and distantwhen she gazed upon them from the sea; but now they moved

around hersome shining with a softly radiant lightsome circled

with brightmany-colored ringswhile others burned with a red

angry glare. Ripple would have gladly stayed to watch them longer

for she fancied lowsweet voices called herand lovely faces

seemed to look upon her as she passed; but higher up stillnearer

to the sunshe saw a far-off lightthat glittered like a brilliant

crimson starand seemed to cast a rosy glow along the sky.

"The Fire-Spirits surely must be thereand I must stay no longer

here" said Ripple. So steadily she floated ontill straight

before her lay a broadbright paththat led up to a golden arch

beyond which she could see shapes flitting to and fro. As she drew

nearbrighter glowed the skyhotter and hotter grew the airtill

Ripple's leaf-cloak shrivelled upand could no longer shield her from

the heat; then she unfolded the white snow-flakeandgladly wrapping

the softcool mantle round herentered through the shining arch.

Through the red mist that floated all around hershe could see

high walls of changing lightwhere orangeblueand violet flames

went flickering to and fromaking graceful figures as they danced

and glowed; and underneath these rainbow archeslittle Spirits

glidedfar and nearwearing crowns of firebeneath which flashed

their wildbright eyes; and as they spokesparks dropped quickly

from their lipsand Ripple saw with wonderthrough their garments

of transparent lightthat in each Fairy's breast there burned a

steady flamethat never wavered or went out.

As thus she stoodthe Spirits gathered round herand their

hot breath would have scorched herbut she drew the snow-cloak

closer round hersaying--

"Take me to your Queenthat I may tell her why I am hereand ask

for what I seek."

Sothrough long halls of many-colored firethey led her to

a Spirit fairer than the restwhose crown of flames waved to and fro

like golden plumeswhileunderneath her violet robethe light

within her breast glowed bright and strong.

"This is our Queen" the Spirits saidbending low before her

as she turned her gleaming eyes upon the stranger they had brought.

Then Ripple told how she had wandered round the world in search

of themhow the Seasons had most kindly helped her onby giving

Sun-beamBreezeLeafand Flake; and howthrough many dangersshe

had come at last to ask of them the magic flame that could give life

to the little child again.

When she had told her talethe spirits whispered earnestly

among themselveswhile sparks fell thick and fast with every word;

at length the Fire-Queen said aloud--

"We cannot give the flame you askfor each of us must take a part

of it from our own breasts; and this we will not dofor the brighter

our bosom-fire burnsthe lovelier we are. So do not ask us for this

thing; but any other gift we will most gladly givefor we feel kindly

towards youand will serve you if we may."

But Ripple asked no other boonandweeping sadlybegged them

not to send her back without the gift she had come so far to gain.

"O dearwarm-hearted Spirits! give me each a little light from your

own breastsand surely they will glow the brighter for this kindly

deed; and I will thankfully repay it if I can." As thus she spoke

the Queenwho had spied out a chain of jewels Ripple wore upon her

neckreplied--

"If you will give me those brightsparkling stonesI will bestow on

you a part of my own flame; for we have no such lovely things to wear

about our necksand I desire much to have them. Will you give it me

for what I offerlittle Spirit?"

Joyfully Ripple gave her the chain; butas soon as it touched her

handthe jewels melted like snowand fell in bright drops to the

ground; at this the Queen's eyes flashedand the Spirits gathered

angrily about poor Ripplewho looked sadly at the broken chain

and thought in vain what she could giveto win the thing she longed

so earnestly for.

"I have many fairer gems than thesein my home below the sea;

and I will bring all I can gather far and wideif you will grant

my prayerand give me what I seek" she saidturning gently to

the fiery Spiritswho were hovering fiercely round her.

"You must bring us each a jewel that will never vanish from our hands

as these have done" they said"and we will each give of our fire;

and when the child is brought to lifeyou must bring hither all the

jewels you can gather from the depths of the seathat we may try them

here among the flames; but if they melt away like thesethen we shall

keep you prisonertill you give us back the light we lend. If you

consent to thisthen take our giftand journey home again; but

fail not to returnor we shall seek you out."

And Ripple said she would consentthough she knew not if the jewels

could be found; stillthinking of the promise she had madeshe

forgot all elseand told the Spirits what they asked most surely

should be done. So each one gave a little of the fire from their

breastsand placed the flame in a crystal vasethrough which

it shone and glittered like a star.

Thenbidding her remember all she had promised themthey led her

to the golden archand said farewell.

Sodown along the shining paththrough mist and cloudshe

travelled back; tillfar belowshe saw the broad blue sea she left

so long ago.

Gladly she plunged into the clearcool wavesand floated back

to her pleasant home; where the Spirits gathered joyfully about her

listening with tears and smilesas she told all her many wanderings

and showed the crystal vase that she had brought.

"Now come" said they"and finish the good work you have sobravely

carried on." So to the quiet tomb they wentwherelike a marble

imagecold and stillthe little child was lying. Then Ripple placed

the flame upon his breastand watched it gleam and sparkle there

while light came slowly back into the once dim eyesa rosy glow shone

over the pale faceand breath stole through the parted lips; still

brighter and warmer burned the magic fireuntil the child awoke

from his long sleepand looked in smiling wonder at the faces bending

over him.

Then Ripple sang for joyandwith her sister Spiritsrobed the

child in graceful garmentswoven of bright sea-weedwhile in

his shining hair they wreathed long garlands of their fairest flowers

and on his little arms hung chains of brilliant shells.

"Now come with usdear child" said Ripple; "we will bear yousafely

up into the sunlight and the pleasant air; for this is not your home

and yonderon the shorethere waits a loving friend for you."

So up they wentthrough foam and spraytill on the beachwhere

the fresh winds played among her falling hairand the waves broke

sparkling at her feetthe lonely mother still stoodgazing wistfully

across the sea. Suddenlyupon a great blue billow that came rolling

inshe saw the Water-Spirits smiling on her; and high aloftin their

white gleaming armsher child stretched forth his hands to welcome

her; while the little voice she so longed to hear again cried gayly--

"Seedear motherI am come; and look what lovely things the

gentle Spirits gavethat I might seem more beautiful to you."

Then gently the great wave brokeand rolled back to the sealeaving

Ripple on the shoreand the child clasped in his mother's arms.

"O faithful little Spirit! I would gladly give some precious gift

to show my gratitude for this kind deed; but I have nothing save

this chain of little pearls: they are the tears I shedand the sea

has changed them thusthat I might offer them to you" the happy

mother saidwhen her first joy was passedand Ripple turned to go.

"YesI will gladly wear your giftand look upon it as my fairest

ornament" the Water-Spirit said; and with the pearls upon her breast

she left the shorewhere the child was playing gayly to and fro

and the mother's glad smile shone upon hertill she sank beneath

the waves.

And now another task was to be done; her promise to the

Fire-Spirits must be kept. So far and wide she searched among

the caverns of the seaand gathered all the brightest jewels

shining there; and then upon her faithful Breeze once more went

journeying through the sky.

The Spirits gladly welcomed herand led her to the Queen

before whom she poured out the sparkling gems she had gathered

with such toil and care; but when the Spirits tried to form them

into crownsthey trickled from their hands like colored drops of dew

and Ripple saw with fear and sorrow how they melted one by one away

till none of all the many she had brought remained. Then the

Fire-Spirits looked upon her angrilyand when she begged them

to be mercifuland let her try once moresaying--

"Do not keep me prisoner here. I cannot breathe the flames that

give you lifeand but for this snow-mantle I too should melt away

and vanish like the jewels in your hands. O dear Spiritsgive me

some other taskbut let me go from this warm placewhere all is

strange and fearful to a Spirit of the sea."

They would not listen; and drew nearersayingwhile bright sparks

showered from their lips"We will not let you gofor you have

promised to be ours if the gems you brought proved worthless; so fling

away this cold white cloakand bathe with us in the fire fountains

and help us bring back to our bosom flames the light we gave you

for the child."

Then Ripple sank down on the burning floorand felt that her life

was nearly done; for she well knew the hot air of the fire-palace

would be death to her. The Spirits gathered roundand began to lift

her mantle off; but underneath they saw the pearl chainshining with

a clearsoft lightthat only glowed more brightly when they laid

their hands upon it.

"O give us this!" cried they; "it is far lovelier than all therest

and does not melt away like them; and see how brilliantly it glitters

in our hands. If we may but have thisall will be welland you

are once more free."

And Ripplesafe again beneath her snow flakegladly gave

the chain to them; and told them how the pearls they now placed

proudly on their breasts were formed of tearswhich but for them

might still be flowing. Then the Spirits smiled most kindly on her

and would have put their arms about herand have kissed her cheek

but she drew backtelling them that every touch of theirs was

like a wound to her.

"Thenif we may not tell our pleasure sowe will show it in a

different wayand give you a pleasant journey home. Come out with

us" the Spirits said"and see the bright path we have made foryou."

So they led her to the lofty gateand herefrom sky to earth

a lovely rainbow arched its radiant colors in the sun.

"This is indeed a pleasant road" said Ripple. "Thank you

friendly Spiritsfor your care; and now farewell. I would gladly

stay yet longerbut we cannot dwell togetherand I am longing sadly

for my own cool home. Now SunbeamBreezeLeafand Flakefly back

to the Seasons whence you cameand tell them thatthanks to their

kind giftsRipple's work at last is done."

Then down along the shining pathway spread before herthe happy

little Spirit glided to the sea.

 

"Thanksdear Summer-Wind" said the Queen; "we will rememberthe

lessons you have each taught usand when next we meet in Fern Dale

you shall tell us more. And nowdear Tripcall them from the lake

for the moon is sinking fastand we must hasten home."

The Elves gathered about their Queenand while the rustling leaves

were stilland the flowers' sweet voices mingled with their own

they sang this

 

 

FAIRY SONG.

 

The moonlight fades from flower and tree

And the stars dim one by one;

The tale is toldthe song is sung

And the Fairy feast is done.

The night-wind rocks the sleeping flowers

And sings to themsoft and low.

The early birds erelong will wake:

'T is time for the Elves to go.

O'er the sleeping earth we silently pass

Unseen by mortal eye

And send sweet dreamsas we lightly float

Through the quiet moonlit sky;--

For the stars' soft eyes alone may see

And the flowers alone may know

The feasts we holdthe tales we tell:

So 't is time for the Elves to go.

From birdand blossomand bee

We learn the lessons they teach;

And seekby kindly deedsto win

A loving friend in each.

And though unseen on earth we dwell

Sweet voices whisper low

And gentle hearts most joyously greet

The Elves where'er they go.

When next me meet in the Fairy dell

May the silver moon's soft light

Shine then on faces gay as now

And Elfin hearts as light.

Now spread each wingfor the eastern sky

With sunlight soon will glow.

The morning star shall light us home:

Farewell! for the Elves must go.

 

As the music ceasedwith a softrustling sound the Elves

spread their shining wingsand flew silently over the sleeping earth;

the flowers closed their bright eyesthe little winds were still

for the feast was overand the Fairy lessons ended.