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T. SAMB AND SONS, LONDON AND ZiNBU3 l
fde Rfoyal Subenile Librarg.
T. NELSON \AND SONS, PATERNUSTE1 ROW:
I The Legend of the Lily, ... .. ... 7
IL The Fairy Sunbeam, ... ... ... 26 O
IIT. Ida's Experiment, ... ... ... ... 87 /
IV. The Golden Root, and the Little Brown Seed, 84 P
V. The White Violet, ... ... ... 18 1
VI. Story of Master Snip, ... ... ... 182/
VII. The Singing Bird from ralry-land. ... 217 '
VIII. The Enchanted Mirror, and the Invisible Vail. 143 k
IX. Conclusion, .. .. .. ... 2d"
THE HOLIDAYS AT WOODLEIGII.
SUMMER is here, with song and sunshine,
with fragrance and flowers!
The snow has long since melted from the
hillside, and the ice from the fettered stream;
the tall branches are no more garlanded with
glittering icicles, and very many weeks have
elapsed since Jack Frost traced his last droll
etching on the window-pane in token of fare-
The crocus and daisy were the first that
ventured to peep out in the early spring;
and then as the soft breeze breathed gently.
and the sun smiled more warmly over the
benumbed ground, other blossoms timidly
0 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
opened their leaves, tiny blades sprang up,
and soon the spirit of life and beauty moved
abroad upon the earth, calling new loveliness
into being ever as she passed.
Summer is here! There are sweet flowers
in the meadow, and sunshine in the glade:
there is perfume in the morning breeze, and
music everywhere. The merry brook tumbles
noisily over the stones, or glides gently amid
the long grass out into the broad open sun-
shine, singing ever on its way of freedom and
delight. Soft summer winds murmur amid
green leaves, and blithe birds build their nests
among waving branches, where before the
bleak northern blast whistled, and the long
Summer is here again; and now the mid-
summer holidays-have come, and once more
Aunt Elsie's beloved little people are gathered
about her at Woodleigh. How pleasant the
dear old house looks, nestling down among the
green hills, and almost covered with flowering
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
vines, and branches of tall trees that seem to
twine their arms lovingly above the low roof!
The fine sloping hills, down which the sleds
ran so famously over the crisp winter snow,
are now clothed in rich green verdure, and gay
with daisies and bright wild-flowers, while the
large skating-pond, freed from its icy bondage,
and fringed with water-lilies, lies like a silver
mirror, faithfully reflecting the graceful wil-
lows which bend admiringly over its surface.
Fragrant Madeira vines and brilliant honey-
suckles clamber up the porch, andcluster above
the door; while someambitiousyoungbranches
stretch themselves along the wall, holding fast
to the rough stone with their delicate tendrils,
and forcing their way between the chinks o.
the half closed shutters, to get a peep within;
seeming ever, as they sway in the soft air, to
nod in approbation of what they see. An in-
quisitive sunbeam has already crept through a
small crevice, and now lies broken into frag-
ments upon the floor of the old parlour.
10 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
The dear, cozy, old parlour, that seemed ;n
the cold winter evenings so exactly suited to the
season, and whose very atmosphere breathed
of warmth and comfort, appears now in that
shaded light the most delightful of all cool
and pleasant places in the sultry heat of noon.
Thin white muslin draperies shade the win-
dows, the sofas and chairs are covered with
delicate chintz, bright with richly painted
flowers, and cool matting is spread upon the
floor. The shining fire-irons are crossed de-
murely upon the painted hearth; while an
immense china jar, filled with fragrant mag-
nolias, now occupies the place of the huge
Christmas log, and fills the room with its de-
licious breathing. There are flowers too upon
the mantle-shelf, and on the table an exqui-
site moss basket filled with freshly gathered
roses. No wonder the sunbeam and the honey-
suckle love to peep into the shaded quiet
All within is very still, and but for the
Borne upon the wings o the Summer air, a shout of merry Ima
ter rings eut ome little wood jus ora the pond, and thee, under
the shadowof the gr*t foret rees, s Aunt Side, surroded by a
laughing group, who hat meatod her in state on a route beneh.-
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
newly gathered flowers, one might think the
place deserted; but borne upon the wings of
the summer air, a shout of merry laughter
rings out from a little wood just across the
pond; and there, under the shade of the great
forest-trees, with books and baskets scattered
around, is the dear Aunt Elsie, surrounded
by a laughing group, who have seated her in
state upon a rustic bench, made of the strong
gnarled branches of a wild grape-vine, and
with joyous unchecked mirth, hail her as
Queen of the May, while the kind old lady
looks lovingly upon the group of bright young
faces which cluster like living flowers about
What a pleasant scene it is out beneath
those grand old trees, and how beautiful in
the freshness of youth is the merry little band
There is Harry Wilder, a tall boy of four-
teen who has appointed himself guardian of
the party in all their rambles; and Grace and
12 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
Clara, his gentle cousins; and merry romping
little Kate Sutherland, who is always the first
to scramble up the steep hills, or spring across
a brook, never heeding the stepping-stones,
but bounding over like a young fawn, her
bright eyes dancing with joy, and her long
curls flying back upon the wind, as she laugh-
ingly challenges the rest to follow.
Then, there is her more thoughtful sister
Mabel, and her brothers, Edward and Robert,
who are always ready for a race or a ramble,
enjoying every pastime with unwearied de-
The orphan Frank Field is there beside,
with his darling sister Lilie, who seems
less childlike than her years, and clings so
fondly to her brother, as though she felt how
utterly alone they are in the great world,
and how they must be all and all to each
Then there are the two blooming sisters
Marian and Ellen Lee, with their lively
THE LEGEND OF THE LTLY.
cousin Fred, and student brother Arthur,
who is Frank Field's chosen companion.
And last of all, though far from least in the
hearts of all who know her, is Aunt Elsie's
niece, sweet Edith Morton, who is at the
same time playfellow and instructress of the
little group, and shares with Aunt Elsie her-
self their entire and perfect love.
And now the bright sunshine smiled in upon
them as they gathered about the dear Aunt
Elsie, and little Kate Sutherland exclaimed,
I think Aunt Elsie ought to be crowned,
since we have chosen her Queen of the
"Yes, so she sLould," cried Fred Lee; "and
here come Grace and Edith with their aprons
full of flowers: come, young ladies, all employ
your graceful fingers to form a wreath, while
Arthur and I compose a speech worthy of this
"Not quite so fast, Master Fred," said
Grace, as he approached her; "we have
14 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY
gathered these flowers to fill Aunt Elsie's
mantel-vases, and perhaps she would rather
enjoy their freshness for several days, than see
them woven into a wreath that will so soon
But we can easily gather more," replied
Kate, who now drew near with several of the
other children: "may I take yours, Edith?"
"Hear first what Aunt Elsie says," answered
Edith: she may perhaps decline the crown."
"Oh, no!" cried several voices: "you will
like to be queen, will you not, Aunt Elsie?"
You forget, my dear children," repliedthe
old lady, "that both the season of May and
my youth are long since past; and I have no
desire at this late period to assume a crown
even of flowers, which would but ill-become
my withered face. I think even your young
imaginations would fail to transform me into
the queen of love and beauty."
But you are queen of love, because we all
love you," said little Lilie, fondly.
THE LEGEND OF TIIJ7 LILY.
And queen of beauty, because we are'your
devoted slaves," added Fred, with a mock
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown!"
exclaimed Harry Wilder, in his droll way!
" for my part, as a friend of republican liberty,
I heartily approve Aunt Elsie's resolution."
Theboysapplauded, and insistedthat Harry
should proceed with his speech; but some of
the smaller children seemed disappointed, until
Edith whispered that it would scarcely seem
respectful to persevere in their design against
Aunt Elsies wish.
'If Aunt Elsie refuses the crown, she will
not reject uur offerings," said Clara, present-
ing one of the baskets, filled with flowers, as
"I accept the gift with pleasure," replied
Aunt Elsie, joining in the spirit of the chil-
dren, "and command you, as dutiful subjects,
to arrange these flowers into tasteful bouquets
before they wither."
16 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
THis was no difficult command to fulfil, and
the little girls immediately seated themselves
at Aunt Elsie's feet, with the basket of flowers
beside them; while the boys busiedthemselves
selecting the most beautiful, and some of them
cut long slender blades of the new grass to tie
up the bouquets. It was pleasant to observe
the kind and unselfish spirit that prompted
each to desire the other's group to equal her
own: there was no wrangling for the freshest
or most beautiful flowers; but many excla-
mations of delight burst forth as the merry
group proceeded with their graceful employ-
ment, and Aunt Elsie's admiration was con-
stantly challenged for some flower of exceed-
This is my favourite," cried Clara Wilder,
holding up a stately white lily as she spoke;
" it has all the fragrance of a rose without its
thorns; and what can be more beautiful than
these pure white leaves?"
"A lily always reminds me of some pale,
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
graceful, high-born lady," replied her cousin
"One who wraps herself in a white Cash-
mere, and shivers at every wind that blows,',
"I have often watched the lilies floating
on the water, and wondered they were not
"You forget that their roots are firm and
unshaken beneath," said Edith, gently.
"Like faith," added Grace, "of which
they seem to be emblems."
I used to think the flowers were fairies,"
said Marian Lee, "and remember watching
in the moon-light, hoping to see them as-
sume their own shapes."
"Oh, Aunt Elsie," interrupted little Lilie,
dropping the flowers from her lap as she
eagerly sprang up, "oh, Aunt Elsie, can't
you tell us a fairy story about a lily? I am
sure you can find one in the old portfolio."
Aunt Elsie smiled. "I suspect you think
18 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
the old portfolio is inexhaustible," she said;
"however, I will try to tell you a short story
this time without its aid: it is not a fairy tale,
but merely relates the history of the lily,
which Clara so much admires."
"You are so good," whispered Lilie, de-
lightedly kissing Aunt Elsie's cheek. "And
now," she added, turning to her companions,
" you must all be still and listen, because
Aunt Elsie's stories are so true."
"I cannot answer for the truth of this one,
Lilie," rejoined the old lady, laughing, while
the children eagerly expressed their desire
to hear it; "and I doubt whether you will
like it so very much after all: it may, how-
ever, please some among you: it is very short.
I will relate it as well as I can, and call it
iie rigtR nof tit til4.
There were once two stars of equal magni-
tude, who for countless years had traversed
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
together the boundless realms of space, and
every morn and night sang, as with one voice,
their hymn of praise and thanksgiving.
Far beneath them the earth revolved with-
in its orbit, and seemed to the stars, as they
gazed down upon it, to be a planet of great
and wondrous beauty.
Long had they watched the changing sea-
sons, and marked the varied and beautiful
forms which nature takes, until one star
longed to leave his sphere, and dwell upon
the earth. His twin companion saw, with
unspeakable grief, this restless desire; for
well she knew that if he left his native home,
he could return to it no more.
Tenderly she reminded him of the ages they
had passed in sweet communion together, of
her own utter loneliness should he leave her,
and the fearful doom that awaited him if he
fell from his own sphere: his light would then
be quenched in unutterable darkness, and
his glory departed forever.
20 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
The discontented star listened silently: he
knew that his purity would be sullied, and his
doom irrevocable if he left his native home;
but the desire increased within him; his
bright brow paled, and his harp no more
sounded the hymn of adoration and praise,
while he still gazed yearningly upon the
At length there was sadness in the spheres,
for the star had fallen, and his place could
ue filled no more forever!
Sorrowfully the deserted star had watched
the downward course of her lost companion.
She saw him fall to earth, and there become
a dark, unsightly thing; the light of his
glory quenched in the deep waters where
he had fallen.
Sad and lonely she came each night, and
gazed steadfastly Cown upon the stream
wherein her lost nate was buried. Her
tender, earnest beam, fell gently upon the
water, and penetrate even into the depths
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
where the fallen one now rested in utter
darkness and desolation.
Then when the gentle forgiving ray fell
upon the bosom of the lost, unhappy star,
he slowly lifted his bowed head, and turned
his dimmed brow upward in repentant hu-
And still the lonely star shone steadfastly
down, until, cheered by her encouraging ten-
derness, and guided by her faithful light, the
fallen one raised his head above the surface
of the stream, while his pale brow turned
ever, in repentant humble love, to the mate
he had forsaken; but his chains were bound
securely beneath the wave, and he could
return to his native sphere no more.
Still the loving star shone prayerfully upon
him, and his brow, from which the glory had
departed forever, became white and radiant,
in perfect purity; and, though he might no
more join in the song of the spheres, yet the
hymn of praise and thanksgiving (ame up in
22 THE LEGEND OF THE !LIY.
a gush of rich fragrance from his heart; and
the loving star sang for joy.
Men passing, said, "Beholdabeautiful lily."
But the stars whispered together, "Behold
our brother, the fallen star!"
And ever, as the gentle one smiled tenderly
upon him, there mingled with the star-flower's
prayerful breathing, a tone of never-dying
"Thou art lost to me forever: I can come
to thee no more!"
Then the light of the faithful star paled in
sorrow; and lo, as the fallen one turned his
pale brow upward, the place of his watchful
mate was vacant, and a sweet voice breathed
close at his side,-
I am with thee forever: Forget me not!"
And there was sadness in the spheres, for
the faithful star had fallen; but joy upon the
earth, for a new flower was born.
Aunt Elsie paused, and little Frank Field
THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
lifting his head from his hand, said thought-
fully, "The flowers have always appeared to
me to be the stars of earth."
"I shall love lilies better than ever now,"
said Clara, softly, "for they seem to teach, by
their purity, the power of repentance."
"Aided by trustful, unvarying love," added
Edith, "it was the beam of the faithful star,
that led the fallen one to lift his head above
the waters in which he was buried."
"And afterwards she came down to earth,
and dwelt with him always," said Grace.
"The Forget-me-not may well be called the
emblem of constancy and truth."
"Who ever thought of a little blue Forget-
me-not being a star!" cried Kate, merrily:
"why, I have gathered handfuls of them,
hundreds of times, and never suspected them
to be more than mere wild-flowers; but I
shall be a little afraid of them hereafter, if
this is one of Aunt Elsie's true stories, Lilie."
"No," replied the child, with a little sigh
24 THE LEGEND OF THE LILY.
and a disappointed air, "no, I don't believe
this one is true; it is not at all like a fairy
story, which I like so much better."
"Never mind, Lilie; there are plenty of
fairy tales in store," said Aunt Elsie, laying
her hand soothingly on the little girl's head,
"and when we come out into the woods to-
morrow, I will have one in readiness for you:
will that do?"
"Oh, yes, thank you," replied the child;
"but I thought the story of the Lily very
pretty indeed, only I understand about the
fairies so much easier, you know."
"Lilie is scarcely able to soar up to the
stars yet," said Harry, pleasantly, "but she
makes a darling little fairy herself; so I think
we shall keep her on earth a while longer."
The bouquets were now all arranged, and
after being submitted to Aunt Elsie's inspec-
tion, and duly admired, they were carefully
put in one of the baskets and carried to the
house. The children then placed them in
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
vases filled with fresh water, and for several
days their beauty and fragrance lent an added
charm to the pleasant, dear old parlour.
LITTLE LILIE awoke the next morning full
of hope and expectation. The party were to
spend al day in the woods; and Dinah had
prepared a nice cold collation for them : Aunt
Elsie too had promised to tell them a fairy
story, and altogether Lilie was quite sure this
day was to be one of perfect enjoyment.
Her dreams had been very pleasant: visions
of fairies and fairy-land floated through her
mind, and seemed to prepare her for the bright
reality to come. So, as soon as she awoke, she
jumped up hastily, and ran to draw back the
window curtain, that the glad morning sun-
shine might beam into the room.
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
But poor little Lillie was doomed to
disappointment: a heavy fog rested on the
hills, almost concealing them from sight, the
air was close and heavy, the sky covered in
clouds, and the raindrops fell steadily and
Lilie looked in vain for a single spot of
blue among the leaden-coloured clouds; she
tried to think it might be only a shower; but
the rain fell with a dull determined sound, as
though it had fully made up its mind to
drench the earth that day; and the little
girl was forced to abandon all hope of the
projected party, while, with a very sad and
discontented face, she dressed herself, and
joined her companions down stairs.
Well, we must forego our out-door
ramble to-day," cried Robert Sutherland, as
Lilie entered the room, "and strive to amuse
ourselves within: here comes Lilie, looking
as sorry and disappointed as possible."
"I am sure I look sorry and disappointed
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
too," cried his sister Kate, for I don't like
to be cooped up in the house in summer one
bit; but I mean to keep myself busy, and
then the day won't appear so long."
That is true philosophy, Kate," answered
Harry Wilder: I believe those who are con-
stantly employed have no time to be dis-
contented. This will be a fine day, boys, to
finish our bows and arrows."
"That it will," cried the boys.
I suppose," continued Fred, that
Arthur has some book in store to pore over :
he is never at a loss: and Frank seems quite
content to sit at the window and watch the
I am listening to the sound of the rain-
drops on the leaves," replied Frank: it is
just like the chiming of tiny bells."
I suspect you are more than half a poet,
Franky," said Edith, smilingly, as she drew
near him. Do you ever think there might
be fairies hid beneath the leaves ?"
28 THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
No," replied the boy, with an answering
smile, "but I like to think the flowers feel
grateful for this summer rain, and so send
up a voice of thanksgiving."
"I wonder which they love the best, sun-
shine or rain," said Ellen, musingly.
If I was a flower, I should certainly pre-
fer sunshine," cried merry Kate Sutherland ;
" and I think the flowers are of my opinion:
see how they droop their heads beneath the
weight of the drops."
"So they do in the heat of noonday," re-
plied her sister Mabel. "If you were a flower,
Kate, I think you would find both rain and
sunshine necessary to your existence."
Certainly," added Harry Wilder: "rain
to the flowers is like disappointments to us :
you see how we drop now, but to-morrow
we will be fresher and brighter than ever."
"Well spoken, my young moralists," said
Aunt Elsie, who had entered unperceived:
"clouds and sunshine are doubtless as need-
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
fill to us as to the flowers; but no matter
how louring the clouds appear without, let
us take care always to keep sunshine within.
I think I see one little cloud here that
threatens to drop rain; but I hope it will
only be like a summer shower, and end in
brightness," she added, turning towards Lilie,
who had been standing idly tapping the
window-pane during all this discussion, and
whose clouded brow and melancholy face
certainly threatened a shower of tears.
Why, Lilie," cried Kate, "don't look so
very sorrowful, it will certainly be clear to-
morrow; and besides, it does not follow that
fairy stories must be read in the woods: does
it Aunt Elsie ? shall we not hear one to-day ?"
"We will see about it after breakfast,"
replied the old lady, smiling kindly at Kate's
good-natured efforts to soothe little Lilie's
disappointment. "I dou't not that even the
fairies will feel content to be housed during
such a drenching rain as this."
30 THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
The sound of the bell now summoned all
to the breakfast-table, where a plentiful
supply of delicious sweet milk and fine white
rolls awaited them, to which they did such
ample justice, as proved their disappointment
did not affect their appetites. After the
meal, Edith, assisted by the elder girls, wash-
ed and put aside the breakfast things; and
then after cne more anxious look at the clouds
(which showed no disposition to disperse),
they fully resigned themselves to the ne-
cessity of spending the entire day within-
doors, and arranged their employment ac-
And after all, this rainy day was quite
opportune, for there were many unfinished
tasks to be accomplished. Work-boxes were
produced, drawing pencils sharpened; and
the little party seemed determined to improve
their time profitably. The cloud vanished
from little Lilie's brow, as Kate and herself
became intent upon the welfare of their
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
respective dolls, who were now going through
all the various scenes of being dressed for
parties like young ladies, and put in bed like
bad children; paying visits, and catching
colds, with a rapidity that would have proved
fatal to any other than such wonderful con-
stitutions as these dollies possessed.
Aunt Elsie was busied about household
affairs, and the morning was far spent when
she joined the children. They were in-
tently engaged in their respective employ-
ments, and it was not until after dinner that
they reminded Aunt Elsie of the promised
The kind old lady immediately complied
with their request, by selecting a manuscript,
which she called
90t faiq tnuham.
Once upon a time, so very long ago that
neither you nor I could count the years
32 THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
which have elapsed since then, there lived a
miserable woman, with a little daughter.
The woman lived in a mean garret, and
was so poor that both she and her little one
were oftentimes obliged to go without bread:
so by this you may know that she had not
much to give away.
Nevertheless, late one stormy night, long
after she had taken her shivering child in
her arms and laid down to rest, as best she
might, on her miserable pallet of straw,
she heard a timid knocking at the door.
Groping her way in the dark, she hastened
to lift the latch; and, as she opened the
door, saw, by the faint light that came
from without, a figure standing upon the
"I am dripping wet and very weary,"
said the stranger, in a low voice: "will you
grant me shelter for the night ?"
That will I, and welcome," replied the
good woman; "but it is a sorry place to
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
come to for comfort, where there is no fire
As she spoke, the stranger entered, and
the poor woman hastened to put together
the few dying embers on the hearth, and
threw upon them her sole remaining armful
of brushwood, which she speedily coaxed
into a blaze.
The stranger threw off his wet garment,
and drew a low settle to the fire, while the
good woman produced her last roll, and
offered it with words of welcome.
Her stranger visitor took the proffered
bread; and it seemed to her, as he sat there,
that the fire gave out unusual warmth, and a
light, as of sunshine, filled the miserable room.
She looked with eager interest upon her
guest. He was very young, with a fair
smiling face, and long bright hair, flowing
upon his shoulders. His apparent youth
and delicate frame, moved still more the
compassion of the poor woman, who besought
TIE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
him to rest upon the straw pallet, which a e
would cheerfully resign to him.
But the strange guest insisted that she
should lie down again beside her child, while
he dried the wet from his garments; and
the mother at length complied.
She laid awake for a very long time,
wondering that the fire of light brush did
not die out: but the bright flame went
crackling up the chimney throughout all the
night; and, as the pleasant warmth spread
about the miserable garret, drying the damp-
ness from the walls, a sense of comfort crept
over her, and she fell into a deep sleep.
She dreamed in her sleep that the stranger
stood beside her pallet, clothed in bright-
coloured garments, and his long fair hair
floating to his waist; he looked kindly on
her, and said-
"You have unknowingly shown charity
to one who has the power to serve you.
This vase contains a sunbeam from Fairy-
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
land; and so long as you keep it safely, you
need not despair of the future."
He held up a small crystal vase as he
spoke, which seemed to be filled with a
living light; and as its bright ray fell upon
the poor woman's face, she awoke with a
start, and looked about her
It was morning: the grey light of dawn
came peering in through the open crevices
and the broken window, but seemed quenched
in that brighter glow which still filled the
chamber. The fire yet burned upon the
hearth, but the stranger had disappeared.
The woman arose, bewildered, and there,
upon the mantel-shelf, stood a tiny crystal
vase, which emitted a light like a sunbeam.
Then the poor woman knew she had not
been dreaming, but that all which had passed
was reality. She put the vase carefully
away, and from this time all things prospered
with her. She no longer abandoned herself
to despair, as she had formerly done, but
36 THlE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
relying upon the stranger's promise, went
to work with renewed spirit. She believed
the fairy sunbeam would eventually bring
her some great good; and she already felt
its influence in her constant and hopeful
She was enabled to support herself and
child in comparative comfort, working early
and late, while the fairy sunbeam constantly
sent forth a cheering light, making even
her desolate garret an abode of hope and
But the good woman at length fell sick,
and died, leaving her little daughter Serena
quite alone in the wide world, with no other
possession than the crystal vase which held
the fairy sunbeam.
Serena had lived all her life within the
influence of the sunbeam, and she knew how
much it had contributed to the comfort of
their home. She believed firmly what her
mother told her of the wonderful good it
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
would bring at last, and promised with
streaming eyes, to treasure it with the
After her mother was buried, the little
girl felt very desolate and sorrowful. She
had nobody now to love or care for her, and
although still very young, was forced to pro-
vide for herself. The neighbours were very
poor, and unable to assist her; but they ad-
vised her to go up to the great city, where
she would doubtless find employment, as
many other children did.
Serena could do no better than take their
advice; so, carefully concealing the precious
vase in her bosom, and being supplied with
a little basket of provision by the kind neigh-
bours who pitied her forlorn condition, she
turned from her native place to travel on
foot to the great city.
It was a bright morning when she set
forth on her journey, but she had a long
distance to walk, and she knew that at least
.38 THE FAInY SUNBEAM.
one night must be spent in the woods, or by
This thought did not, however, discourage
Serena, for the fairy sunbeam seemed to warm
her heart, while its bright ray mingled with
the sunshine that fell upon her path.
The little girl had walked many a weary
mile, and night was drawing on apace, when
she saw a boy seated by the wayside, crying
Moved by his distress, Serena approached
him, and asked the cause of his grief.
I am travelling to the great city," replied
the boy, "but have lost myself in these
woods. I am hungry and tired, and afraid
to stay here all night alone."
Is that all ?" returned the little girl en-
couragingly, why, I am no better off my-
self: I, too, am going to the great city. I
am tired, and must stay in the woods all
night. But what then? we will rest to-
night, and start again in the morning. See,
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
I have bread! let us share it together. I
am so glad to find a companion! the way will
seem pleasant and short if we travel hand in
The boy looked up in surprise as she
spoke these fearless words; and, as he did
so, the fairy sunbeam, which Serena carried
in her bosom, gleamed full upon him. He
felt its magical influence; the woods seemed
to him less lonely, and the way less drear.
Ile answered the little girl with a smile, and,
rising from the bank, walked on with her,
hand in hand, while the fairy sunbeam still
fell on him, and shone upon their path.
When the sun at last went to sleep behind
the hills, and left the moon to take his place
as best she could, our two little travellers
selected a smooth, grassy bank near the road-
side, where they determined to rest for the
The boy, who called himself Conrad,
busily gathered the dry twigs and branches,
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
and then, by rubbing pieces of bark together,
produced a fire, to keep off any wild animals
which might be prowling about; while Serena
opened her basket, and they partook together
of the provision it contained.
They told each other their histories; and
Conrad said he had left his mother to try
and earn something in the great city to
which they were journeying. He wept
when Serena told him how lonely she was
in the world, and promised to take her some
time to his mother, who, he was sure, would
love her very dearly.
Thus the time wore away; and all the
while the fairy sunbeam was mingling its
ray with the bright fire-flame, and sending a
glow to the boy's heart. But of this he knew
nothing: he only felt that he was happier
and stronger since Serena joined him.
At length, through very weariness, the
children slept; and still the fire burned
brightly-no evil beast disturbed their rest,
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
and they awoke at dawn, refreshed and
grateful, to pursue their way.
For a time they journeyed on with light
hearts; but at length they came to a thick
clump of trees, where the road seemed lost
to view, and the branches were so closely
interlaced that even daylight could not pene-
Conrad paused in fear-he knew not
which way to go; but Serena saw the light
of the fairy sunbeam falling on her path, and
went steadily forward.
"Come back," cried the boy, "we shall
be lost if we enter those dismal-looking
woods; we had better rest here until some
traveller passes, of whom we can ask the
But Serena answered, "Courage, Conrad,
there is a path out of every wood, and we
shall find one out of this, I am sure." So
saying, she stepped boldly on in the track of
the fairy sunbeam.
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
When Conrad saw the little girl so deter-
mined, he had nothing left but to follow;
and as she took his hand, he felt again the
sunbeam's influence, and listening to her
pleasant voice, quite forgot his fears.
Not that he was a coward at all, for he
bravely pursued and killed a large snake
that lay across their path, and forded the
rapid streams with his little companionon his
shoulders; but difficulties soon discouraged
him, and he saw only the dangers of the way.
In short, he needed the fairy sunbeam.
Weary and travel-worn, the young adven-
turers reached at last the great city, where a
poor market-woman gave them shelter for
the night; and, upon hearing their story,
offered at once to employ Serena, for she too
began to feel the influence of the charm
which the little girl carried in her bosom.
Through the kindness of this good woman,
Conrad found a situation with a neighboring
gardener; and although the children were
TIIE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
very sad at the thought of parting, they con-
soled themselves with the prospect of meet-
ing very often.
I am sure I shall never be contented
away from you," said Conrad, sorrowfully;
"you always seem to make everything go
well, and I forget there are any troubles in
the world when you speak; but now, day
after day will come and go without my see-
ing you, and I shall be very sad."
Serena smiled. "We shall meet very
often," she said, "and take pleasant walks
together after our work is done; then we
will talk over all our plans; and as for
troubles, why, if they come, we will meet
them together, that is all. Cheer up, there
are bright days in store. Do you know that
I expect to be rich, and very happy yet?
Yes-a great lady-and ride in my coach, to
be sure; and you shall ride too."
Then the boy laughed, and the fairy
sunbeam fell upon him, and sent a glow to
44 THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
his heart; and thus, with renewed hope,
he left his companion and went to his new
As time passed on, Serena became a great
favourite with her new friends. Who, indeed,
could help loving one who flung such a cheer-
ing influence about her, ever as she went?
The sunbeam that she carried in her bosom
constantly shed its magic light upon her path,
and warmed her heart with its genial glow;
and thus, though oftentimes crossed and har-
assed by cares, or wearied with the tiresome
tasks that fell to her share, the little girl
conquered all difficulties, and contrived to be
Conrad, on the contrary, allowed every
circumstance to trouble him; and it was only
the magic of the fairy beam, and the light of
Serena's countenance, that kept him from
It chanced that among the customers
whom Serena's bright face attracted to the
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
stand of the poor market-woman, was a lady
who was very rich, and very unhappy, just
because she had nothing in the world to do
but ride in a fine coach and talk about her
neighbours. She was tired of rich dresses
and dainty food; she did not care for flowers;
reading or thinking was too much exertion;
and this unfortunate lady could do nothing
at all but recline upon a sofa, and sigh for
When she first saw Serena's happy face,
she envied her; but as she oftener met the
little girl, she too began to feel the influence
of the fairy sunbeam: and while she could
not account for the charm Serena exercised
over her, yet desired to have her always at
The rich lady spoke to the good market-
woman, and made her so many handsome
presents, and talked so much of what she
would do for the little girl, that the kind
woman at length consented, though with
4G THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
many tears, to part with Serena, whom she
The child herself felt very unwilling to go;
but when she saw Conrad's utter despair, as
he spoke of her becoming a fine lady, and
forgetting the poor gardener's boy, she strove
to comfort him, and in the effort comforted
The lady took Serena to her elegant
home; and the little girl was dressed in fine
clothing, and brought into the parlour every
day to amuse her new friend. She felt
sometimes impatient of the restraint put
upon her actions, for she was not allowed to
run and jump as she pleased, but instructed
to be quiet in all her movements.
Still she kept the fairy sunbeam in her
bosom, and soon its wonderful influence was
felt throughout the house. Every one loved
Serena, for her presence inspired them with
new joy, and life seemed beautiful to all who
heard her words and looked upon her face.
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
Even the languid heart of the rich lady
moved with a quickened pulse. She began
to see beauty in the flowers that had hitherto
passed unnoticed, and determined to adopt
Serena as her child.
Meanwhile the little girl frequently saw
Conrad, and cheered him with her hopeful
smiles, while the influence of the fairy sun-
beam was constantly increasing in her heart.
You will be a great lord yet, Conrad,"
she would say; "yes, and will carry many fine
things to your good mother; and then how
rejoiced she will be to see you again!
You work hard to be sure, but it is only
for a season: the reward will certainly
come; and, to say the truth, I had much
rather be out in the garden weeding and
hoeing with you, than made to sit still on a
chair half the day, or walk carefully among
the flowers, lest I should tear my fine clothes;
but what is it after all, if we do our duty,
and see each other often: eh, Conrad ?"
48 THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
And then the boy would return to his work
with renewed vigour, and so long as the in-
fluence of the fairy sunbeam remained, would
indulge in pleasant visions of the happy
time to come, when Serena and himself
would sit at his mother's knee, and never be
parted again; but after a while the glow
would fade from his heart, and then again he
sought his hopeful little companion.
The rich lady at last told Serena that she
meant to adopt her for her own daughter,
and as she would then be a great lady, and
ride in her coach, she must never again speak
to Conrad, who was only a poor gardener's
boy, nor see the old market-woman, who was
certainly not a suitable companion.
This distressed the little girl very much,
and she begged the lady to send her away
rather than forbid her to meet her friends;
but the lady called her a silly child, who
knew not what was best for her, and sent
her up to her own room in disgrace.
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
As Serena stood by the window, she saw
Conrad waiting beneath, and crept softly
down stairs, and out into the garden to meet
him. The fairy sunbeam was still in her
bosom, and so she thought within herself-
"Perhaps this may be the great good
which the fairy sunbeam was to bring. I
am to be a fine lady, and ride in a coach;
but poor Conrad will be so sad when he can-
not see me. I will give the sunbeam to him,
and then who knows but in time he may
become a great lord too; and then we will
be happy, oh so happy, together !"
Inspired with these thoughts, she told
Conrad how the rich lady meant to take her
for her child; and then taking the crystal
vase from her bosom, she gave it to the boy,
telling him to be careful of it for her sake,
and it would bring him good fortune at last.
Conrad placed the vase carefully in his
breast, but no sooner had he done so, than he
felt its inspiring influence: it now became
50 THE FAIRY SUNBEAMI.
his turn to encourage Serena, and speak of
the happy days in store for both.
The children parted, Conrad to persevere
hopefully in his toil, and Serena to the bon-
dage which she now for the first time felt
It was not long before the lady began to
notice the change in the little girl: she no
longer went singing about the house, but
became silent and sad. She performed her
tasks mechanically; but all the finery and
dainties which were heaped upon her failed
to make her glad: she pined constantly for
Conrad and her humble friend. The glow
of the fairy sunbeam was fast fading from
her heart, and the little girl grew dull and
The lady became offended at Serena: now
that the fairy sunbeam was gone from her
heart, she failed to interest or amuse.
You have become such a dull moping
little thing," said the lady at last, "that I
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
will keep you no more: go back to the
friends for whom you so constantly pine."
So saying she put Serena out into the
road, and shut the door. The little girl
walked a short way, and then sat down in
great sorrow: the tears fell upon her lap in
showers, when she heard a familiar voice
"What, my little Serena, sitting crying
alone! how is this ?" It was Conrad who
spoke; and placing himself beside the little
girl, he listened with affectionate interest to
her story; then kissing the tears from her
"Courage, Serenal look up: you see the
dark days are past, and bright ones are in
store. All things have prospered with me
since we parted. I have watched at the door
day by day, hoping to see you, and now we
have met at last. You see how all things
come right in the end. Now I have learned
to be a gardener myself, and we will go home
52 THE FAIRY SUNBRRA3M.
to my mother, and you shall cheer her old
age with the smiles I so love to sec on your
bright face: they will come back again. I am
sure, will they not r"
And as he spoke so kindly and fearlessly,
they did come back; for a ray from the fairy
sunbeam fell just upon her heart, and she
smiled through her tears, and putting her
hand in his, arose and went hopefully on.
The children went back to the good mar-
ket-woman, who furnished them with a store
of provisions; and then they set forth to
travel hand in hand on the road where they
first had met.
Conrad restored the crystal vase to Serena,
but the fairy sunbeam had filled his heart
with a glow that could not soon be effaced;
and as they journeyed on, supporting each
other's steps, and overcoming together the
difficulties of the way, the sunbeam fell with
unchanging brightness before them, and filled
the breast of each with hopeful joy.
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
And when they ari ded at length at the
cottage of Conrad's mother, the good woman
received them with open arms and glad tears
of joy, while the fairy sunbeam fell upon the
hearts of all.
The little boy and girl soon gained employ-
ment, and were beloved by all who came
within their influence. The cottage became
the abode of industry and content; and when
years sped on, and Conrad and Serena were
married, and had a cottage of their own, the
crystal vase occupied an honourable place
beside their books of devotion, and the fairy
sunbeam filled their home as with a glory.
It is said that the crystal vase descended to
many generations, but was broken at last, and
the fairy sunbeam escaping, mingled itself
with the glad sunshine that falls everywhere
on earth. We can feel its influence still in
the bright spring-time; but happy is he whose
heart knows the glow of the fairy sunbeani,
for he carries perpetual summer in his breast.
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
"And now," said Aunt Elsie, looking about
her with a smile as she ceased, "the fairy
sunbeam seems to have shed its influence
over you all; therefore, you will certainly be
able to tell me what it is called.'"
I think it must be cheerfulness," sug-
gested Edith, gently; "for there seems to be
none but bright faces here."
"To be sure it is," cried the little girls.
after a pause; "how dull we were not to
find that out at once!"
"I like that story much," added Arthur,
"for it is better at any time to be hopeful
Why, it is the easiest thing in the world
to be cheerful," cried Kate; "but I never
thought before what a fine thing it is: it
seems to make others happy as well as one's
"It is not quite so easy to be always
cheerful, as you seem to imagine, Kate," re-
plied Fred Lee: "just wait a while until
THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
some trouble comes over you, and see whether
your fairy sunbeam will shed so bright a
light as Serena's."
We will at least hope it may," now spoke
Aunt Elsie; "for a cheerful spirit does much
to aid us in supporting the ills and trials
which beset our path of life; but remember.
it must be cheerfulness proceeding from a
good conscience and pure intentions; like the
fairy sunbeam, the vase which holds it must
"I thank you so much for your pretty
story. I was a little cloud this morning,
but I mean to be a sunbeam now," whispered
Lilie, drawing near Aunt Elsie.
Aunt Elsie's lovely story must have con-
tained a sunbeam," returned Clara, smilling,
"since it has dispersed all clouds."
There is sunshine both without and with-
in now," cried Harry Wilder, as a bright ray
parted the clouds, and beamed into the room.
The children had been too much interested
O6i THE FAIRY SUNBEAM.
to notice the rapid dispersion of the clouds,
which now rolled back in heavy masses from
the setting sun, whose golden beams fell upon
the rain-drops that yet trembled in the flower-
cups, and made them sparkle like precious
The little party eagerly stepped forth on
the broad piazza to enjoy the sunset.
"We shall have a fine day to-morrow,"
said Robert; "but it will be too damp in
the woods for Aunt Elsie, I fear, after this
We will postpone our day in the
woods," answered Mabel, "until the sun
has thoroughly dried the moisture from
And in the mean time the fairy sunbeam
of cheerfulness must dry up our tears of dis-
appointment," added Harry Wilder.
I am very much afraid that Dinah's nice
pot-cheese will dry up before our pic-nic
takes place; and that will be a disappoint-
ment which even my cheerfulness cannot
overcome," said Fred Lee, dolefully.
The children laughed; and Edith replied,
"We will provide against such a disap-
pointment, Fred, by having your favourite
pot-cheese for tea, with Dinah's permission."
So saying, she hastened away, and the bell
soon after summoned the little people to their
Music and pleasant converse closed the
day; and long after the sun had set behind
the hills, the bright beam of cheerfulness
shed a glow upon the happy group who were
gathered in the dear old parlour.
How gloriously the morning dawned upon
the freshened earth There was something
exhilarating in the delicious cool breeze that
53 IDA'S EXPERIMENT.
came laden with the grateful incense of
many flowers. The trees swayed their
branches gently to and fro with a soft, rust-
ling sound, while the little birds seemed to
find new inspiration in the pleasant freshness
of all things about them, and sung, in gleeful
notes, their merriest songs.
Even the faithful cows expressed their
delight in the green pastures by gently low-
ing; while the old barn-yard fathers crowed
forth their shrill morning greetings with
determined energy; and the motherly hens,
followed by their noisy broods, went eagerly
about, picking up the earth-worms which the
rain had brought from the ground.
The spirit of joy was abroad upon the earth,
and all things shared in its enlivening influ-
Our little party were gathered upon the
piazza, well provided with sun-bonnets and
thick shoes, ready for a ramble, and unde-
terred by the prospect of muddy clothes or
wet feet. Aunt Elsie stood smiling in the
doorway; and, after many charges to avoid
miry places, and take good heed to the little
ones, the joyous group set forth, their merry
voices and musical laughter chiming with
the songs of the birds as they went.
It was dinner-time when they returned.
looking rather travel-soiled, to be sure, but
with glowing, happy faces, and elastic step,
their bonnets fantastically decorated with
small green branches, and their hands filled
There was a great demand for cool water
and clean towels; and after a half hour of
preparation, the young party assembled in
the dining-room, with white collars, neat
dresses, and smooth hair, showing no trace of
their recent long ramble, save in the flush
that yet lingered upon some of the bright
After dinner they all repaired to the piazza,
which was their favourite resort in the after-
60 IDEA'S EXPERIMENT.
noon. It was low and broad, extending
around two sides of the house, with a wide
flight of steps on either side, one of which
led into the garden, and the other down upon
the soft green lawn in front of the house.
The pillars that supported its roof were draped
with sweet-brier, and the exquisite running-
rose, whose hardy and beautiful flowers
were sometimes seen even after snow covered
the ground. In summer the long branches
twined themselves about the balustrade, or
hung in rich festoons between the pillars;
while jessamine, honeysuckle, and other deli-
cate creeping vines mingled their fragrant
blossoms with the rich clusters of roses, and
altogether formed graceful garlands which
sent forth a delicious perfume on the breeze.
The children loved to train up the morn-
ing-glories and slender vines, whose fragile
tendrils seemed to sway so helplessly about,
seeking for something to which they might
cling; and the boys tied pieces of strong twine
Tb GRWIM loved to trs" up h maodrutgrlhutu rad ubdr
yin.., wa *qfls Sgmdrhh mine P1S away-P y dliahw.
ing icr uuWqthag to whik they might eM&-Psg OL
to the balustrade, and fastened them up to
nails which they drove in the edge of the
roof, while the little girls carefully disen-
tangled the fibres, and taught them to twine
about the support thus provided.
The delicate vines were very apt scholars,
and climbed with surprising rapidity up to
the roof of the piazza, sending forth lateral
shoots like arms, which they twined as they
went, as if endeavouring to assist each other
in their ascent, and then upon reaching the
top, looked noddingly down, as though they
would say, "We have gone as far as we could,
but would like to climb a little higher."
Very ambitious vines they were, and some
of them even scrambled over the roof, and
came peeping in at the upper windows, form-
ing, with their pretty fresh leaves, a lattice
of wonderful beauty.
Aunt Elsie's favourite high-backed chair
was placed just at the angle of the piazza;
for seated there, the good old lady could feel
0. IDA'1 EXPERIhMENT.
the soft south wind as it came wafted over
the garden, gathering sweet odours as it
passed, while between the fine old trees that
stood upon the lawn, she caught glimpses of
the placid waters of the pond as it basked in
The children gathered upon the steps, or
strolled through the garden, while Aunt Elsie
indefatigably pursued her knitting-work.
"What a delightful ramble we have had,"
said Ellen Lee, as she seated herself at Aunt
Elsie's feet; "every thing seems so fresh after
the rain, and the woods smell so sweet!"
"Yes," added Edward Sutherland; "and
did you ever see so many birds? how I
wished for my bow and arrows!"
"They would not have done much execu-
tion, Ned," answered Harry'Wilder, with a
smile: "you would need to be a second
William Tell to shoot with an arrow a bird
upon the wing."
"I am sure it would be very wicked to
shoot them at all," returned Lilie; "when
they seemed to be so very happy."
"It does, indeed, appear cruel sport," re-
plied Aunt Elsie. "I once had a friend who
wounded a robin in the wing, and the poor
thing's piteous cries so moved his compassion,
that he carried it home, where his wife bound
up the wounded wing, bracing it with pieces
of quill: they put the bird in a basket, and
the little thing seemed grateful, and conscious
of the kindness. It recovered at last, and
they set it free; but it hovered about the
house for a long while, eating the crumbs
which were thrown out. Its companions
wooed it away after a time, but my friend
never shot a bird afterwards."
"I was wishing, this morning, to be a
bird," cried merry Kate Lee; "it seemed so
delightful to have wings, and be able to fly
away up so far above the trees. I never
thought of the chances of being shot, though;
but after this I shall feel quite contented to
64 IDA'S EXPERIMENT.
walk on the ground, without fear of Ned's
bow and arrows."
"We saw so many bright yellow butter-
flies," said Marian, "flying from flower to
flower, that I quite longed to join them; they
seemed to be playing some kind of game, for
they darted after each other, and seemed to
enjoy the chase so much."
I don't join you in that wish," replied
her brother Arthur, smoothing her bright
hair, and smiling as he spoke; "for I hope
to see my little sister Marian something more
than a mere butterfly."
"It is surprising what an effect the rain
has had," said Fred Lee, in a sentimental
tone; "for my part, when I saw the quantities
of speckled grasshopper, with their long legs
frisking about, I sighed to be one of them!"
"Now, Fred, you are quizzing us," re-
turned Ellen, as all the children burst into a
laugh; and even Aunt Elsie smiled at his
droll manner. "You know very well you
would rather be just the tormenting boy that
you are; for if you were a grasshopper, we
would tie a string to your leg, and try and
bring you into better subjection."
"I submit to your better judgment, and
am content to remain as I am-your humble
cousin," rejoined Fred, bowing with mock
"Well," said Grace, smiling, "since so
many have told their wishes, I will add mine
to the list; for I thought this morning I
should like to be a flower, they seemed to
enjoy the sunshine and the breeze so much."
Not more than we did ourselves, I think,"
No," replied Grace, I do not mean
that they did, but they looked so happy
"0, who would wish to be a flower,
To bloom and perish in an hour?"
"If they could think," said Aunt Elsie,
66 IDEA'S EXPERIMENT.
"the hour would probably seem as long to
them as a lifetime to us, for in it is comprised
all they can know of cloud or sunshine."
True, they have to bear the heat of noon
and the drenching rains, and sometimes get
broken off their stems by the wet," remarked
"Why, it seems to me, every thing has
something to worry about," cried Kate.
" The birds are in danger of being shot, the
butterflies of being caught and spitted alive
on great pins, and even the flowers must
burn up in the sun, or be drowned in rain.
I think, after all, we are as well off as any of
them, though we have troubles too."
"You are growing quite a philosopher,
Kate," returned Fred, teasingly: "pray what
have you to trouble you?"
You!" rejoined the little girl, laughing;
"and the grasshoppers may be thankful you
are not among them."
Little Lilie took no part in the conversa-
tion, but laid her curly head upon Aunt
Elsie's knee; she waited until a pause oc-
curred, then drawing the old lady's face down
to her own, whispered,
"I am so very tired, dear Aunt Elsie,
won't you please tell us a story."
"But perhaps my other little people don't
care about it, Lilie," she replied. "It is so
fine that they may wish to walk."
"Oh, no, Aunt Elsie, dear Aunt Elsie, we
had walked enough this morning," cried Kate,
who overheard the remark; "nothing would
be so delightful as a story."
The rest of the party joined in this opinion;
and the indulgent old lady went intothe house,
and, opening the old bookcase, returned in a
few moments with a manuscript in her hand.
The children, meanwhile, placed seats for
themselves; and when Aunt Elsie was again
comfortably seated, she read to them the
ha'l (Expimn ut.
"Heigho! how pleasant it is to be out in
the woods all day," sighed little Ida, as she
threw herself upon a grassy bank by the
brookside. "I don't see the use of being
mewed up in the house these warm bright
days, when the woods are so shady and cool.
Ida was a little girl who dearly loved the
flowers and glad sunshine. She was only
happy when roaming about at will, chasing
the gayly-painted butterflies, or making, with
her own merry voice, an echo to the song of
the uncaged birds.
Very pleasant it would have been to pass
whole days in this manner, but Ida had
duties to perform-as who has not? What
is there in the whole earth so insignificant as
to say, with truth, "I am of no use?" Every
dew-drop has its peculiar mission to fulfil;
and each tiny snow-flake falls to the ground
to assist in accomplishing some great purpose.
But Ida never thought of all this. Her
mother, she knew, talked to her of duties,
and often kept her in-doors, performing dis-
agreeable tasks, which seemed to the little
girl of trifling importance, when she would
fain have been out in the fresh green fields.
She knew not that her first duty was obedi-
ence, and therefore was frequently ill-tem-
pered sad perverse.
It was a lovely summer afternoon, and
Ida, having finished her tasks, was permitted
to go out into the fields. The day had been
intensely warm, but now a soft gentle breeze
sprang up, and the flowers began to lift their
drooping heads that had shrunk from the
bright gaze of the sun. Little Ida ran about
delighted with the sense of freedom from re-
straint; but at length, becoming weary, she
threw herself upon the grass and sighed,
70 IDA'S EXPERIMENT.
Oh, dear," murmured the little girl, after
a long revery; "how I wish there was no
such thing as work in the world; at any rate,
for a little girl like me! I don't see that I
am of any use, and yet mother will keep me
in all day. I wish I could live out of doors
always. Pretty daisies," she continued, ad-
dressing a tuft of flowers that grew at her
feet, "do you know I envy you? for you
have no duties to perform, and nothing in the
world to do but to live in the sunshine and
look charming. Yes, I wish I could be like
It was certainly very strange, but just as
Ida spoke these words, the little daisies began
nodding to her in the drollest manner imagi-
nable; and then she saw that the flowers
were lovely little faces: the stems and leaves
assumed human forms, and soon they were a
little troop of fairies, who joined hands and
danced about her, singing, in soft musical
Sisters bright make room, make room,
A new flower comes to bud and bloom.
To weep with the rain-drops, to smile with the un,
And wither, and fade, when her task is done."
As they circled round, repeating these
words, Ida felt herself descending into the
ground, the song died away upon her ear,
and she remained in utter darkness. The
little girl did not feel at all frightened,
but wondered very much what would hap-
pen next. She waited a while in expecta-
tion, and then cried out, I am tired of
staying here in the dark. I want to see the
"Be quiet," said a tiny voice close at her
side, and wait until the snow melts a
little, and the earth is thawed. You could
not get out now if you were to try."
Ida turned around in astonishment at this
speech, but she could see nothing in the
dark; so she asked,
Who are you, and how came you here?
I am a little girl and my name is Ida."
What a droll conceit," replied the voice,
with a merry little laugh. "You are no-
thing more nor less than a flower-seed, like
myself. By and by we will come up out of
the ground, and bloom in the sunshine."
But how long will it be before we leave
this gloomy place ?" asked the little girl,
who now began to realize that she had gained
her wish, and was actually to be a flower;
"I can't say that I like being a seed at
"Why, you cannot be a flower without
first being a seed," returned the other.
"There are plenty of us here, waiting for
the Spring to set us free: don't be impa-
tient, she will come in good time."
Ida remained quiet for some time, and
then again asked, "How can you lie so con-
tentedly in this dark place?"
"It is our duty," answered the tiny voice,
shortly; for the little girl's talking annoyed
Why! do you use that hateful word
too ? she replied. "I thought the flowers
had no duties : but I am so tired of staying
here: how do you know the Spring will
come ? are you sure?"
We trust," returned the other. And to
all her complaints Ida received no other
At length she heard a strange musical
sound, and found that the seeds were slowly
forcing their way through the earth. She
gladly moved upward, too; and so impatient
was she, that she was the first to burst from
the ground, and look about her.
"I am so glad to get out of that ugly
prison," soliloquized the little girl. "How
pleasant and warm the sunshine feels, though
the snow has not quite melted yet. It is so
droll: I see that I am surrounded by tiny
green leaves, and yet I know that I am Ida
still. Well, I wonder what will happen
74 IDEA'S EXPERIMENT.
Presently a cold wind blew over her, and
in the night came frost and pinched her
leaves; so that poor Ida looked quite droop-
ing for several days, but she gradually re-
vived; and then, when she found herself
really expanding into a flower, her delight
knew no bounds.
What a lovely pink colour I am!" she
said to herself. "Every one will admire
me, I am sure. I think I am even prettier
than my neighbours. How delightful it is
to be a flower! no lessons to learn, and
nothing at all to do but bloom and be ad-
mired!" And she lifted her head proudly
and swayed gracefully upon the breeze.
Take care," said one of her neighbours,
as he bent over towards her: if you thrust
yourself so far out upon the road some one
will trample upon you."
Ida withdrew her head in alarm. How
do you know we will not be crushed even
here?" she asked, anxiously.
"We trust," replied the other, and then
It is so very cold," murmured the little
girl, as she folded her leaves tightly over her
breast one frosty night. "Why do you
not wait till warmer weather before you
We come when Spring calls us, to give
sign of her approach," said the other.
But although it is dark in the ground,
it is at least warm," she rejoined, '"Why
should you obey the Spring?"
"Because it is our duty," said the little
flower, as he closed his eyes.
Duty, duty," murmured Ida, as she fell
asleep: but the next morning, when she
awoke, she found herself covered with dew-
drops, that sparkled like diamonds in the
"How beautiful I am to-day!" she ex-
claimed in delight. "See how lovely my
leaves appear, shining through these dia-
76 IDA'S EXPERIMENT.
monds that adorn them: every one must
behold me with admiration now."
As she spoke, a farmer's boy came whist-
ling along; but although she thrust herself
so far forward that his foot brushed off
some of the diamond dew-drops, he did not
notice her in the least, but strolled care-
By and by the sun climbed high up in the
sky, and looked down upon the flowers so
steadily with his flaming eye, that they
quailed and shrunk beneath his scorching
beams. Poor little Ida felt unable to sup-
port herself. Her head dropped languidly,
and she could scarcely breathe. There was
not the slightest air stirring in that sultry
noon, and still the great sun sent down his
burning rays upon the earth.
"I shall die," murmured the little girl.
"If I had known how the flowers suffer
with heat, I never would have wished to be
one of them. How pleasant and cool it is
now in mother's shaded room, if I only was
there again; but now I shall die."
A flower, who grew at her side, overheard
her murmuring, and spoke, though faintly,
for she too was drooping in the sun.
"Yes, we often wither thus with heat;
but then, you know, we must do our duty;
we shall revive at night; and though we
suffer, yet we trust."
The last words were scarcely heard by
poor Ida, who sank exhausted to the earth.
Presently heavy black clouds rushed across
the sky, and shut out the beams of the sun;
and then plash, plash came the large rain-
drops upon the leaves and the parched earth;
and then the flowers lifted their languid
heads and felt revived. But the rain poured
down still faster, until they were forced to
bend beneath its rushing weight, and little
Ida was now in great fear of being drowned.
The wind tossed the flowers about most
rudely, and they bruised themselves against
78 IDEA'S EXPERIMENT.
each other: some of them were torn from
their stems by the force of the shower, and
poor Ida trembled in affright.
"Oh, this is more dreadful than all," she
cried. I shall certainly be broken to pieces
in this tempest. Why should flowers be so
exposed, and suffer so much?"
"We do our duty," was the murmured
reply that reached her, borne on the blast
"and for the rest we trust."
At last the rain ceased, the clouds began
to separate, and the sun again smiled down
upon the earth. The birds left their nests,
and sang joyously, and all things revived.
Little Ida, though bruised and shorn of
some green leaves, yet felt very much re-
freshed. But there remained one rain-drop
in her heart: the wind had blown a long
branch, thick with clustering leaves, just
before her, and the setting sun could not
reach her behind the leafy screen. So, while
the other flowers were gayly lifting their
heads, and basking in his beam, poor Ida
trembled beneath the weight of the rain-drop.
"How unfortunate I am," she sighed,
repiningly. The sun has dried all the rain
from the other flowers; while I must sink
beneath this weight through all the long
Then she folded her leaves and slept; but
when the morning sun gleamed down once
more, the rain-drop shone like a diamond
upon her breast.
When the scorching noonday beam again
shone down, the flowers paled and withered
as before; but the drop which rested in Ida's
breast strengthened and refreshed her, so
that she did not shrink from the sun's ray,
but lifted her head firmly. The moisture
dried up from her heart, but little Ida had
learned a new truth.
Ah I understand now," she exclaimed,
" that what seems to be very disagreeable at
first, is all for our good after alL Had it not
80 IDA'S EXPERIMENT.
been for that drop of rain, I might have
withered in the sun. After this, so long as
I live, I will remember to do my duty, and
All the flowers applauded loudly at this.
And as the humming, rustling noise in-
creased, a strange thrill passed through little
Ida: her bright leaves fell to the ground,
and lo and behold, she was lying upon the
grass at the brookside, with the tuft of
daisies blooming at her side!
Her first impulse was to bend over the
water, and there she beheld the reflection of
her own astonished face. There could be no
doubt she ehad been a flower, but was now
little Ida again.
You have taught me a fine lesson," she
cried, turning to the daisies, "and one that
I shall not soon forget. I am quite con-
tented to remain just the little girl that I
am, and shall never wish to be a flower again.
Don't you approve my decision?"
But the little daisies looked perfectly un-
conscious, and stared steadily up at the sky,
never vouchsafing so much as a nod in reply.
"Oh, it is all very well for you to make
believe you don't understand me," persisted
little Ida; "but I shall not forget your ad-
vice, we do our duty, and trust," she whis-
pered, with a triumphant air. Do you re-
member the words?"
But the perverse little daisies did not seem
to hear, and never even moved a leaf.
"Well, well," laughed Ida, as she ran
home; "if you don't remember them, I do.
and mean to live after them besides."
And so she did; and though she loved the
woods and flowers as well as ever, she never
murmured at her tasks; and so grew to be a
good and happy girl. But though she often
stopped to talk to the daisies, not one of them
ever deigned a reply; they had evidently cut
82 IDA'S EXPERIMENT.
What a droll story!" exclaimed Kate,
as Aunt Elsie concluded: "I like it so
much, I declare I almost envy Ida her expe-
riment, after all."
For my part I am quite content to profit
by her experience," returned Ellen.
The lesson it teaches may profit us all, I
think," added Arthur: to do our duty, and
trust the result to Providence."
And to be content with the part assigned
us," said Grace. "I am decidedly of Ida's
opinion now, and shall never wish to be a
"Who would ever think of learning wis-
dom from the flowers?" remarked Robert.
"Why not?" returned Edith, smiling.
"As the bee gathers honey from them, may
we not also get wisdom?"
"Wisdom is not always like honey,
though," replied Fred; "for when bought
by experience, it is apt to be bitter."
There you are mistaken, Fred," answered
Harry: "it is the experience that is bitter,
and not the wisdom: it is the fault of the
bee, if the honey is not properly cleared;
but we ought to be very wise with so many
teachers about us."
He looked towards Aunt Elsie as he spoke,
and the old lady said:
"We ought, indeed, Harry, for it seems
to be ordained by the Creator, that all things
should constantly teach us the ways of wis-
dom and truth. Nature in her many voices
is ever sending lessons to the heart, and you
remember the words of Solomon, Go to the
ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and
be wise.' Since, then, we may learn great
truths from even the insects and the flowers,
let us not fail to improve the lessons they
teach; but earnestly strive to walk with that
wisdom, 'whose ways are ways of pleasant-
ness, and all whose paths are peace.'"
84 THE GOLDEN ROOT, AND
"COME, Robert, awake," cried Edward
Sutherland, arousing his brother early one
fine summer morning: "this is the day we
are to spend at Mr. Helme's, and if you
don't hurry you will be too late for break-
fast, which is an hour earlier, you know."
Robert started hastily up. I had well-
nigh overslept myself," he said; "but what
a glorious morning it is! we shall have a
grand time, I expect."
The boys hastened to dress themselves in
their good suits, and had scarcely finished
when the breakfast bell sounded, and they
hurried down stairs, where they found their
companions all neatly dressed, and full of
pleasant anticipations for the day.
Breakfast was soon over, and then the old
family coach stood at the door; but large as
THE LITTLE BROWN SEED.
it was, it could scarcely accommodate all the
little people, and so one of the farm waggons
was put in requisition, and into this the boys
gaily sprang, while the little girls occupied
Aunt Elsie was not of the party: she pre-
ferred remaining quietly at home, as she
knew that her young people were all well
bred, and would behave with perfect pro-
priety. The younger children were under
the guidance of Edith and Harry, who, she
felt satisfied, would restrain them should their
mirthfulness threaten to pass due bounds.
The young party were on their way to
pass the day at Rookwood, a beautiful place
some five miles distant from Woodleigh.
The owner, Mr. Helme, was an old friend
of Aunt Elsie's, and a most excellent man.
He was a bachelor of unobtrusive habits,
and had the reputation of being eccentric.
One of his peculiarities was a fondness for
children: he delighted in gathering them
00 THE GOLDEN ROOT, AND
about him, and making them happy. He
had several nieces and nephews, who alter-
nately resided with him, and his large and
elegant house was usually filled with young
company. Aunt Elsie's little people were
always great favourites, for he knew none
would be invited to pass the time with her,
who were not well behaved and intelligent;
but little Frank Field was very dear to the
good old man, and he with Aunt Elsie fre-
quently spoke of adopting the little orphaned
brother and sister between them. Aunt
Elsie already loved little Lillie as her own,
and Mr. Helme liked to have Frank always
with him. The children's relatives, how-
ever, would have to be consulted; but the
greatest obstacle to this plan was the sepa-
ration of Frank from his sister, to whom he
was devotedly attached.
We will leave kind Mr. Helme and the dear
Aunt Elsie to think over these things, while
we go with the juvenile party to Rookwood.
'IME LITTLE BROWN SEED.
Some of the children had never visited
there before; and many were the exclama-
tions of delight that burst from the group,
as they beheld so many new beauties.
It was, indeed, as lovely a spot as nature,
aided by taste and wealth, could make. The
house itself was large, well arranged, and
elegantly furnished; but the surrounding
grounds were the owner's just pride, and the
admiration of all who visited them.
The garden was very large, and tastefully
laid out in different-shaped beds, with white
gravelled walks between. The flowers were
of the choicest kind, cultivated to the highest
state of perfection; and so chosen, that from
the earliest dawn of spring, until winter had
fairly come and frozen the ground quite hard,
the garden was always bright with the flowers
of the season; and it was easy to cull from it
a bouquet of rich and varied flowers.
In the centre of some of the flower-beds
were graceful fountains, that sent sparkling
88 THE GOLDEN BOOT, AND
drops of spray upon the plants in grateful
showers; and in one part of the grounds you
came unexpectedly upon a little pond, where
numbers of gold and silver fish sported in
undisturbed security, while an old tree that
had stood the storms of centuries, bent its
gnarled branches protectingly above.
Then there were fine orchards of fruit,
and several acres of woodland, through which
many little streams rippled softly amid the
dried leaves; and what particularly attracted
the children's attention, was a fine clump of
boxwood, that tradition said had stood there
since long before the Revolution, and beneath
whose shade a wounded soldier had concealed
himself from pursuit. The little birds built
their nests among its foliage now, and several
of the children seated themselves beneath
the thick branches, which formed quite an
arbour above them.
The young party had so much to see and
admire, that they were surprised when
THE LITTLE BROWN SEED.
luncheon was announced; and following their
kind entertainer they came to a long arbour,
covered with grape-vines, and here the
noonday repast was laid. There were plenty
of rich ripe strawberries and sweet fresh
cream, with other and more substantial good
things, of which the children partook heartily,
for the morning ride and long stroll had won-
derfully increased their appetites.
Then afterwards they repaired to the
smooth green lawn, where a fine swing was
erected, and a small target placed, with
plenty of bows and arrows for the boys to
try their skill. In a small summer-house
were found grace-rings, battle-dores, balls,
and jumping-ropes, which the young party
severally appropriated, and were soon eagerly
engaged in the various games.
They did not leave until after tea, and a
ride home by moonlight completed what had
truly been a day of pleasure.
The following day was showery; but the
00 THE GOLDEN ROOT, AND
children were so full of bright recollections
of yesterday's enjoyment, that they did not
desire to walk out, but continually dwelt
upon the many delightful things which had
occurred in their previous visit.
Such a day of enjoyment as we had I"
cried Kate, who was always the first to
speak: "every thing happened just as it
ought; and Mr. Helme was so kind !"
"It was, indeed, a most delightful visit,"
returned Mabel, "and Rookwood is a lovely
spot; there is so much taste displayed every-
"It is the loveliest place in the world, I
am sure," cried Ellen and Marian both in a
"Except dear Woodleigh," returned little
Lilie, which I love so much better. I am
sure it is quite as pleasant as Rookwood."
"But not quitesogrand, Lilie," said Robert.
"What large rooms Mr Helme has there; and
so richly furnished, too! I almost envy him."
THE LITTLE BROWN SEED.
I should like to have permission to read
the books in his library," returned Arthur:
"he has many valuable works, and must be
a man of taste and education."
"And I never should weary of walking
through that beautiful garden," added Grace.
"I never saw so many lovely flowers."
"Yes," added Clara; "and do you know,
Aunt Elsie, they are so arranged that when
one flower fades, another opens, so that one
or the other is constantly blooming ?"
"It was Linneus, I believe, who once in-
vented a dial that told the time, by the open-
ing and closing of the flowers. Mr. Helme
has followed his idea," remarked Arthur.
"And a lovely idea it was," returned
Edith. Do you remember those beautiful
lines of Mrs. Hemans, the last verse of
'Oh, let us live, so that flower by flower,
Shutting in turn may leave
A lingerer still for the twilight hour,
A charm for the shaded eve.'"
THE GOLDEN ROOT, AND
"Well," cried Fred, "I confess to liking
the bows and arrows, and balls, quite as well
as anything else; but as for Frank, when I
wanted him to join in a game, he had stolen
off and was nowhere to be found; but I be-
lieve Harry caught him afterwards, sitting
alone in the woods. You are a queer fellow,
Frank: you don't care for play like other
"Yes, I do," replied little Frank, slightly
colouring; "but you know, Fred, I am not
so strong as you are. I was tired yester-
day; and besides, I like to sit alone in the
woods, and listen to the wind among the
So do I, Frank," added Arthur, with a
Yes," interrupted Harry Wilder, and
so do I, although I am not given to day-
dreams; but I think there never was any
thing more glorious than the sunset-sky
yesterday, and nothing more delightful than -
THE LITTLE BROWN SEED.
the stroll Franky and I took through the
"I am very glad you enjoyed yourselves
so well, my dear children," now spoke Aunt
Elsie, who had been an amused and inter-
ested listener, as the little group expressed
their several tastes; "and I trust your visit
was a source of equal pleasure to my good
friend Mr. Helme, who must have taken
every trouble to afford you gratification."
"That he did," cried all at once.
"He is so merry," added Kate; "and
.swung me so high!"
Yes, and joined in our games of ball and
battledoor," continued Edward.
"He is very kind and gentle, besides,"
said Frank: "he talked a good while with
me, and showed me many books and pic-
"He must be very rich," remarked
Robert, "to have so many elegant things.
Is he not, Aunt Elsie ?"
THE GOLDEN ROOT, AND
Yes," returned the old lady; he is a
man of wealth; and what is more, he is
what is called a 'self-made' man; that is, he
earned all that he now possesses: he was
once a poor boy."
"Was he?" cried all the children; and
He must be very talented, then, to have
made so much money in so short a time, for
he is not very old now; or else, perhaps, he
"Neither," replied Aunt Elsie. "I have
known him all my life, and he has never
been accounted very talented; nor has he
been what is called a speculator, though
doubtless he invested his money to the best
advantage. No, the 'little brown seed' has
been at the bottom of all his wonderful suc-
'That has something to do with a fairy
story, I know," cried Kate, exultingly.
Is the little brown seed in the old port-
TIHE LITTLE BROWN SEED.
folio ?" asked Lilie, starting up with dancing
eyes; and may I go and find it ?"
"Do, pray, Aunt Elsie," implored several
voices: "let us find out the secret of Mr.
So that we may profit by it," cried Fred
Lee. "Dear Aunt Elsie, allow me the
pleasure," he continued, and darting into the
room, returned in a moment with the old
portfolio, which, with a low bow, he pre-
Aunt Elsie smiled, and opening the port-
folio, selected a manuscript, saying, as she
unfolded it, this is the story of
64f littl Sun 616.
A poor man was dying, and beside him
stood his two sons weeping bitterly, for they
96 THE GOLDEN ROOT, AND
knew that after their father was taken away,
they should be quite alone in the world.
The poor man pitied the grief of his chil-
dren, and tried to comfort them: then
taking a small box from beneath his pillow,
i1 y sons, this box contains all the posses-
sions I have to leave you: in it you will find
a golden root, and a little brown seed, either
of which, if properly planted and watered,
will grow into a great tree, and finally make
you a fortune.
To you, Hansel, as the elder, I give the
golden root: if planted in the right soil, it
will grow rapidly, and bear golden fruit more
beautiful than jewels, and far more precious
beside: while the little brown seed, which
falls to your share, Wilhelm, though it will
need much care, and grow more slowly than
your brother's root, will eventually produce
rich good fruit; less brilliant that Hansel's,
but very valuable.
THE LITTLE BROWN BEED.
"It will be well, my dear children, if
you plant your trees side by side, and cul-
tivate them together; it will improve them
both; but should you ever determine to se-
parate, you have each the power to win pros-
So saying, the good father closed his eyes,
and spoke no more.
After the grief of the brothers had sub-
sided, they opened the box, and Hansel
eagerly grasped the golden root, which was
to bring him such good fortune. It was
apparently a piece of solid gold, of an un-
finished shape, and could be easily bent in
the hand. Wilhelm greatly admired his
brother's treasure, and then earnestly sought
in the box for the little brown seed. It was
some time before he could find it; but he
espied it at last lying in the corner of the
box, and looking for all the world like an
insignificant peppercorn. As he placed it on
the palm of his hand with rather a disap-