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ALTEMUS' YOUNG PEOPLE'S LIBRARY
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
"Pondering shadows, colors, clouds,
Grass-buds, and caterpillar shrouds,
EBughs on which the wild bees settle,
Til.s that spot the violet's petal."
-Eme son's IWood .\otes.
WITH THIRTY-FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS
CcpyrE-:t ;:E by Henry Altemus
The Frost King, or the Power of Love . 7
Eva's Visit to Fairyland . . . .... 39
The Flower's Lesson . . . ... 69
Lily/Bell and Thistledown ... ......... 76
Little Bud .................. .. 130
ClovertBlossom ............. ..... 151
Little Annie's Dream, or the Fairy Flower ..... 162
Ripple, the Water/Spirit . . ..... 180
Fairy Song ................... 206
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HE summer moon shone brightly
down upon the sleeping earth,
while far away from mortal eyes
danced the Fairy folk. Fire-flies
hung in bright clusters on the
dewy leaves, that waved in the
cool night-wind; and the flowers stood gazing in
very wonder at the little Elves who lay among the
fern-leaves, swung in the vine-boughs, sailed on
the lake in lily cups, or danced on the mossy
ground, to the music of the harebells, who rung
out their merriest peal in honor of the night.
Under the shade of the wild rose sat the Queen
and her little Maids of Honor, beside the silvery
mushroom where the feast was spread.
Now, my friends," said she, "to wile away
the time till the bright moon goes down, let us
each tell a tale, or relate what we have done or
learned this day. I will begin with you,.Sunny
Lock," added she, turning to a lovely little Elf,
who lay among the fragrant leaves of a primrose.
6 Flower Fables.
With a gay smile, "Sunny Lock" began het
"As I was painting the bright petals of a blue
bell, it told me this tale."
The Frost King; or the Power of Love.
HREE little fairies sat in the fields
lt eating their breakfast; each among
the leaves of her favorite flower,
Daisy, Primrose, and Violet, were
as happy as elves need be.
The morning wind gently
rocked them to and fro, and the sun shone warmly
down upon the dewy grass, where butterflies
spread their gay wings, and fees 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
leaf, beside a crimson strawberry. which, with
8 Flower Fables.
sugar frotn the violet, *nd cream from the yellow
millk.ed, made a fairy' meal ; and their driniwas
the dew from the flowers' bright leaves.
f'Ah me," sighed Primrose, throwing her'Ilf
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 eat tell me, dear Violet, why are you
all so sad? I have scarce seen a happy face
since my return from Rose Land; dear friend,
what means it ?"
"I will tell you," replied little Violet, the 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
tried, but all have failed. She has sent messen-
gers to his court with costly gifts, but all have
returned sick for want of sunlight, weary and sad;
we have watched over them, heedless of sun or
shower, but still his dark spirits do their work,
and we are left to weep over our blighted blos-
soms. Thus have we striven, and in vain, and
this night our Queen holds council for the last
,time. Therefore are we sad, Primrose, for she
has toiled and cared for us, and we can do noth-
ing to help or advise her."
"It is indeed a cruel thing," replied her friend;
"but as we cannot help it, we must suffer patiently,
and not let the sorrows of others disturb our hap-
piness. But, dear sisters, see you not how high
the sun is getting? I have my locks to curl, and
my robe to prepare for the evening; therefore I
must be gone, or I shall be brown as a withered
leaf in this warm light." So, gathering a tiny
mushroom for a parasol, she flew away; Daisy
soon followed, and Violet was left alone.
Then she spread the table afresh, and to it
came fearlessly the busy ant and bee, gay butter-
fly and bird; even the poor blind mole and
humble worm were not forgotten; and with gentle
words she gave to all, while each learned some-
thing of their kind teacher; and the love that
made her own heart bright shone alike on all.
The ant and the bee learned generosity, the
butterfly and the bird contentment, the mole and
worm confidence in the love of others, and each
went to their home better for the little time they
had been with the Violet.
The Frost King. x
Evening came, and with it troops of Elves to
counsel their good Queen, who, seated on her
mossy throne, looked anxiously upon the throng
below, whose glittering wings and rustling robes
gleamed like many-colored flowers.
At length she rose, and amid the deep silence
Dear children, let us not tire of a good work,
hard though it may 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 flowers, and what a lonely home
for us Their beauty fills our hearts with bright-
ness, and 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 unceasingly, that they may bloom in
peace within their quiet homes? We have tried
to gain the love of the stern Frost King, but
in vain; his heart is hard as his own icy land;
no love can melt, no kindness bring it back
to sunlight and to joy. How then may we
keep our frail blossoms from his cruel spirits?
Who will give counsel? Who will be our mes-
senger for the last time? Speak, my subjects."
Then a great murmuring arose, and many
spoke, some for costlier gifts, some for war; and
the fearful counselled patience and submission.
Long and eagerly they spoke, and their soft
voices rose high.
The sweet music sounded on the air, and the
loud tones were hushed, as in wondering silence
the Fairies waited what should come.
Through the crowd there came a little form, a
wreath of pure white violets lay among the bright
locks that fell so softly round the gentle face,
where a deep blush glowed, as, kneeling at the
throne, little Violet said:
Dear Queen, we have bent to the Frost-
King's power, we have borne gifts unto his
pride, but 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 heart, and with patient tenderness shown
him how bright and beautiful love can make the
"Our messengers have gone fearfully, and with
cold looks and courtly words offered him rich gifts,
The Frost King.
things he cared not for, and with equal pride has
he sent them back.
"Then let me, the weakest of your band, go
to him, trusting in the love I know lies hidden in
the coldest heart.
I will bear only a garland of our fairest flow-
ers; these will I wind about him, and their bright
faces, looking lovingly in his, will bring sweet
thoughts to his dark mind, and their soft breath
steal in like gentle words. Then, when he sees
them fading on his breast, will he not sigh that
their is no warmth there to keep them fresh and
lovely? This will I do, dear Queen, and never
leave his dreary home, till the sunlight falls on
flowers fair as those that bloom in our own dear
Silently the Queen had listened, but now,
rising and placing her hand on little Violet's head,
she said, turning to the throng below:
"We in our pride and power erred, while this,
the weakest and lowliest of our subjects, has 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 messenger, lift your
wands, that we may know who will place their
trust in the Power of Love."
Every fairy wand glistened in the air, as with
silvery voices they cried, Love, and little Violet."
Then down from the throne, hand in hand
came the Queen and Violet, and till the moon
sank did the fairies toil, to weave a wreath of the
fairest flowers. Tenderly they gathered them,
with the night-dew fresh upon their leaves, and as
they wove chanted sweet spells, and whispered
fairy blessings on the bright messengers whom
they sent forth to die in a dreary land, that their
gentle kindred might bloom unharmed.
At length it was done; and the fair flowers lay
glowing in the starlight, while beside, them stood
the fairies, singing to the music of the wind-
The Frost King.
E are sending
_- _J Forth alone to
Where your gentle sisters may
O'er the cold graves where
But you go to bring them
In the bright homes where
And you softly smile that'tis so,
As we sadly sing farewell.
"0 plead with gentle words
And whisper tenderly
Of generous love to that cold
And it will answer ye;
And though you fade in a dreary home,
Yet loving hearts will tell
Of the jojr and peace that you have given:
Flowers, dear flowers, farewell "
The morning sun looked softly down upon the
broad green earth, which like a mighty altar was
sending up clouds of perfume from its breath,
while flowers danced gayly in the summer wind,
and birds sang their morning hymn among the
cool green leaves. Then high above, on shining
wings, soared a little form. The sunlight rested
softly on the silken hair, and the winds fanned
lovingly the bright face, and brought the sweetest
odors to cheer her on.
Thus went Violet through the clear air, and
the earth looked smiling up to her, as, with the
bright wreath folded in her arms, she flew among
the soft, white clouds.
On and on she went, over hill and valley,
broad rivers and rustling woods, till the warm
sunlight passed away, the winds grew cold, and
the air thick with falling snow. Then far below
she saw the Frost-King's home. Pillars of hard,
BRAVEt LITTLE VIOL=ET K"NUI.NG AT TH9
gray ice supported the high, arched roof, hung
with crystal icicles. Dreary gardens lay around
filled with withered flowers and bare, drooping
trees; while heavy clouds hung low in the dark
sky, and a cold wind murmured sadly through the
With a beating heart Violet folded her fading
wreath more closely to her breast, and with weary
wings flew onward to the dreary palace.
Here, before the closed doors, stood many
forms with dark faces and harsh voices, who sternly
asked the shivering little fairy why she came to
Gently she answered, telling them her errand
beseeching them to let her pass ere the cold wind
blighted her frail blossoms ? Then they flung
wide the doors, and she passed in.
Walls of ice, carved with strange figures were
around her ; glittering icicles hung from the high
roof, and soft, white snow covered the hard floors.
On a throne hung with clouds sat the Frost-King;
a crown of crystals bound his white locks, and a
dark mantle wrought with delicate frost work was
folded over his cold breast.
The Frost King.
His stern face could not stay little Violet, and
on through the long hall she went, heedless of the
snow that gathered at her feet, and 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 flowers, as if they knew their part, un-
folded their bright lea-es, and poured forth their
sweetest perfume, as, kneeling at the throne, the
brave little Fairy said,
0 King of blight and sorrow, send me not
away till I have brought back the light and joy
that will make your dark home bright and beauti-
ful again. Let me call back to the desolate gar-
dens the fair forms that are gone, and their soft
voices blessing you will bring to your breast a
never failing joy. Cast by your icy crown and
sceptre, and let the sunlight of love fall softly on
"Then will the earth bloom again in all its
beauty, and your dim eyes will rest only on fair
forms, while music shall sound through these
dreary halls, and the love of grateful hearts be
yours. Have pity on the gentle flower-spirits.
and do not doom them to an early death, when
they might bloom in fadeless beauty, making us
wiser by their gentle teachings, and the earth
brighter by their lovely forms. These fair flow
ers, with the prayers of all Fairy Land, I lay
before you; O send me not away till they are
And with tears falling thick and fast upon their
tender leaves, Violet laid the wreath at his feet,
while 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 seem to look
beseechingly upon him; while the fragrant voices
sounded softly in his ear, telling of their dying
sisters, and 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
I cannot grant your prayer, little Fairy; it is
my will the flowers should die. Go back to your
Queen, and tell her that I can not yield my power
to please these foolish flowers ?"
Then Violet hung the wreath above the throne,
The Frost King.
and with weary feet went forth again, out into the
cold, dark gardens, and still the golden shadows
followed her, and wherever they fell, flowers
bloomed and green leaves rustled.
Then came the Frost-Spirits, and beneath their
cold wings the flowers died, while the Spirits bore
Violet to a low, dark cell, saying as they left her,
that their King was angry that she dared to stay
when he had bid her go.
So all alone she sat, and sad thoughts of her
happy home came back to her, and she wept bit-
terly. But soon came visions of the gentle flow-
ers dying in their forest homes, and their voices
ringing in her ear, imploring her to save them.
Then she wept no longer, but patiently awaited
what might come.
Soon the golden light gleamed faintly through
the cell, and she heard little voices calling for help,
and high up among the heavy cobwebs hung poor
little flies struggling to free themselves, while their
cruel enemies sat in their nets, watching their pain.
With her wand the Fairy broke the bands that
held them, tenderly bound up their broken wings,
and healed their wounds; while they lay in the
warm light, and feebly hummed their thanks to
their kind deliverer.
Then she went to the ugly brown spiders, and
in gentle words told them, how in Fairy Land
their kindred spun all the elfin cloth, and in re-
turn the Fairies gave them food, and then how
happily they lived among the cool green leaves;
spinning garments for their neighbors. "And
you, too," said she, "shall spin for me, and I will
give you 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 gray, that when folded
over his cold heart gentle thoughts may enter in
and make it their home.
And while she gayly sung, the little weavers
spun their silken threads, the flies on glittering
wings flew lovingly above her head, and over all
the golden light shone softly down.
When the Frost-Spirits told their King, he
greatly wondered, and often stole to look at the
sunny little room where friends and enemies
worked peacefully together. Still the light grew
brighter, and floated out into the cold air, where
The Frost King.
it hung like bright clouds above the dreary gar-
dens, whence all the Spirits' power could not drive
it; and green leaves budded on the naked trees,
and flowers bloomed; but the Spirits heaped snow
upon them, and they bowed their heads and died.
At length the mantle was finished, and amid
the gray threads shone golden ones, making it
bright; and she sent it to the King, entreating
him to wear it, for it would bring peace and love
to dwell within his breast.
But he scornfully threw it aside, and bade his
Spirits take her to a colder cell, deep in the earth;
and there with harsh words they left her.
Still she sang gayly on, and the falling drops
kept time so musically, that the King in his cold
ice-halls wondered at the low, sweet sounds that
came stealing up to him.
Thus Violet dwelt, and each day the golden
light grew stronger, and from among the crevices
of the rocky walls came troops of little velvet-
coated moles, praying that. they might listen to
the sweet music, and lie in the warm light.
"We lead," said they, "a dreary life in the
cold earth; the flower roots are dead, and no soft
dews descend for us to drink, no little seed or-leaf
can we find. Ah, good Fairy, let us be your ser-
vants; give us but a few crumbs of your daily
bread, and we will do all in our power to serve
And Violet said, Yes;" so day after day they
labored to make a pathway through the frozen
earth, that she might reach the roots of the
withered flowers; and soon, wherever through the
dark galleries she went, the soft light fell upon the
roots of the flowers, and they with new life, spread
forth in the warm ground, and forced fresh sap to
the blossoms above. Brightly they bloomed and
danced in the soft light, and the Frost-Spirits tried
in vain to harm them, for when they came be-
neath the bright clouds their power to do evil left
From his dark castle the King looked out on
the happy flowers, which nodded gayly to him, and
in sweet odors strove to tell him of the good little
Spirit, who toiled so faithfully below, that they
might live. And when turned from the brightness
without, to his stately palace, it seemed so cold
and dreary, that he folded Violet's mantle round
~~i=Lj;r-~=~ -------;- _--- --~----- --~;Ti~~-Y
him, and sat beneath the faded wreath upon his
ice-carved throne, wondering at the strange
warmth that came from it; till at length he bade
his Spirits bring the little Fairy from her dismal
Soon they came hastening back, and. prayed
him to come and see how lovely the dark cell had
grown. The rough floor was spread with deep
green moss, and over wall and roof grew flowery
vines, filling the air with their sweet breath; while
above played the clear, soft light, casting rosy
shadows on 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 rooms,
gentle thoughts within whispered him to grant her
prayer, and 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
were, and useless to a King. Then the stern,
cold thoughts came back again, and he harshly
bid her follow him.
The Frost King.
With a sad farewell to her little friends she
followed him, and before the throne awaited his
command. When the King saw how pale and
sad the gentle face had grown, how thin her robe,
and weak her wings, and yet how lovingly the
golden shadows fell around her and brightened as
they lay upon the wand, which, guided by patient
love, had made his once desolate home so bright,
he could not be cruel to the one who had done so
much for him, and in kindly tone said,
Little Fairy, I offer you two things, and you
may choose between them. If I will vow never
more to harm the flowers you may love, will 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 broad, and we
can find them in any land, then 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 I, heedless of their beauty, doom
them to pain and grief, that I might save my own
dear blossoms from the cruel foes to which I leave
them? Ah no! sooner would I dwell forever in
your darkest cell, than lose the love of those
warm, trusting hearts."
"Then listen," said the King, "to the task I
give you. You shall raise up for me a palace
fairer than this, and if you can work that miracle
I will grant your prayer or lose my kingly crown.
And now go forth, and 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 long, her
strength was nearly gone. But the flowers whis-
pered their gratitude, and 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 care, courage and strength re-
turned; and raising up thick clouds of mist, that
hid her from the wondering flowers, alone and
trustingly she began her work.
As the time went by, the Frost-King feared the
task had been too hard for the Fairy; sounds
were heard behind the walls of mist, bright
The Frost King.
shadows seen to pass within, but the little voice
was never heard. Meanwhile the golden light
had faded from the garden, the flowers bowed
their heads, and all was dark and cold as when
the gentle Fairy came.
And to the stern King this seemed more deso-
late and sad, for he missed the warm light, the
happy flowers, and, more than all, the gay voice
and bright face of little Violet. So he wandered
through his dreary palace, wondering how he had
been content to live before without sunlight and
And little Violet was mourned as dead in Fairy
Land, and many tears were shed, for the gentle
Fairy was beloved by all, from the Queen to the
humblest flower. Sadly they watched over every
bird and blossom which she had loved, and strove
to be like her in kindly words and deeds. They
wore cypress wreaths, and spoke of her as one
whom they should never see again.
Thus they dwelt in deepest sorrow, till one day
there came to them an unknown messenger,
wrapped in a dark mantle, who looked with won-
dering eyes on the bright palace, and flower-
crowned Elves, who kindly welcomed him, and
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, as she could not make a fairer
home than the ice-castle, the King wished her
kindred near to comfort her and to bear her
home. And while the Elves wept, she told them
how patiently she had toiled, how her fadeless love
had made the dark cell bright and beautiful.
These and many other little things he told
them; for little Violet had won the love of many
of the Frost-Spirits, and even when they killed
the flowers she had toiled so hard to bring to
life and beauty, she spoke gentle words to
them, and sought to teach them how beautiful
is love. Long stayed the messenger, and deeper
grew his wonder that the Fairy could have left
so fair a home, to toil in the dreary palace of
his cruel master, and suffer cold and weariness,
to give life and joy to the weak and sorrowing.
When the Elves promised they would come, he
The Frost King. 31
bade farewell to happy Fairy-Land, and flew
At last the time arrived, and out in his barren
garden, under a canopy of dark clouds, sat the
Frost King before the misty wall, behind which
were heard low, sweet sounds, as of rustling trees
and warbling birds.
Soon through the air came many-colored troops
of Elves. First the Queen, known by the silver
lilies on her snowy robe and the bright crown in
her hair, beside whom flew a band of Elves in
crimson and gold, making sweet music on their
flower-trumpets, while all around, with smiling
faces and bright eyes, fluttered her loving subjects.
On they came, like a flock of brilliant butter-
flies, their shining wings and many-colored gar-
ments sparkling in the dim air; and soon the
leafless trees were gay with living flowers, and
their sweet voices filled the gardens with music.
Like his subjects, the King looked on the lovely
Elves, and no longer wondered that the little
Violet wept and longed for her home. Darker
and more desolate seemed his stately home, and
when the Fairies asked for flowers, he felt ashamed
that he had none to give them.
At length a warm wind swept through the gar-
The Frost King.
dens, and the mist-clouds passed away, while in
silent wonder looked the Frost King and the
Elves upon the scene before them.
Far as the eye could reach were tall green
trees, whose drooping boughs made graceful
arches, through which the golden light shone
softly, making bright shadows on the deep green
moss below, where the fairest flowers waved in
the cool wind, and sang, in their low, sweet 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 roof, and flocks of silver-winged birds flew
singing among the flowers, or brooded lovingly
above their nests. Doves with gentle eyes cooed
among the green leaves, snow-white clouds floated
in the sunny sky, and the golden light, brighter
than before, shone softly down.
Soon through the long aisles came Violet,
flowers and green leaves rustling as she passed.
On she went to the Frost-King's throne, bearing
two crowns, one of sparkling icicles, the other of
pure white lilies, and kneeling before him said,
My task is done, and, thanks to the spirits
of earth and air, I have made as fair a home as
Elfin hands can form. You must now decide,
Will you be King of Flower Land, and own my
gentle kindred for your loving friends ? Will you
possess unfading peace and joy, and the grate-
ful 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
home, and 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 earth, and win for
yourself the fear and hatred of those who would
so gladly love and reverence you. Then take this
glittering crown, hard and cold as your own heart
will be, if you will shut out all that is bright and
beautiful. Both are before you. Choose."
The old King looked at the little Fairy, and
saw how lovingly the bright shadows gathered
round her, as if to shield her from every harm;
the timid birds nestled in her bosom, and the
flowers grew fairer, as she looked upon them;
while her gentle friends, with tears in their bright
The Frost King.
eyes, folded their hands beseechingly, and smiled
Kind thoughts came thronging to his mind,
and he turned to look at the two palaces. Vio-
let's, so fair and beautiful, with rustling trees,
calm, sunny skies, and happy birds and flowers,
all created by her patient love and care. His
own, so cold and dark and dreary, his empty
gardens where no flowers could bloom, no green
trees dwell, or gay birds sing, all desolate and
dim; and while he gazed, his own Spirits, casting
off their dark mantles, knelt 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 freedom, that we may learn to
be loved 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 crown, and we will be the
truest subjects you have ever had."
Then, amid a burst of wild, sweet music, the
Frost King placed the Flower crown on his head,
and knelt to little Violet; while far and near, over
the broad green earth, sounded the voices of the
flowers, singing their thanks to the gentle Fairy,
and the summer wind was laden with perfumes,
which they sent as tokens of their gratitude; and
wherever she went, old trees bent down to fold
their slender branches round her, flowers laid
their soft faces against her own, and whispered
blessings; even the humble moss bent over the
little feet, and kissed them as they passed.
The old King, surrounded by the happy Fair-
ies, sat in Violet's lovely home, and watched his
icy castle melt away beneath the bright sunlight;
while his Spirits, cold and gloomy no longer,
danced with the Elves, and waited on their King
with loving eagerness. Brighter grew the golden
light, gayer sang the birds, and the harmonious
voices of grateful flowers sounding over the earth,
carried new joy to all their gentle kindred.
The Frost King.
RIGHTER shone the golden shad-
On the cool wind softly came
The low, sweet tones of happy
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 conquered, and his cold heart
Warmed the music, love, and light;
And his fair home, once so dreary,
Gay with lovely Elves and flowers,
Brought a joy that never faded
Through the long bright summer hours.
38 Flower Fables.
Thus, by Violet's magic power,
All dark shadows passed away,
And o'er the home of happy flowers
The golden light forever 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 ceased, another little Elf came
forward; and this was the tale "Silver Wing"
Visit to Fairy Land.
/ Down among the grass and
I : fragrant clover lay little Eva by the
brookside, watching the bright waves, as
they went singing by under the drooping
flowers that grew on its banks. As she
was wondering where the waters went,
she heard a faint, low sound, as of far-off
music. She thought it was the wind, but
not a leaf was stirring, and soon through
the rippling water came a strange little
It was a lily of the valley, whose tall stem
formed the mast, while the broad leaves that rose
from the roots, and dropped again till they
reached the water, were filled with gay little
Elves, who danced to the music of the silver lily-
bells above, that rang a merry peal, and filled the
air with their fragrant breath.
On came the fairy boat, till it reached a moss-
grown rock; and here it stopped, while the Fai-
ries rested beneath the violet leaves and sang
with the dancing waves.
Eva looked with wonder on their gay faces
and bright garments, and in the joy of her heart
sang too, and threw crimson fruit for the little
folks to feast upon.
They looked kindly on the child, and, after
whispering among themselves, two little bright-
eyed Elves flew over the shining water, and,
lighting on the clover-blossoms, said gently, "Lit-
tle maiden, many thanks for your kindness; and
our Queen bids us ask you if you will go with us
to Fairy Land, and learn what we can teach you."
"Gladly would I go with you, dear Fairies,"
said Eva, "but I cannot sail in your little boat.
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
See! I can hold you in my hand, and could not
live among you without harming your tiny king-
dom, I'am so large."
Then the Elves laughed gayly, as they folded
their arms about her, saying, "You are a good
child, dear Eva, to 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 brook, and saw a tiny
child standing between the Elves. Now I can
go with you," said she, but see, I can no longer
step from the bank to yonder stone, for the brook
seems now like a great river, and you have not
given me wings like yours."
But the Fairies took each a hand, and flew
lightly over the stream. The Queen and her
subjects came to meet her, and all seemed glad
to say some kindly word of welcome to the little
stranger. They placed a flower-crown upon her
head, laid 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 with us, little one."
Then there was a- great bustle, as they flew
about on shining wing, some laying cushions ot
violet leaves in the boat, others folding the
Queen's veil and mantle more closely round her,
lest the falling dews should chill her.
The cool waves' gentle splashing against the
boat, and the sweet chime of the lily-bells, lulled
little Eva to sleep, and when she was woke it was
in Fairy Land. A faint, rosy light, as of the set-
ting sun, shone on the white pillars of the Queen's
palace as they passed in, and the sleeping flowers
leaned gracefully on their dreaming beneath their
soft green curtains. All was cool and still, and
the Elves glided silently about, lest they should
break their slumbers. They led Eva to a bed of
pure white leaves, above which drooped the fra-
grant petals of a crimson rose.
"You can look at the bright colors till the
light fades, and then the rose will sing you to
sleep," said the Elves, as they folded the soft
leaves about her, gently kissing her, and stole
Long she lay watching the bright shadows, and
listening to the song of the rose, while through
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
the long night dreams of lovely things floated like
bright clouds through her mind; while the rose
bent lovingly above her, and sang in the clear
With the sun rose the Fairies, and, with Eva,
hastened away to the fountain, whose cool waters
were soon filled with little forms, and the air ring-
ing with happy voices, as the Elves floated in the
blue waves among the fair lilies, or sat on the
green moss, smoothing their bright locks, and
wearing garlands of dewy flowers. At length
the Queen came forth, and her subjects gath-
ered round her and while the flowers bowed
their heads, and the trees hushed their rustling,
the Fairies sang their morning hymn to the Father
of birds and blossoms, who had made the earth
so fair a home for them.
Then they flew away to the gardens, and soon,
high up among the tree-tops, or under the broad
leaves, sat the Elves in little groups, taking their
breakfast of fruit and pure fresh dew; while the
bright-winged birds came fearlessly among them,
pecking the same ripe berries, and dipping their
little beaks in the same flower-cups, and the
Fairies folded their arms lovingly about them,
smoothed their soft bosoms, and gayly sang to
"Now, little Eva," said they, "you will see
that Fairies are not idle, wilful Spirits, as mortals
believe. Come, we will show you what we do."
They led her to a lovely room, through whose
walls of deep green leaves the light stole softly
in. Here lay many wounded insects, and harm-
less little creatures, whom cruel hands had hurt;
and pale, drooping flowers grew beside urns of
healing herbs, from whose fresh leaves came a
faint, sweet perfume.
Eva wondered, but silently followed her guide,
little Rose-Leaf, who with tender words passed
among the delicate blossoms, pouring dew on
their feeble roots, cheering 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 much, dear Gauzy-Wing?"
asked the Fairy. "I will bind up your poor little
leg, and Zephyr shall rock you to sleep." So she
folded the cool leaves tenderly about the poor fly,
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land
bathed his wings, and brought him refreshing
drink, while he hummed his thanks, and forgot
his pain, as Zephyr softly sung and fanned him
with her waving wings.
They passed on, and Eva saw beside each bed
a Fairy, who with gentle hands and loving words
soothed the suffering insects. At length they
stopped beside a bee, who lay among sweet
honeysuckle flowers, in a cool, still place, where
the summer wind blew in, and the green leaves
rustled pleasantly. Yet he seemed to find no
rest, and murmured of the pain he was doomed
to bear. Why must I lie here, while my kin-
dred are out in the pleasant fields enjoying the
sunlight and the fresh air, and 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 here,
Rose-Leaf, and bind up my wounds, for I am far
more useful than idle bird or fly."
Then said the Fairy, while she bathed the
Love-Blossom, you should not murmur. We
may find happiness in seeking to be patient even
while we suffer. You are not forgotten or un-
cared for, but others need our care more than
you, and to those who take cheerfully the pain
and sorrow sent, do we most gladly give our
help. You need not be idle, even though lying
here in darkness and sorrow; you can be taking
from your heart all sad and discontented feelings,
and if love and patience blossom there, you will
be better for the lonely hours spent here. Look
on the bed beside you ; this little dove has suffered
far greater pain than you, and all our care can
never ease it; yet through the long days he hath
lain here, not an unkind word or a repining sigh
hath he uttered. Ah, Love-Blossom, the gentle bird
can teach a lesson you will be wise and better for."
Then a faint voice whispered, "Little Rose-
Leaf, come quickly, or I cannot thank you as I
ought for all your loving care for me."
So they passed to the bed beside the discon-
tented bee, and here upon the softest down lay
the dove, whose eyes looked gratefully upon the
Fairy, as she knelt beside the little couch,
smoothed the soft white bosom, folded her arms
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
about it and wept sorrowing tears, while the bird
still whispered its gratitude and love.
Dear Fairy, the fairest flowers have cheered
me with their sweet breath, fresh dew and frag-
rant leaves have been ready for me, gentle hands
to tend, kindly hearts to love; and for this I can
only thank you and say farewell."
Then the quivering wings were still, and the
patient little dove was dead; but the bee mur-
mured no longer, and the dew from the flowers
fell like tears around the quiet bed.
Sadly Rose-Leaf led Eva away, saying, "Lily-
Bosom shall have a grave to-night beneath our
fairest blossoms, and you shall see that gentleness
and love are prized far above gold or beauty, here
in Fairy Land. Gome now to the Flower Palace,
and see the Fairy Court."
Beneath green arches, bright with birds and
flowers, beside singing waves, went Eva into a
lofty hall. The roof of pure white lilies rested on
pillars of green clustering vines, while many-colored
blossoms threw their bright shadows on the walls,
as they danced below in the deep green moss, and
their low, sweet voice sounded softly through the
sunlit palace, while the rustling leaves kept time.
Beside the throne stood Eva, and watched the
lovely forms around her, as they stood, each little
band in its own color, with glistening wings, and
Suddenly the music grew louder and sweeter,
and the Fairies knelt, and bowed their heads, as
on through the crowd of loving subjects came the
Queen, while the air was filled with gay voices
singing to welcome her.
She placed the child beside her, saying, Little
Eva, you shall see now how the flowers on your
great earth bloom so brightly. A band of loving
little gardeners go daily forth from Fairy Land, to
tend and watch them, that no harm may befall the
gentle spirits that dwell beneath their leaves.
This is never known, for like all good it is unseen
by mortal eyes, and unto only pure hearts like
yours do we make known our secret. The hum-
blest flower that grows is visited by our mes-
sengers, and often blooms in fragrant beauty,
unknown, unloved by all save Fairy friends, who
seek to fill the spirits with all sweet and gentle
virtues, that they may not be useless on the earth:
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
for the noblest mortals stoop to learn of flowers.
Now, Eglantine, what have you to tell us 'of your
rosy namesakes on the earth?"
From a group of Elves, whose rose-wreathed
wands showed the flower they loved, came one
bearing a tiny urn, answering 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 tell of any evil
thought within their fragrant bosoms, and thus
from the fairest of their race have they gathered
this sweet dew, as a token of their gratitude to
one whose tenderness and care have kept them
pure and happy ; and this, the loveliest of their
sisters, have I brought to place among the Fairy
flowers that never pass away."
Eglantine laid the urn before the Queen, and
placed the fragrant rose on the dewy moss beside
the throne, while the murmur of approval went
through the hall, as each elfin wand waved to the
little Fairy who had toiled so well and faithfully,
and could bring so fair a gift to their good
Then came forth an Elf bearing a withered
leaf, while her many-colored robe and purple tul-
ips in her hair told her name and charge.
"Dear Queen," she sadly said, "I would
gladly bring as pleasant tidings as my sister, but,
alas my flowers are proud and wilful, and when
I went to gather my little gift of colored leaves
for royal garments, they bade me bring this with-
ered blossom and tell you they would serve no
longer one who will not make them Queen over
all the other flowers. They would yield neither
dew or honey, but proudly closed their leaves and
bid me go."
Your task has been too hard for you," said the
Queen kindly, as she place the drooping flower
in the urn Eglantine had given, "you will see
how this dew from a sweet, pure heart will give
new life and loveliness even to this poor faded
one. So can you, dear Rainbow, by loving words
and gentle teachings, bring back lost purity and
peace to those whom pride and selfishness have
blighted. Go once again to the proud flowers,
and tell them when they are queen of their own
hearts they will ask no fairer kingdom. Watch
more tenderly than ever over them, see that they
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
lack neither dew nor air, speak lovingly to them,
and 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 come, you will be laden with gifts from hum-
ble, loving flowers."
Thus they told what they had done, and re-
ceived 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-leaves,
and the sweet language of the birds, and all that
make a Fairy heart wiser and better."
Then into a cheerful place they went, here
were many groups of flowers, among, whose
leaves sat the child Elves, and learned from their
flower-books all that Fairy hands had written
there. Some studied how to watch the tender
buds, when to spread them to the sunlight, and
when to shelter them from rain; how to guard the
ripening seeds, and when to lay them in the warm
earth or send them on the summer wind to far-off
hills and valleys, where other Fairy hands would
tend and cherish them, till a sisterhood of happy
flowers spring up to beautify and gladden the
lonely spot where they had fallen. Others
learn to heal the wounded insects, whose frail
limbs a breeze could shatter, and who, were it
not for the Fairy hands, die, ere their happy
summer life had gone. Some learned how by
pleasant dreams to cheer and comfort mortal
hearts, by whispered words of love to save from
evil deeds those who had gone astray, to fill
young hearts with gentle thoughts and pure affec-
tions, that no sign might mar the beauty of the
human flower; while others, like mortal children,
learned the Fairy alphabet. Thus the Elves
made loving friends by care and love, and no
evil thing could harm them, for those they helped
to cherish and protect ever watched to shield and
Eva nodded to the gay little ones, as they
peeped from among the leaves at the stranger,
and then she listened to the Fairy lessons. Sev-
eral tiny Elves stood on a broad leaf while the
teacher sat among the petals of a flower that bent
beside them, and asked questions that none but
Fairies would care to know.
"Twinkle, if there lay nine seeds within a
flower-cup and the wind bore five away, how
many would the blossom have?"
"Four," replied the little one.
"Rosebud, if a cowslip opens three leaves in
one day and four the next, how many rosy leaves
will there be when the whole flower has bloomed?"
Seven," sang the gay little Elf.
Harebell, if a silk worm spin one yard of
Fairy cloth in an hour, how many will it spin in a
"Twelve," said the Fairy child.
Primrose,_where lies Violet Island?"
"In the Lake of Ripples."
"Lilla, you may bound Rose-Land."
On the north by Ferndale, south by Sunny
Wave River, east by the hill of Morning Clouds,
and west by the Evening Star."
"Now, little ones," said the teacher, "you go
to your painting, that our visitor may see how we
repair the flowers that earthly hands have injured."
Then Eva saw how on large, white leaves, the
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
Fairies learned to imitate the lovely colors, and
with tiny brushes to brighten the blush on the
anemone's cheek, to deepen the blue of the Vio-
let's eye, and add new light to the golden cow-
"You have stayed long enough," said the
Elves at length, "we have many things to show
you. Come now and see what is our dearest
So Eva said farewell to the child Elves, and
hastened with little Rose-Leaf to the gates. Here
she saw many bands of Fairies, folded in dark
mantles that mortals might not know them, who,
with the child among them, flew away over hill
and valley. Some went to the cottages amid the
hills, some to the seaside 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 learned, for the Fairy band went among the
poor and friendless, bringing pleasant dreams to
the sick and old, sweet, tender thoughts of love and
gentleness to the young, strength to the weak,
and patient cheerfulness to the poor and lonely.
Then the child wondered no longer, but deeper
grew her love for the tender-hearted Elves, who
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
joy, and brought such happiness to theirs.
Long they stayed, and many a lesson little Eva
learned; but when she begged them to go back,
they still led her on, saying, "Our work is not
yet done; shall we leave so many sad hearts
when we may cheer them, so many dark homes
that we may brighten ? We must stay yet longer,
little Eva, and you may learn yet more."
Then they went into a dark and lonely room,
and where they found a pale, sad-eyed child, who
wept bitter tears over a faded flower.
"Ah," sighed the little one, "it was my only
friend, and I cherished it with all my heart's love ;
'twas all that made my sad life happy ; and it is
Tenderly the child fastened the drooping stem,
and placed it where the one faint ray of sunlight
stole into the room.
Eva's Visit to Fairy Lan&
Do you see," said the Elves, through this
simple flower will we keep the child pure and
stainless amid the sin and sorrow around her.
The love of this shall lead her on through temp-
tation and through grief, and she shall be a spirit
of joy and consolation to the sinful and sorrow-
And with busy love toiled the Elves amid the
withered leaves, and new strength was given to
the flower; while, as day by day the friendless
child watched the growing buds, deeper grew her
love for the unseen friends who had given her one
thing to cherish in her lonely home; sweet,
gentle thoughts filled her heart as she bent above
it, and 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 night, and happy thoughts by day, and as she
grew in childlike beauty, pure and patient amid
poverty and sorrow, the sinful were rebuked, sor-
rowing hearts grew light, and the weak and selfish
forgot their idle fears, when they saw her trust-
ingly 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
hearts, that learned of a gentle child to bear pov-
erty and grief as she had done, to forgive those
who brought care and wrong to them, and to seek
for happiness in humble deeds of charity and love.
Our work is done," whispered the Elves, and
with' blessings on the two fair flowers, they flew
away to other homes;-to a blind old man who
dwelt alone with none to love him, till through
long years of darkness and of silent sorrow the
heart within had grown dim and cold. No sun-
light could enter at the darkened eyes, and none
were near to whisper gentle words, to cheer and
Thus he dwelt forgotten and alone, seeking to
give no joy to others, possessing none himself.
Life was dark and sad till the untiring Elves came
to his dreary home, bringing sunlight and love.
They whispered sweet words of comfort-how, if
the darkened eyes could find no light without,
within there might be never-failing happiness:
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
gentle feelings and sweet, loving thoughts could
make the heart fair, if the gloomy, selfish sorrow
were but cast away, and all would be bright and
They brought light-hearted children, who gath-
ered round him, making the desolate home fair
with their young faces, and his sad heart gay
with their sweet, childish voices. The love they
bore he could not cast away, sunlight stole in, the
dark thoughts passed away, and the earth was a
pleasant home for him.
Thus their little hands led him back to peace
and happiness, flowers bloomed beside his door,
and 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
soul, that never failed to calm and comfort.
Happy sounds were heard in his once lonely
home, and bright faces gathered round his knee,
and listened tenderly while he strove to tell them
all the good that gentleness and love had done
Still the Elves watched near, and brighter
grew the heart as kindly thoughts and tender
feelings entered in, and made it their home, and
when the old man fell asleep, above his grave
little feet trod lightly, and loving hands laid fra
Then went the Elves into dreary prison-houses,
where sad hearts pined in lonely sorrow for the
joy and freedom they had lost. To these came
the loving band with tender words, telling of the
peace they might yet win by patient striving and
repentant tears, thus waking in their bosoms all
the holy feelings and sweet affections that had
slept so long.
They told pleasant tales, and sang their sweet-
est songs to cheer and gladden, while the dim
cells grew-bright with the sunlight, and fragrant
flowers the loving Elves had brought, and by their
gentle teachings those sad, .despairing 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
faithful Fairies, and when at length they turned
towards Fairy Land, many were the grateful,
happy hearts they left behind.
Then through the summer sky, above the
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land
blossoming earth, they journeyed home, happier
for the joy they had given, wiser for the good
they had done.
All Fairy Land was dressed in flowers, and the
soft wind went sighing by, laden with their fra-
grant breath. Sweet music sounded through the
air, and troops of Elves in their gayest robes has-
tened to the palace where the feast was spread.
Soon the bright hall was filled with smiling
faces and fair forms, and little Eva, as she stood
beside the Queen, thought she had never seen a
sight so lovely.
The many-colored shadows of the fairest
flowers played on the white walls, and fountains
sparkled in the sunlight, making music as the
cool waves rose and fell, while two and fro with
waving wings and joyous voices, went the smiling
Elves, bearing fruit and honey, or fragrant gar-
lands for each other's hair.
Long they feasted, gayly they sang, and Eva
danced merrily among them, longed to be an Elf
that she might dwell forever in so fair a home.
At length the music ceased, and the Queen
said, as she laid her hand on little Eva's shining
"Dear child, to-morrow we must bear you
home, for, much as we long to keep you, it were
wrong to bring such sorrow to your loving earthly
friends; therefore we will guide you to the brook-
side, and there say farewell till you come again to
visit us. Nay, do not weep, dear Rose-Leaf; you
shall watch over little Eva's flowers, and when
she looks at them she will think of you. Come
now and lead her to the Fairy garden, and show
her what we think our fairest sight. Weep no
more, but 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 child, and,
with Rose-Leaf by her side, they led her through
the palace, and along green, winding paths, till
Eva saw what seemed a wall of flowers rising
before her, while the air was filled with the most
fragrant odors, and low, sweet music as of sing-
Where have you brought me, and what mean
these lovely sounds ?" asked Eva.
rBED WITH ELVES.
/A flldilt I Y'
"Look here, and you shall see," said Rose
Leaf, as she bent aside the vines, "but listen
silently or you cannot hear."
Then Eva, looking through the drooping vines,
beheld a garden filled with the loveliest flowers;
fair as were all the blossoms she had seen in
Fairy Land, none were so beautiful as these.
The rose glowed with a deeper crimson, the
lily's soft leaves were more purely white, the
crocus and humble cowslip shone like sunlight,
and the violet was blue as the sky that smiled
"How beautiful they are," whispered Eva,
"but, dear Rose-Leaf, why do you keep them
here, and why call you this your fairest sight?"
"Look again, and I will tell you," answered
Eva looked, and saw from every flower a tiny
form come forth to welcome the Elves who all,
save Rose-Leaf had flown above the wall, and were
now scattering dew upon the flowers' bright leaves
and talking gayly with the Spirits, who gathered
round them, and seemed full of joy that they had
come. The child saw that each one wore the
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land.
colors of the flower that was its home. Delicate
and graceful were the little forms, bright the
silken hair that fell about each lovely face; and
Eva heard the low, sweet murmur of their silvery
voices and the rustle of their wings. She gazed
in silent wonder, forgetting she knew not who
they were till the Fairy said,
"These are the spirits of the flowers, and this
the Fairy Home where those whose hearts were
pure and loving on the earth come to bloom in
fadeless beauty here, when their earthly life is
past. The humblest flower that blooms has a
home with us, for 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 home, and
she dwelt unknown, unloved; yet patient and
content, bearing cheerfully the sorrows sent her.
We watched and saw how fair and sweet the
humble flower grew, and then gladly bore her
here, to blossom with the lily and the rose. The
flowers' lives are often short, for cruel hands de-
stroy them; therefore is it our greatest joy to
bring them hither, where no careless foot or wintry
wind can harm them, where they bloom in quiet
beauty, repaying our care by their love and sweet-
I will never break another flower," cried Eva;
"but let me go to them, dear Fairy; I would
gladly know the lovely spirits, and ask forgiveness
for the sorrow I have caused. May I not go in ?"
"Nay, dear Eva, you are a mortal child, and
cannot enter here; but I will tell them of the kind
maiden who has learned to love them, and they
will remember you when you have gone. Come
now, for you have seen enough, and we must be
On a rosy morning cloud, surrounded by the
loving Elves, went Eva through the sunny sky.
The fresh wind bore them gently on, and soon
they stood again beside the brook, whose waves
danced brightly as if to welcome them.
Now, ere we say farewell," said the Queen,
as they gathered nearer to the child, "tell me,
dear Eva, what among all our Fairy gifts will
make you happiest, and it shall be yours."
"You good little Fairies," said Eva, folding
them in her arms, for she was no longer the tiny
Eva's Visit to Fairy Land
child she had been in Fairy Land, "you dear good
little Elves, what can I ask of you, who have done
so much to make me happy, and 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 your-
selves, as tender and loving to the weak and
sorrowing, as untiring in kindly deeds to all.
Grant me this gift, and you shall see that little
Eva has not forgotten what you have taught her."
"The power is yours," said the Elves, and laid
their soft hands on her head; we will watch over
you in dreams, and when you would have tidings
of us, ask the flowers in your garden, and they
will tell you all you would know. Farewell.
Remember Fairy Land and all your loving
They clung about her tenderly, and little Rose-
Leaf placed a flower crown on her head, whisper-
ing softly, "When you would come to us again,
stand by the brook-side and wave this in the air,
and we will gladly take you to our home again.
Farewell, dear Eva. Think of your little Rose-
Leaf when among the flowers."
Long Eva watched their shining wings, and
listened to the music of their voices as they flew
singing home, and when at length the last little
form had vanished among the clouds, she saw that
all around here where the Elves had been, the
fairest flowers had sprung up, and the lonely
brook-side was a blooming garden.
Thus she stood among the waving blossoms,
with the Fairy garland in her hair, and happy feel-
ings in her heart, better and wiser for her visit to
Now, Star-Twinkle, what have you to teach?"
asked the Queen.
Nothing but a little song I heard the hare-
bells singing," replied the Fairy, and, taking her
harp, sang, in a low, sweet voice,
The Flower's Lesson.
HERE grew a fragrant rose-tree
where the brook flows,
With two little tender buds, and
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
Then silently in odors they communed with each
The two little buds on the bosom of their mother.
"0 sister," said the little one, as she gazed at the
"I wish that the Dew Elves, as they wander
Would bring me a star; for they never grow dim,
And the Father does not need them to burn
The shining drops of dew the Elves bring each
And place in my bosom, so soon pass away;
But a star would glitter brightly through the long
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 low, and come alike to all.
I would be fair and stately, with a bright star to
And give a queenly air to this crimson robe of
And proudly she cried, These fire-flies shall be
My jewels, since 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,
The Flower's Lesson.
And it fell on her mother like a tear of grief,
While she folded to her breast, with wilful pride,
A glittering fire-fly that hung by her side.
" Heed," said the mother-rose, "daughter mine,
Why should thou seek for beauty not.thine?
The Father hath made thee what thou now art;
And what he most loveth is a sweet, pure 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 Heaven, and can never come
Like the fire-fly thou hast in that foolish breast of
O my foolish little bud, do listen to thy mother;
Care only for true beauty, and seek for no other.
There will be grief and trouble in that wilful little
Unfold thy leaves, my daughter, and let the fly
But the proud little bud would have her own will,
And folded the fire-fly more closely still;
Till the struggling insect tore open its vest
Of purple and green, that covered her breast.
When the sun came up, she saw with grief
The blooming of her sister bud leaf by leaf.
While she, once as fair and bright as the rest,
Hung her weary head down on her wounded
Bright grew the sunshine, and the soft summer air
Was filled with music of flowers singing there;
But faint grew the little bud with thirst and pain;
And longed for the cool dew; but now 'twas in
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
On her bosom to rest, and tenderly she said:
"Thou hast learned, my little bud, that, whatever
The Flower's Lesson.
Thou canst win thyself no joy by passion or by
The loving Father sends the sunshine and the
That thou mayst become a perfect little flower;
The sweet dews to feed thee, the soft wind to
And the earth as a pleasant home, while thou art
Then shouldst -thou not be grateful for all this
And strive to keep thyself most innocent and fair ?
Then seek, my little blossom, to win humility;
Be fair without, be pure within, and thou wilt
So when the quiet Autumn of thy fragrant life
Thou mayst pass away, to bloom in the Flower
Then from the mother's breast, where it still lay
Into the fading bud the dewdrop gently slid;
Stronger grew the little form, and happy tears fell,
As the dew did its silent work, and the bud grew
While the gentle rose leaned, with motherly pride,
O'er the fair little ones that bloomed at her side.
Night came again, and the fire-flies flew;
But the bud let them pass, and drank of the
While the soft stars shone, from the still summer
On the happy little flower that had learned the
The music-loving Elves clapped their hands, as
Star Twinkle ceased; and the Queen placed a
flower crown, with a gentle smile, upon the Fairy's
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 next, Zephyr."
The Flower's Lesson. 75
And the little Fairy, who lay .rocking to and
fro upon a fluttering vine-leaf, thus began her
"As I lay resting in the bosom of a cowslip
that bent above the brook, a little wind, tired of
play, told me this tale of
Once upon a time, two little
fairies went out into the world,
to seek their fortune. Thistle-
down was as gay and gallant a
little Elf as ever spread a wing. His
purple mantle, and doublet of green,
were embroidered with the brightest
threads, and the plume in his cap
came always from the wing of the
But he was not loved in Fairy
Land, for, like the flower whose name
LilyBell and the Thistledown.
and colors he wore, though fair to look upon,
many were the little thorns of cruelty and selfish-
ness that lay concealed by his gay mantle. Many
a gentle flower and harmless bird died by his
hand, for he cared for himself alone, and whatever
gave him pleasure must be his, though happy
hearts were rendered sad, and peaceful homes
Such was Thistledown; but far different was
his little friend, Lily-Bell. Kind, compassionate,
and loving, wherever her gentle face was seen,
joy 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
Nor did this make her vain and heedless of
others; she humbly dwelt among them, seeking
to do all the good she might; and many a house-
less bird and hungry insect that Thistledown had
harmed did she feed and shelter, and in return no
evil could befall her, for so many friends were all
about her, seeking to repay her tenderness and
love by their watchful care.
She would not now have left Fairy Land, but
to help and counsel her wild companion, Thistle-
down, who, discontented with his quiet home,
would seek his fortune in the great world, and she
feared he would suffer from his own faults, for
others would not always be as gentle and forgiv-
ing as his kindred. So the kind little Fairy left her
home and friends to go with him; and thus, side
by side, they flew beneath the bright summer sky.
On and on, over hill and valley, they went,
chasing the gay butterflies, or listening to the
bees, as they flew from flower to flower like busy
little housewives, singing as they worked; till at
last they reached a pleasant garden, filled with
flowers and green, old trees.
"See," cried thistledown, what a lovely home
is here; let us rest among the cool leaves, and hear
the flowers sing, for I am sadly tired and hungry."
So into the quiet garden they went, and the
winds gayly welcomed them, while the flowers
nodded on their stems, offering their bright leaves
for the Elves to rest upon, and fresh, sweet honey
to refresh them.
Now, dear thistle, do not harm these friendly
blossoms," said Lily-Bell; "see how kindly they
LilyBell and the Thistledown. 79
spread their leaves, and 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
sake, dear Thistle.
Then she went among the flowers, and they
bent lovingly before her, and laid their soft leaves
against her little face, that she might see how glad
they were to welcome one so good and gentle, and
kindly offered their dew and honey to the weary
little Fairy, who sat among their fragrant petals
and looked smilingly on the happy blossoms, who,
with their soft, low voices, sang her to sleep.
While Lily-Bell lay dreaming among the rose-
leaves, Thistledown went wandering through the
garden. First he robbed the bees of their honey,
and rudely shook the little flowers, that he might
get the dew they had gathered to bathe their buds
in. Then he chased the bright winged flies, and
wounded them with the sharp thorn he carried for
a sword; he broke the spider's shining webs,
lamed the birds, and soon wherever he passed lay
wounded insects and drooping flowers; while the
winds carried the tidings over the garden, and bird
and blossom looked upon him as an evil spirit,
and fled away or closed their leaves, lest he
should harm them.
Thus he went, leaving sorrow and pain behind
him, till he came to the roses where Lily-Bell lay
LilyBell and the Thistledown. 8i
sleeping. There, weary of his cruel sport, he
stayed to rest beneath a graceful rose-tree, where
grew one blooming flower and a tiny bud.
"Why are you so slow in blooming, little
one? You are too old to be rocked in your green
cradle longer, and should be out among your
sister flowers," said Thistle, as he lay idly in the
shadow of the tree.
"My little bud is not yet strong enough to
venture forth," replied the rose, as she bent
fondly over it; "the sunlight and the rain would
blight her tender form, were she to blossom now,
but soon she will be fit to bear them; till then
she is content to rest beside her mother, and to
"You silly flower," said Thistledown, "see
how quickly I will make you bloom your waiting
is useless." And speaking thus, he pulled rudely
apart the folded leaves, and 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 first, my only one," said she, "and
I have watched over it with such care, hoping it
would soon bloom beside me; and now you have
destroyed it. How could you have harmed the
little helpless one, that never did aught to injure
you?" And while her tears fell like summer
rain, she drooped in grief above her little bud,
and sadly watched it fading in the sunlight; but
the Thistledown, heedless of the sorrow he had
given, spread his wings and flew away.
Soon the sky grew dark, and heavy drops
began to fall. Then Thistle hastened to the lily,
fos her cup was deep, and 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 in, she turned her pale, soft face away,
and answered sadly, "I must shield my little
drooping sisters whom you have harmed, and
cannot let you in."
Then Thistle was very angry, and turned to
find shelter among the stately roses; but they
showed their sharp thorns, and, while their rosy
faces glowed with anger, told him to begone, or
they would repay him for the wrong he had
done their gentle kindred.
Lily.Bell and the Thistledown.
He would have stayed to harm them, but the
rain fell fast, and he hurried away, saying, "The
tulips will take me in, for I have praised their
beauty, and they are vain, foolish flowers."
But when he came, all wet and cold, praying
for shelter among their thick leaves, they only
laughed, and said scornfully, "We know you, and
will not let you in, for you are false and cruel, and
will only bring us sorrow. You need not come
to us for another mantle, when the rain has.
spoiled your fine one; and do not stay here, or
we will do you harm."
Then they waved their broad leaves stormily,
and scattered the heavy drops on his dripping
Now must I go to the humble daisies and
blue violets," said Thistle, "they will be glad to
let in so fine a Fairy, and I shall die in this cold
wind and rain."
So away he flew, as fast as his heavy wings
would bear him, to the daisies; but they nodded
their heads wisely, and closed their leaves yet
closer, saying sharply,
Go away with yourself, and do not imagine
that we will open our leaves to you, and spoil our
seeds by letting in the rain. It serves you rightly;
to gain our love and confidence, and repay it by
such cruelty! You will find no shelter here for
one whose careless hand wounded our little friend
Violet, and broke the truest heart that ever beat
in a flower's breast. We are very angry with
you, wicked Fairy; go away and hide yourself."
"Ah," cried the shivering Elf, "where can I
find shelter? I will go to the violets: they will
forgive me and take me in."
But the daisies had spoken truly; the gentle
little flower was dead, and her blue-eyed sisters
were weeping over her faded leaves.
Now I have no friends," sighed poor Thistle-
down, "and must die of cold. Ah, if I had but
minded Lily-Bell, I might be dreaming beneath
some flower's leaves."
Others can forgive and love, beside Lily-Bell
and Violet," said a faint, sweet voice; I have no
little bud to shelter now, and you can enter here."
It was the rose mother that spoke, and Thistle
saw how pale the bright leaves had grown, and
how the slender stem was bowed. Grieved,
LilyBell and the Thistledown.
ashamed, and wondering at the flower's forgiving
words, he 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 sleep-
ing, thoughts of her lost bud stole in, and the little
heart beat so sadly where he lay, that 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 cruelty, and the sorrow he had
brought to their happy home; and many won-
dered how the rose, who 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
die, but could give no happiness to one who had
taken all my own," said Hyacinth, bending fondly
over the little ones that blossomed by her side.
Dear Violet is not the only one that will leave
us," sobbed Mignonette; "the rose mother will
fade like her little bud, and we shall lose our gen-
tlest teacher. Her last lesson is forgiveness ; let
us show our love for her, and the gentle stranger
Lily-Bell, by allowing no unkind word or thought
of him who brought us all this grief."
The angry words were hushed, and through
the long night nothing was heard but the drop-
ping of the rain, and the low sighs of the rose.
Soon the sunlight came again, and with it Lily-
Bell; but he was ashamed, and stole away.
When the flowers told their sorrow to kind-
hearted Lily-Bell, she wept bitterly at the pain her
friend had given, and with loving words strove to
comfort those whom he had grieved; with gentle
care she healed the wounded birds, and watched
above the flowers he had harmed, bringing each
day dew and sunlight to refresh and strengthen,
till all were well again; and though sorrowing for
their dead friends, still they forgave Thistle for the
sake of her who had done so much for them.
Thus, ere long, buds fairer than that she had lost
lay on the rose mother's breast, and for all she
had suffered she was well repaid by the love of
Lily-Bell and her sister flowers.
And when bird, bee, and blossom were strong
and fair again the gentle Fairy said farewell, and
LilyBell and the Thistledown.
flew away to seek her friend, leaving behind
many grateful hearts, who owed their joy and life
Meanwhile, over hill and dale went Thistle-
down, and 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 him, but he was too proud to his own fault,
and so went on, hoping she would find him.
One day he fell asleep, and when he awoke
the sun had set, and the dew began to fall; the
flower-cups were closed, and he had nowhere to
go, till a friendly little bee, belated by his heavy
load of honey, bid the weary Fairy come with
"Help me to bear my honey home, and you
can stay with us to-night," he kindly said.
So the Thistle gladly went with him, and soon
they came to a pleasant garden, where among
the fairest flowers stood the hive, covered with
vines and overhung with blossoming trees.
Glow-worms stood at the door to light them
home, and as they passed in, the Fairy thought
how charming it must be to dwell in such a lovely
88 Flower Fables.
place. The floor of wax was pure and white as
marble, while the walls were formed of golden
honey-comb, and 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 a bed where
you can rest."
And he led the tired Fairy to a little cell,
where on a bed of flowers he folded his wings
and fell asleep.
As the first ray of sunlight stole in he was
awakened by sweet music. It was the morning
song of the bees.
Lily Bell and the Thistledown.
for the earliest
Of golden sun-
On the rippling waves,
that brightly flow
Beneath the flowering
Awake awake! for the low, sweet 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 work, and sing,
Through the long, bright 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
Fragrant, and fresh, and fair,
Waiting for us, as we singing come
To gather our honey-dew there.
Then spread each wing,
And work, and sing,
Through the long, bright sunny hours;
O'er the pleasant earth
We journey forth,
For a day among the flowers."
LilyBell and the Thistledown.
Soon his friend came to bid him rise, as the
Queen desired to speak with him. So, with his
purple mantle thrown gracefully over his shoulder,
and his little cap held respectfully in his hand, he
followed Nimble-Wing to the great hall, where
the Queen was being served by her pages. Some
bore her fresh dew and honey, some fanned her
with fragrant flower-leaves, while others scattered
the sweetest perfumes on the air.
"Little Fairy," said the Queen, "you are wel-
come to my palace; and we will gladly have you
stay with us, if you will.obey our laws. We do
not spend the pleasant summer days in idleness
and pleasure, but each one labors for the happi-
ness and good of all. If our home is beautiful,
we have made it so by industry; and here, as one
large, loving family, we dwell; no sorrow, care, or
discord can enter in while all obey the voice of
her who seeks to be wise and gentle Queen to
them. If you will stay with us, we will teach you
many things. Order, patience, industry, who can
teach so well as they who are enmblems of these
Our laws are few and simple. You must
each day gather your share of honey, see that
your cell is sweet and fresh, as you yourself
must be ; rise with the sun, and with him to sleep.
You must harm no flower in doing your work,
nor take more than your just share of honey ; for
they so kindly give us food, it were most cruel
to treat them with aught save gentleness and
gratitude. Now will you stay with us, and learn
what even mortal seek to know, that labor brings
true happiness ?
And Thistle said he would stay and dwell
with them; for he was tired of wandering alone,
and thought he might live here till Lily-Bell should
come, or till he was weary of the kind-hearted
bees. Then they took away his gay garments,
and dressed him like themselves, in the black
velvet cloak with golden bands across his breast.
Now come with us," they said. So forth into
the green fields they went, and made their break-
fast among the dewy flowers; and then till the
sun set they flew from bud to blossom, singing
as they went, and Thistle for a while was happier
than when breaking flowers and harming gentle
Lily.Bell and the Thistledown.
But soon he grew tired of working all day in
the sun, and longed to be free again. He could
find no pleasure with the industrious bees, and
sighed to be away with his idle friends, the butter-
flies, so while the others worked he slept or
played, and then, in haste to get his share, he tore
the flowers, and 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 them, that many grew un-
happy and discontented, and they who had before
wished no greater joy than the love and praise
of their kind Queen, now disobeyed and blamed
her for all she had done to them.
Long she bore their unkind words and deeds;
and when at length she found it was the ungrate-
ful Fairy who had wrought all this trouble in her
quiet kingdom, she strove, with sweet, forgiving
words, to show him all the wrong he had done;
but he would not listen, and still went on
destroying the happiness of those who had done
so much for him.
Then, when she saw that no kindness could
touch his heart, she said :
Thistledown, we took you in, a friendless
stranger, fed and clothed you, and made our home
as pleasant to you as we could; and in return for
all our care, you have brought discontent and
trouble to my subjects, grief and care to me. I
cannot let my peaceful kingdom be disturbed
by you; therefore go and seek another home.
You may find other friends, but none will love
you more than we, had 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 angry, and determined to
bring some great sorrow on the good Queen. So
he sought out the idle, wilful bees, whom he had
first made discontented, bidding them follow him,
and win the honey the Queen had stored up for
Let us feast and make merry in the pleasant
summer time," said Thistle; "winter is far off,
why should we waste these lovely days, toiling
to lay up the food we might enjoy now. Come,
we will take what we have made, and think no
more of what the Queen has said."
So while the industrious bees were out among
THISTLEDOWN VISITS THE QUEEN BEE.
the flowers, he -led the drones to the hive, and
took possession of the honey, destroying and lay-
ing waste the home of the kind bees; then, fear-
ing that in their grief and anger they might harm
him, Thistle flew away to make new friends.
After many wanderings, he came at length to
a great forest, and here beside a still lake he
stayed to rest. Delicate wood-flowers grew near
him in the deep green moss, with drooping heads,
as if they listened to the soft wind sighing among
the pines. Bright-eyed birds peeped at him from
their nests, and many-colored insects danced
above the cool, still lake.
"This is a pleasant place," said Thistle; "it
shall be my home for a while. Come hither, blue
dragon-fly, I would gladly make a friend of you,
for I am all alone."
The dragon-fly folded his shining wings beside
the Elf, listened to the tale he told, promised to
befriend the lonely one, and strove to make the
forest a happy home for him.
So here dwelt Thistle, and many kind friends
gathered around him, for he spoke gently to them,
and they knew nothing of the cruel deeds he had
LilyBell and the Thistledown.
done; and for a while he was happy and content.
But at length he grew weary of the gentle birds
and wild-flowers, and sought new pleasure in de-
stroying the beauty he was tired of; and soon the
friends who had so kindly welcomed him looked
upon him as an evil spirit, and shrunk away as he
At length his friend the dragon-fly besought
him to leave the quiet home he had disturbed.
Then Thistle was very angry, and while the dragon-
fly was sleeping among the flowers that hung
over the lake, he led an ugly spider to the spot,
and bade him weave his nets about the sleeping
insect, and 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 wood, leaving sor-
row and trouble behind him.
He had not journeyed far before he grew
weary, and lay down to rest. Long he slept, and
when he awoke, and tried to rise, his hand and
wings were bound; while beside him stood two
strange little figures, with dark faces and gar-