i I I I I I
The Baldwin Library
I I I I I I I I I i ,
R m Florida
DAY AND SON,
Twenty-five Years Lithographern to
44, BERNERS STREET
THIS TINY STORY
DEAR G. O.
STANSTED, Easter, 1895.
" THAT IS THE PRINCESS SILVERDEW."
THE CROWN PITIFUL
E jfairv? Ztorv.
HON MRS. W. F. MAITLAND,
"Herman" and "Jack Frost's Castle,"
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY
PUBLISHED BY TRUSLOVE & HANSON,
143, OXFORD STREET, W.,
AND 6, SLOANE STREET, S.W,
A ROYAL INVITATION 7
illustration-THE QUEEN'S SPECIAL MESSENGER 11
PRINCESS SILVERDEW 16
Illustration-" THAT IS THE PRINCESS SILVERDEW"
(frontispiece) -- 2
THE WITCHES' BREW 24
Illustration "THEY AT LAST CAUGHT SIGHT OF
MADAME CRAPAUD 26
SILVERDEW'S WISH 31
THE TRIAL OF THORNS 40
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM 48
Illustration "You WILL NEVER SEE HIS UGLY
BROWN FACE AGAIN"- 59
THE CROWN PITIFUL.
A ROYAL INVITATION.
DOWN in the deep recess of an emerald
green dell lived three little fairies.
How I wish, dear little people, whoever you
are, who chance to read this story, that I
could take you there, but it would require
the grasshopper's leap or the butterfly's
flight to reach it, and the bright eye of a
robin or a blackbird to spy it out first. Such
a green dell! Carpeted with softest moss
imaginable, with white and blue violets
growing round it, a purling silver stream
beside it, and beautiful lime trees over-
The three little fairies were what are
called wood fairies. They were not very
8 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
splendid to look at; I mean they did not wear
dresses of silver or gold, but were usually clad
in hues that matched the trees. Green in
spring, brown in winter, and in autumn in
varying tints, purple, dark red, golden yellow,
etc. They were not quite grown-up yet, not
quite, these three little elves-but very nearly
so-as you will see, but at present they were
still going to school with Madame Bumble
Now you will ask, I am sure, What
did they learn ?" Well, that is a very
natural question, but it would take such a
long time to answer that I will only say they
learnt what other wood fairies have to learn,
and that includes a great deal. The names
of these fairies were Star-shine-so called
because he had a pet glowworm on the cap
he wore on his small head, so that he shone
in the dark; Green Spear, because he always
carried a long green rush as a spear; and,
lastly, Brown Leaf-he was a little younger
than the other two, and he was rather looked
down on by them. He was not so clever for
A ROYAL LVVITATION. 9
one thing (they thought), and whilst the others
had bright little faces with pink cheeks-
something like the cheeks near this page-
he had a little brown face, and his eyes were
greyish, not sapphire blue, like those of his
two companions. But wait, don't call him
ugly yet. Sometimes there would come over
that little brown face a look of beauty which
cannot be described, and this was not seldom
either, it was when on a bitter winter's day
he came on a mouse pinched with hunger
and cold, or, in the last days of autumn, a
swallow caught by the first frosts and dying,
knowing it would never reach the sunny
land it was too late in starting for; or again
a poor bee, its wings weighed down by the
evening dew, and unable by fatigue to reach
its home. To all these creatures Brown
Leaf would give all the help he could:
sharing his store of nuts with the mouse,
warming the poor swallow in the tiny cave
the fairies lived in in the winter, and if too
late to save life, remaining with the poor bird
to comfort it in a way that only Brown Leaf
Io THE CROWN PITIFUL.
knew how-and many and many a bee had
he sheltered for the night and had dried
its wings, so that in the morning, revived
and gladdened, it flew on its way rejoicing.
The other two fairies thought: This is a
great waste of leisure. "They could not
imagine," they said, "why Brown Leaf spent
so much time over these animals when there
were so many more amusing things to be
done." Brown Leaf could not explain either,
and he would hang his head and go away
by himself when his brother fairies laughed
at him, for he felt he could never make
Not far from where the three fairies lived
there was what you would have called a green
mound, or a very, very large ant or mole
hill, but it was nothing of the kind. I allow
that it looked like a mound or an ant-
hill outside; yes, that is the point, out-
side; so, you see, there was an inside as
well; yes, and a very beautiful inside too.
In short, it was one of the halls where the
King and Queen of the fairies held court
THE QUEEN'S SPECIAL MESSENGER.
S2 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
and gave many splendid balls. It was the
ambition of all three fairies to go to one
of these great fairy events-they only took
place on certain nights in the year, but
always on the same dates, year after year
-and hitherto when these nights came
round none of the three fairies had been
old enough to go to one; but this year
they were all three to be allowed to go.
They were at last to be considered grown
up, and, what is more, they had been bidden
to attend by a command of Her Most
Gracious Majesty the Queen of the Fairies,
and the command had been brought by the
Queen's special messenger riding post haste
on her celebrated blue butterfly.
Now you can think how delighted the
three fairies were to receive this command.
For one thing it meant they were grown-up
and independent fairies, and that of course
was a delightful feeling. No more would
they have to take lessons daily at Madame
Bumble Bee's, no more would they have
to go to bed at stated times in the evening,
A ROYAL INVITATION. 13
or get up at stated times in the morning
either. Brown Leaf felt elated as well as
his brothers at these thoughts. He, it is
true, was a little younger than the two
others, but in consequence of his having
worked harder, although he was not so clever,
he had learnt all that the others had, and
this having been reported by Mr. Toad in
a Hole, Her Majesty's Inspector, after his
yearly visit to Madame Bumble Bee's, had
included Brown Leaf in the royal invitation.
How I wish we could all go into the Queen's
hall on one of these grand nights; but this
would be no easy matter, I can tell you,
for one thing you have first to find the
entrance to it, and if by a great chance you
were ever lucky enough to find it, then you
could not enter without an invitation, and I
am sadly afraid we shall never receive one.
Long before the day, or rather the night,
of the ball there were such preparations in
Fairyland for it.
Do you know," said Star-shine one day,
"that the Queen's hall is this year to be
14 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
festooned with silk by Madame Spider, which
is to be caught up and fastened by glow-
worms in full shine, and the fairies have
persuaded some of the flowers to remain
awake, and each one is to bear in its cup
a moonbeam which at a given signal-a
peal of blue-bells at the Queen's entrance
-is to shine forth from each flower. But
what is the matter now ? he added pettishly,
to Brown Leaf, who was furtively wiping
away some tears. But Brown Leaf turned
away, his heart was wrung with having found,
only a minute before, a mole he had cherished
back to life dead in a cruel iron trap con-
cealed in an underground passage that led
to the mole's house. Brown Leaf and the
little velvety mole had become such friends
during the latter's illness.
"It was a waste of time," laughed Green
Spear; "I told you so when you were always
hanging over the ugly little creature."
And then he and Star-shine went on with
their talk about the decorations of the
fairies' ball-room, discussing their dresses,
A ROYAL INVITATION. 15
too, for the all-important evening. Brown
Leaf of course will go in brown," they
decided. "And I," said Green Spear, "will
wear emerald green, and you, Star-shine,
had better be in red, the red of the copper
beech tree in Gold Fern Glade when it turns
in autumn, it will suit your glowworm."
I must here explain that Brown Leaf
always did wear brown, except in very early
spring, when his dress was a greyish green.
So his dress was soon settled by Green
Spear and Star-shine; for Brown Leaf had
never cared at all about his appearance.
THE night of the ball came. The three
fairies started early to it, for the great
thing was to be in the Hall in good time
to see the King and Queen arrive.
The royal procession was magnificent,
and everything turned out as well even as
the three fairies had hoped, which is saying a
good deal, for their expectations had been
very great with all they had learnt and heard.
I must tell you that wood fairies have
no wings, so our friends set forth on their
little feet, or rather they bounded forth, for
one of the accomplishments they had had
to learn had been to bound through the
air, and Mr. Grasshopper had given them
many lessons in this art, and he was a great
professor in it.
Sometimes their bounds might have been
taken for flying when they did them really
PRINCESS SIL VERDEW. 17
well. Brown Leaf was an especially suc-
cessful pupil, and Mr. Grasshopper had been
very proud of him. On this occasion, how-
ever, they contented themselves with quite
short bounds, for they had not far to go,
and they wished to store up all their energy
They arrived in time and found good
places among the hundreds of fairies who were
pressing forward for a view of the royal pro-
cession. The moment it entered the hall the
fairy blue-bells clanged forth a merry peal
overhead, and the other flowers at the sound
flashed forth their concealed moonbeams as
a welcome, just as Star-shine had foretold.
At the same time the royal band stationed
in the gallery at one end of the hall also
struck up the National Fairy Anthem as
the King and Queen advanced. But though
the magnificence of the Queen's Hall and
the procession zwas astonishing to the three
little fairies, who had never witnessed any
thing like it before, Brown Leafs gaze
was spellbound on a little fairy who was
18 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
among the ladies who were nearest to the
"Who is that? he asked at length, when
he had recovered speech, of a fairy near
him, pointing with a brown finger in the
little fairy's direction; for I must tell you
that it is not considered rude to point with
your fingers in fairyland, if you wish to
That is the Princess Silverdew," replied
the fairy Brown Leaf had addressed. She
is very beautiful! is she not? but Brown
Leaf did not answer, he was speechless with
Later on in the evening Brown Leaf, who
was a wonderful dancer, took heart to ask
the Princess Silverdew to be his partner.
In Fairyland there is no need of an intro-
duction. The fact of his being admitted to
the Queen's hall made it possible for Brown
Leaf to speak to, or dance with, any fairy
there that evening.
Before asking her, however, he approached
as near her as he could, till her moonlit
PRINCESS SILVERDEW. 19
draperies almost touched him, and then bow-
ing low he proffered his request. She, how-
ever, raising her queenly head, seemed for
an instant not to see him, and then her
lustrous violet eyes falling on the little
brown figure before her, she said scornfully,
tossing her head:
Oh, I really couldn't; I don't like the
look of you; you are such an ugly colour."
And the next minute she had sailed away
from him, whilst poor Brown Leaf stood
powerless and crushed, stabbed through and
through by the glance in those amethyst
eyes, and feeling as if he would gladly
sink into the ground. She was very rude
although a princess, dear children, you will,
I know, agree.
It was not a very long time, however, before
Brown Leaf recovered himself. He was
not given to self-pity, though he had so
much for others; and, indeed, the cause of
his discovery was hearing a dispirited-looking,
rather dowdily dressed fairy say, not far
from him :
20 THE CR OWN PITIFUL.
"How I had looked forward to dancing
at this ball, and I have not once been asked
to dance to-night."
She spoke low, but Brown Leaf heard her
say this, and he thought to himself: Yes,
he would dance; he could, he knew, dance
this bounding measure, that the band was
beginning to play the tune of, second
to none in the room; so he went up
to the disappointed fairy and begged her
to honour him by dancing with him. She
gladly agreed, and, hand in hand, they sprang
together into the air. This dance was a
good deal like what you see the gnats dancing
on a summer's evening. The thing was to
bound through the air in figures, crossing and
recrossing. It was most graceful. Brown
Leaf danced it to perfection. He did not
grudge now all the pains he had taken to
learn this accomplishment. His partner was
very light and it was easy to make her
appear, by holding her hand, almost as
agile as himself. Soon everyone was looking
on as the pair bounded and rebounded,
PRINCESS SILVERDE W 21
crossed and recrossed, in the measure of
the figure. Brown Leaf had a spirit of his
own, and he felt he would compel Princess
Silverdew to admit he could at any rate.
dance He heard the King and Queen both
asking his name, and also saying that he
must be presented to them when the dance
was over. Yes, and then he heard the
Princess Silverdew say in quite a loud
"He is wonderful! and he would be de-
lightful altogether if it were not for his
ugly brown face."
"Ugly brown face! That cruel remark
seemed again to pierce Brown Leaf through
and through, and he wished only to slink
away from the hall. How strange it seemed
to him that he had never minded before
if he were thought ugly or not; but, indeed,
he had never given a thought to his appear-
ance at all before this. He would have done
as he wished and have gone home but for
a smothered sigh at his side-not one of
pain, however. The fairy who had been
22 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
dancing with him looked up in his face
I never enjoyed myself so much before!
"But you are tired now," said Brown
Leaf, and need some rest." And in taking
her to have some nectar such as the fairies
drank when thirsty, Brown Leaf forgot
himself and regained his composure. He had
excelled everyone in dancing that evening,
and the King and Queen complimented
him highly when he was presented to
them, and Star-shine and Green Spear said
as they went home together:
Really, Brown Leaf, we are proud of
you. No one else came near you to-night.
What could have inspired you to dance
like that? "
Brown Leaf did not answer. The violet
eyes of Princess Silverdew seemed to shine
at him through the trees, and her cruel
voice saying "his ugly brown face" rang
and re-rang in his ears all the way home.
Yes, and the remainder of the night, too,
PRINCESS SIL VERDE W.
the words repeated themselves in poor Brown
Leaf's ears as he lay curled up in an oakleaf
unable to sleep, and for once full of despair
at his ugly appearance. As the hours went
by he determined he would make an effort
to lose his ugliness; he would pay a visit to
"Now, who is she?" you will all ask.
Well, wait, and you shall learn about her.
Brown Leaf knew, of course, and any young
wood fairy could have told you.
Old Mother Crapaud was a hideous, mon-
strous, venomous -looking toad, who lived
in the deepest part of the wood. She
was so ugly she would have frightened you
had you seen her, but for all that she was
very useful to the wood fairies, sometimes,
for she was an old witch, and she could
do a great many things by her spells that
the wood fairies could not.
THE WITCHES' BREW.
THE journey to Madame Crapaud's abode
was a long, tiring one, and took Brown
Leaf nearly the whole of the next day to
reach; but reach it he did, very tired, very
footsore, but hopeful that the witch would
be able to take his ugly brown face away and
give him pink cheeks like his brothers. He
would really have been too tired to have
completed his journey in one day if he had
not met a brown Bee, one of those he had
often befriended, and who now, delighted
to be able at last to make him any return for
his past kindness, gave him a lift on its back
for the last part of the journey,
Brown Leaf was very glad indeed to be
seated between the bee's friendly wings-and
not only on account of fatigue, for the last
bit of the way the path beneath them had
shining horrid reptiles crawling over it,
" THEY AT LAST CAUGHT SIGHT OF MADAME CRAPAUD."
26 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
snakes that fled hissing away in front of
them, and the wood was very dark indeed
when they at last caught sight of Madame
Crapaud. She was sitting, making a repul-
sive croaking noise to herself, under a scarlet
spotted toadstool, and as Brown Leaf feared
at first, owing to her disgusting appearance,
to approach her, Princess Silverdew's bright
eyes seemed to shine at him and he was
encouraged and went forward manfully.
Who are you and what do you want ? "
croaked Madame Crapaud as he came nearer.
"I am an unfortunate wood fairy," he
replied, come to crave a boon of you, the
boon of a less ugly countenance than I
Are you so ugly then? answered
Madame Crapaud. I do not find you so,"
for the wistful look in Brown Leaf's eyes gave
his face the beautiful expression it had when
his heart was touched by another's suffering.
There, you may kiss my hand," and she
extended her claw, which was so horrible to
look at that Brown Leaf felt that he could
STHE WITCHES BRE W. 27
not kiss it, so he bowed low over it without
"Oh! you are too proud, are you?" she
exclaimed. What has made your lordship
stoop so low as to beg a boon from me?
You want to be made handsomer, do you say ?
To please anyone ? for I suppose it is for
that. Had it been merely for yourself you
would have come to me years before this."
Brown Leaf answered respectfully but
firmly that he would rather not give his
"What if I know ? replied Madame
Crapaud, with a malignant grin. But never
mind, anyhow, 'tis an easy thing to do. You
may be as beautiful as you please."
May I, indeed? exclaimed Brown Leaf
his heart leaping at the thought of pleasing
Of course," answered the witch, it
would be a good thing for many who come to
me if all my prescriptions could be as easily
carried out; but now listen, and take care
you do not forget a word. You must rise
28 THE CRO WN PITIFUL
early in the morning and the first two honey
bees you meet on their way to work you
must seize and kill them, but before they are
dead you must tear out their hearts. Why,
that seems to displease you," as Brown
Leaf flinched at her words. 'Tis easy, I
can tell you. Place these hearts in an acorn
cup, take of the morning dew, collected at
the base of the blossom of the deadly night-
shade, and fill the cup, then hold it in the
moon's light so that the beams shine in the
mixture, and say:
Tell me true,
Shall I be fair
For Silverdew ?'
" The brew will hiss, and this is the
answer: you must bathe your face three
times in it, and then look in the moonlight
in the first stream you meet. If you are not
fair enough then, I shall think you impossible
"Thank you," said Brown Leaf, with a
sort of gasp, "but is there no other way?"
THE WITCHES' BREW. 29
"Other way, what way can be easier?
But no, there is no other way that I know of."
"Then I must remain ugly," said Brown
Leaf firmly, stifling a sigh. "I could never
treat my friends the bees in the way you
tell me. It is impossible."
Then begone, simpleton; I can give you
no other remedy."
Brown Leaf bowed, and was going away
when the vile old toad called him back
"Wait," she cried, "I am not paid yet.
You must pay me for my prescription,
whether you use it or not, now you have
got it. Come nearer."
Brown Leaf obeyed, and the horrible
creature drew one of her venomous claws
sharply down his arm. The pain was ex-
cessive, and the sleeve of his brown jerkin
was torn from shoulder to wrist.
"Ah, ha! I am paid!" she exclaimed,
gleefully, at his suppressed moan of pain.
Now take your ugly brown face away."
All the way back-a long, long, weary way
30 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
-Brown Leaf heard these words or seemed
to see them dancing before his eyes in
phosphorescent light through the dark
branches overhead. The pain of his arm,
before he reached home, was so great that
at times he couldn't help groaning, brave
as he was. His heart, too, felt like lead.
All the bright hopes he had entertained of
pleasing Princess Silverdew were gone, for
he could never, never, he knew, be so cruel
to the little brown bees.
He reached home at last, just as the first
rays of the morning sun were gilding the
dell where he lived. He found the fairy
salve that all fairies keep for any wounds
they may receive, and having applied some
to his arm, it was instantly better, and poor
Brown Leaf, wrapping a violet's leaf around
him, fell asleep from sheer weariness.
MVANY fairy balls succeeded the first one
the three fairies had been to, and
before each one the Queen's messenger on
the blue butterfly did not fail to arrive, as
before, bringing an invitation for Star-shine,
Green Spear, and Brown Leaf.
At the third of those entertainments the
Princess Silverdew, to the great surprise
of Brown Leaf, signified a wish to dance
with him in the bounding measure he so
excelled in. He was the more astonished
as she had treated him at the preceding
ball with great disdain, hardly vouchsafing
to respond to his low bow but with the
coldest nod imaginable, and he had therefore
not ventured to ask her to dance with him
again. Of course, poor fellow, he guessed the
reason she had so honoured him, it was on
account of his being the best dancer, and,
32 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
therefore, making all eyes centre on them in
the dance. She was inordinately vain, dear
little people, was she not ? But Brown Leaf
tried to forget this reason, and, with the
Princess's hand in his, through all the mazes
and twists of the figures, he was wildly,
rapturously happy. When he led her back to
her seat afterwards she said in a low voice:
"You certainly are a wonderful dancer!
What a pity"-and here she raised her bright
eyes to his face with a scornful look, and
went on-" that you--"
But she never completed her sentence,
the pained, wistful expression she met, for
once, touched her cold heart, and she looked
down again instead.
"Oh, Princess," said Brown Leaf, what
can I do? how show my gratitude for the
happiness you have given me in dancing
with me? "
I daresay you may think this very foolish
and extravagant of Brown Leaf, but you must
remember the Princess was accustomed to
very much flattery, and Brown Leaf con-
SIL VERDEW'S WISH.
stantly heard those surrounding her make
even more flattering speeches to her than
this. There was so much truth and earnest-
ness, however, in Brown Leaf's voice that
Silverdew paused, and then said:
"I will consider and let you know what
you may do for me."
One moment, Princess," said Brown Leaf
as, with a cold bow, she was turning from
him, when shall I know? When will
you tell me ? "
"Oh," Silverdew answered, thinking for
an instant, "you shall know at the Queen's
next ball," and she glided away from him,
leaving him plunged in speechless delight.
How Brown Leaf longed for the next ball.
Would it never come ? he thought. He knew
the date, but it seemed so far away. In the
meantime Star-shine's wedding came off. It
was a splendid ceremony, for he married an
exceedingly rich fairy called Money-musk.
Green Spear also became engaged to a pretty
fairy called Lime Blossom. But at last the
Queen's messenger arrived with the invita-
34 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
tion, and Brown Leaf felt that he should
learn what he was so anxious to know in the
evening of the same day.
At the ball that night Brown Leaf fancied
there was even a rather pleased expression on
Silverdew's face as he approached her, and
his heart leaped with gratitude.
"I have thought of something you can do
for me," she said, looking up at him as he
bowed before her.
She was sitting in a kind of alcove not far
from the Queen.
"You can bound so high that no doubt
you will find no difficulty in doing what I
want. You know the height of the first horn
of the sunbeams at midday ? "
Yes," answered Brown Leaf. For all
fairies know that the long shining rays have
horns very high upon them at long intervals
apart, and Brown Leaf knew there was
a horn jutting out like a kind of step very
high up, and that there were more above,
although he had never seen them. Well,"
the Princess went on, "I want to be placed
SIL VERDE IWS WISH.
on the first horn-at one bound from the
earth, and I thought perhaps you could do
this with me on your shoulder ? "
"I-I?" exclaimed Brown Leaf, unable
to say more in his astonishment.
"Yes, no doubt you will ask why I could
not drive there in my butterfly chariot (for
the Princess Silverdew possessed a beautiful
chariot drawn by six moonlight coloured
butterflies). This thought if it had had time
to occur to Brown Leaf would never have
been uttered by him, he loved Silverdew too
much for that.
But then, you see," Princess Silverdew
went on, anyone could do that (she meant
any fairy), "but to be seated in the sun-
beams first horn at one bound, no, no one has
ever done such a thing." By that remark the
Princess showed herself in a very modern
light, in a way, I hope, darlings, you do not
understand. It is not necessary for the
story you should, and it puts her in a very
But Brown Leaf only wished to please the
36 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
Princess, and after thinking a moment he
said, I will try."
"When will you let me know if you can
do it ? she exclaimed quite eagerly. Can
you do so in three days ? I shall be with the
Queen then in the evening. She holds court
in Oak Leaf Dell."
Brown Leaf did not close an eye when he
returned home. He waited till cock-crow,
then rose and began practising how high he
could jump at one bound. He knew he had
reached the top of a high elm tree, but that
would fall far short of the bound the Princess
had asked for; and then, too, he would have
the Princess's weight on his shoulders. He
practised all day, but in the evening he was
obliged to confess to himself that he could
never do it. "But I must," he said, "in
some way-I must." And then in the night,
all at once, the thought of again asking
Madame Crapaud to help him rose in his
mind. Yes, he would do that.
So he set off again next morning on the
SIL VERDE WS WISH. 37
long journey to her dwelling. This time, on
reaching it at the end of the day, he found
the witch holding a kind of reception, for vile
green and spotted reptiles of all kinds were
around her or arriving in every direction,
and Brown Leaf would have found it well-
nigh impossible to pick his way over them
had his talent for bounding not enabled him
to pass from tree to tree till he was in front
of the hideous creature's throne.
Ah I ha 1 she exclaimed on seeing him.
What, not lost your ugly brown face yet ?
What, pray, can I do for you ? This was
said in a mocking voice.
Then Brown Leaf told her all he wished her
to help him to do. The witch when he had
finished speaking sat with one finger of her
loathsome claw (the same that had ripped up
his arm), pressed against the front of her head
for a moment or two, "What you ask," she
said then, looking up, is not so easy as what
I told you before to do, for, pray, you who
dread to give pain to others, how will you be
able to do this ? "
38 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
Then she told him that every morning he
must tread with bare feet a particular bramble
branch which grew in the wood where he
lived, and step on the cruel thorns that
covered the branch till he had crushed them
all and till the branch was smooth. He must
do it alone without any help and only with
his bare feet, and when the last thorn was
gone he would have the power of bounding
to the horn of the sunbeam or even higher
should he wish it.
Oh, I will do this willingly; is that all ?"
said Brown Leaf joyfully, to her surprise. His
own pain he cared nothing for.
Yes, all," she answered, with a malicious
grin, only," she added, "fairies do n'ot
bound back from such heights unhurt, and
you-well, you can only have the power of
making one bound in this way after that,
you understand. Well, you know what to
expect; but your precious Silverdew will be
safe; you will have placed her on the Sun-
beam's horn, where, remember, there is only
room for one, and no doubt she will have
SIL VERDE W'S WISH.
ordered her butterfly chariot to fetch her
away after she has been there long enough
for all her world to know that she has done
more than they can do or have done."
A pang passed through Brown Leaf's heart.
He knew then that that bound with the
Princess on his shoulder would be his last,
and that afterwards he would fall down, down,
to be no more a light-hearted fairy, but to
cease his existence-this was one of the things
beyond even a fairy's power to prevent. It was
hard, but yet his fade grew bright; yes, bright
with the thought that Silverdew would have
her wish and he would have given it to her-
given her what no other fairy could give her
inr all Fairyland. Yes, this was the highest
joy to him, and it was only joy that filled his
heart as on leaving Madame Crapaud he
asked her what his payment should be for
what she had told him; but with a poisonous
hiss she said: "I want no payment for this.
Your pain will be my payment; this time it
will be yourself not others that will suffer."
And so Brown Leaf went home again.
THE TRIAL OF THORNS.
OAK Leaf Dell; yes, that was where the
Princess was to be; so the next day,
which was the third day, the one she had
appointed, Brown Leaf went there. He had
counted the thorns on the bramble branch
he was to tread--there were twenty-but
his heart felt light in spite of the prospect
of pain before him. He found the Princess
quite eager to speak to him. She came
forward to meet him, as he, having kissed
the Queen's hand, came in search of her.
"Well!" she exclaimed, her violet eyes
beaming with impatience for his reply.
"Yes, Princess, I can do what you ask,"
"Can-can you really?" she said, her
cherry lips smiling, and showing her little
teeth like a row of pearls.
"Yes, truly," said Brown Leaf.
THE TRIAL OF THORNS. 41
"Ah, I thought you would not fail me,"
she laughed, looking up at him with a glance
that set poor Brown Leaf's heart beating
wildly. "Ah, now I shall be able to tell
the Fairy Woodruff and Princess Eglantine
that this wonderful thing is true, and they
would not believe me. Oh! it shall be a
grand spectacle! she exclaimed, giving a
little skip of joy and clapping her hands.
"But when-when? You have not told me,"
she went on, tapping her foot impatiently,
and with some return of her haughty manner,
which she seemed to have forgotten in the
pleasure of having her whim gratified.
When? answered Brown Leaf gravely,
looking down at her and thinking how beauti-
ful she was. "In twenty days, Princess."
"Twenty!" she exclaimed, "twenty! "
Oh, you do not mean that ? It is too long,
and I cannot wait so long. Cannot you do
it sooner ? "
No, indeed, Princess," answered Brown
Leaf, feeling great grief at being obliged to
say no. "I cannot really be ready before
42 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
twenty days have passed." For he knew
well that he could not stamp down more
than one of those large thorns each day
with his poor bare feet-and, remember, dear
little listeners or readers, these thorns were
larger to him than to you; larger, in fact,
than the feet themselves, you know.
When Princess Silverdew found that he
remained firm, that she could not move
Brown Leaf to do her will sooner than
twenty days, she seemed to think talking
to him a waste of words, and darting away
without one word of thanks, she flew to the
Gracious Majesty, only listen, it really
will come to pass what I told you of!"
And as a crowd of fairies gathered round
her, Brown Leaf gained no further word with
her that evening. And the next day, rising
with the dawn, he began his painful work-
and it was pain, really and truly-stamping
backwards and forwards, backwards and for-
wards, till the large thorn sank gradually
down; first its point, then more and more;
THE TRIAL OF THORNS.
till, as the sun set, Brown Leaf beheld the
flat spot that lies under each thorn. The
thorn itself was gone, gone entirely, and his
poor bleeding feet bore testimony of their
work. Then he stooped, and taking his
salve from his pocket, he put some on his
feet and they became better at once, so that
he could limp wearily home on them, and
by the morning they were well.
"Nineteen more thorns," said poor Brown
Leaf, gazing ruefully at the bramble branch
before beginning his day's work on the
morrow. There they all were, cruel, shining,
brown-red, pointed thorns. Could he bear
again the pain? Yes, and I am sorry to
say it was much worse than the preceding
day; and, what is more dreadful, each day
the thorns' sharp points seemed worse to
bear, as if they were envenomed, and some-
times poor Brown Leaf's heart sank, and
he thought he must give it up ; the pain
was too great to endure, and, of course,
dears, you know, without the fairy salve
he could not have got through such work
44 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
at all one day of it would have been
But, at last-at last-only one thorn re-
mained to be stamped down. To Brown
Leaf that day's work seemed interminable.
Sometimes he thought this last thorn's point
even would never go; but, like all work that
is persevered in as valiantly, little by little
it began to disappear, and by sunset again
the oval flat spot where the thorn had been
joined to the branch showed itself, and all
the twenty thorns were pains and sorrows
of the past. Brown Leaf surveyed the
branch in triumph. What mattered now the
burning tearing pain ?-he had succeeded. And
now I have forgotten to tell you that each
evening Brown Leaf felt, in spite of weari-
ness and pain, as if he had an added spring
in his feet, as if he could make, if he chose,
a higher bound than he had ever made yet
in his life. It was an indescribable feeling,
but it increased daily, and on this last
evening he felt as if he must try how
far he could bound. Why, yes," he
THE TRIAL OF THORNS. 45
thought, after applying the remedy to his
poor torn feet, "I will go at one bound home;
that would be a tremendous jump, and
would show me what I can do." He was
just going to put his thought into execu-
tion, when, fortunately-oh, so fortunately-
he suddenly remembered the witch's words,
And you can only make one bound in this
Oh, how very, very lucky it was he had
remembered in time, otherwise he would,
of course, have reached home, but then his
increased power of bounding would have left
Very thankful for having remembered,
Brown Leaf dragged his feet as before, slowly
and painfully home, and, as you may all
imagine, he did not sleep a wink for thinking
of the next day.
The next morning Brown Leaf was up
early, and as he was sipping his honey dew
out of the tiny acorn cup, which was his tea
cup, he saw the Queen's messenger flying
along on the famous blue butterfly. He
46 THE CR OWN PITIFUL.
(the messenger) hailed Brown Leaf, and
settling down beside him, gave him the
Queen's following command: The event of
placing Princess Silverdew at one bound on
the sunbeam's horn was to be witnessed by
hundreds and thousands of fairies assembled
by royal invitation for that purpose, and
Brown Leaf was, of course, not to fail to be
there in good time, the command went on.
The spot chosen was a place in the wood,
Gold Fern Glade, on the sward of which
and close to Bluebell Hill, everyone was to
be. The hour chosen was midday, when the
sun's beams are brightest. The King and
Queen graciously intended to be present to
honour so auspicious an event-one that was
unparalleled in fairy history. After the
Queen's messenger had read out the royal
command, he being of a social disposition,
began to tell Brown Leaf the number of
journeys on the blue butterfly he had taken
during the past week, inviting the fairy folk
far and near to the spectacle in Gold Fern
Glade. Oh, it will be a sight indeed-only
THE TRIAL OF THORNS.
to see all the fairies arrive-magnificent! he
explained, holding up his hands in admira-
tion. All the wood fairies, of course, and
all the flower fairies, and the water fairies,
and the hill fairies, and the iron fairies, the
copper fairies, the silver and gold fairies, and
the gem fairies of all kinds, and the fire
fairies-it will be something that will always be
talked about from henceforth," added the fairy
messenger, breathless with his long speech.
Brown Leaf did not answer; he was gazing at
a thirsty fly, to whom he had given the
greater share of his honey dew, and who was
drinking it up eagerly, with grateful glances
at him from its large prominent eyes.
"Why, you ought to feel proud-yes, proud
indeed," said the messenger, "and you say
nothing-hundreds to envy you-hundreds
who, no doubt, would give anything for all
this glory-well, I must be going," he con-
tinued, as Brown Leaf did not respond. "I
have still a few invitations left, so farewell."
And springing on his blue butterfly he was
out of sight in an instant.
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM.
H OW I wish, dear little people, that I
had the power to describe what Gold
Fern Glade looked like with the processions
of fairies wending their way to the chosen
spot. How I wish we could have all seen
it. It was worth seeing, I can tell you!
For, as the Queen's messenger had said,
there were nearly every sort and kind
of fairy present, and that in itself would
be a sight never to be forgotten. Princess
Silverdew was not there, but she had not
yet arrived; she was not quite ready; her
attendants had not quite completed her
toilet--when it was finished you would have
liked to have seen her. She arrived, after
keeping the vast crowd on the tip-toes of
expectation for some little time, in her
butterfly chariot, which drew up in front of
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM.
a tent that had been erected for the King
As she stepped from her carriage she
threw aside her long moonlight coloured
cloak, whose draperies had hitherto enveloped
her, and emerged in a wonderful dress com-
posed of dewdrops, which in a marvellous
fairy way were held together without
losing the shape of a single dewdrop.
Her head was encircled with a coronet of
dewdrops. Sparkling and shining at every
step, as the rays of the sun which now filled
the glade reflected themselves a thousand
times in her attire, she approached their
majesties, who were seated in state beneath
the canopy. Brown Leaf was near them.
He had been taken there immediately he
had arrived, and he had been very punctual,
and so had come a long time before, for
Silverdew had been purposely late.
I must not forget to state that Star-shine
was present with his bride, and Green Spear
also with the Fairy Lime Blossom: their wed.
ding was to take place the following week.
50 THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
SAt a signal from the King, directly after
Silverdew arrived, the heralds blew a blast
on their trumpets, after the manner of
heralds, and then stated the event of the
After this there was a slight pause, and
then the King rose, and leading Silverdew
by the hand approached Brown Leaf and
bade him fulfil his promise.
There was such a hush in the crowd as
the King spoke. All talking of any kind
ceased, and every eye was turned on Brown
Leaf and Silverdew. The former took the
latter's hand and led her to the Bluebell
Hill before mentioned. This was a mound
in the centre of the glade, round which a
space had been kept clear by royal com-
mand. You dear children would have called
it an ant-hill, surmounted as ant-hills so
often are with nodding bluebells. As they
mounted the sides of it-for Brown Leaf's
bound was to begin from its summit-the
Princess turned to him and said:
"I think this is very wonderful of you! "
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM.
And yes, she actually also added, "I thank
you for this."
"Ah! Princess," he returned, "there is
nothing I would not do for you, and I think
you know that."
As he glanced at her saying this, to his
surprise he noticed her beautiful eyes were
moist, and she said in a low voice, "You
will find I can be grateful."
What did it mean? Could she care at
all for him? But, alas! she had said he
was so ugly, and he knew he was. Should
he tell her she would see him no more,
when her whim was gratified? But no, he
resisted this. Who knows, perhaps she
would have even given up this wish of hers
then, and he wanted to gratify it, and she
would know afterwards, and perhaps-yes,
he felt almost sure-she would feel sorry
By this time they had reached the top of
Bluebell Hill, and Brown Leaf, kneeling
down, the Princess seated herself on his
right shoulder. What a featherweight she
52 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
felt, he thought, as he rose and stood erect.
Then he whispered, "May I, before we
start, kiss your hand? "
For all answer, Silverdew raised the little
hand, her right one, to his lips. And then
he, choosing the long ray of the sun, whose
end seemed to terminate on the little hill,
ran a few steps forward, and, like an arrow
shot from a bow, passed up the ray of light-
up, up, up. They could hear a low murmur
of applause from the multitudes as they
disappeared out of their sight. He felt as
if he could go on for ever in this way. How
like it must be to flying-up, up, up!
And as he clove the golden atmosphere
asunder with his precious burden upon his
shoulder, he thought, wasn't this flight
worth all the pain and more that he had
endured, and better than living a hundred
years longer? And a rhyme kept running
in his head; it was as if some one was
repeating it in his ear:
" No one but you
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM.
After a long while, in the distance ap-
peared the horn of the sunbeam high above
their heads. It was not for much longer,
then, thought Brown Leaf, and now they
had really reached it. As they did so,
Brown Leaf found he must take hold of it
to prevent his mounting higher, and he
bade the Princess seat herself on the horn.
This she did at once, and Brown Leaf felt
that all his body was suddenly limp and
helpless; his power of bounding was over;
a faint "Farewell, Princess," issued from
his lips, and he fell headlong down the
golden ray, clutching and tearing the sun-
beams in his fall, whilst the Princess was
settling herself more comfortably on her
seat, quite unconscious of what had befallen
poor Brown Leaf.
"Well, well, you need not be in such a
hurry, for we can't spare you," said a voice
in Brown Leaf's ear, and he suddenly felt
himself held up from falling further. What
THE CRO WN PITIFUL.
was it that had happened? As he opened
his dazed, astonished eyes, he beheld the
most wonderful sparkling little creature, no
other than a sunbeam fairy, who was
holding on to the collar of his jerkin.
See, stand where I am standing. Place
your feet here." And Brown Leaf found
that he and the fairy could stand easily on
the motes in the long ray; in fact, that
they rose like a stair above them, right up
to where the Princess sat.
"I did well to arrest you," continued the
fairy laughing, stealing my goods in this
way! Look!" and he took the handfuls of
torn sunbeams that Brown Leaf had clutched
in falling, and still held, from his hands,
and, with skilful fingers, and still talking,
began to weave them into a beautiful spark-
"I am so very glad to know you, Brown
Leaf," he went on. You see, we sunbeam
fairies see so much, and hear so much, and
go to so many places without being seen at
all; we can even glance through windows of
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM.
houses, and I could tell you long stories of
what I've seen, but there is no time for it
now, and, Brown Leaf, you must forgive
me for saying it, but we all think you
"Yes, yes," came from numbers of little
voices, and there seemed to be a little fairy on
"As for your Princess," the sunbeam
fairy continued, her heart wants to be
made softer, though I allow it has improved;
but presently I shall have something to say to
her; she needs it, but for all that, she loves
you-oh, yes, she does; you don't know, you
see. As I've told you, I see and hear a great
deal that isn't generally known."
Oh, no, it's impossible," said Brown Leaf,
with a start of surprise, "I'm too ugly; she
has said so."
"Are you? laughed the fairy. "Look
here," and, raising the crown, which his
fingers had just completed, he placed it lightly
on Brown Leaf's head, saying, I crown you
with The Crown Pitiful,' which few attain
56 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
to, wear it always for the sunbeam fairies'
sake, who know you well."
Brown Leaf was too much astonished to at
first say anything, and when he opened his
lips to speak to the fairy, he found he had gone.
I must now do justice to Silverdew, and
say here that she had not an idea that Brown
Leaf was not perfectly safe. She had been
so much occupied settling herself on the
sunbeam's horn, arranging the folds of her
dress, and then looking about her, that she
had never noticed his disappearance.
"Princess Silverdew," said a stern voice,
and, turning, she saw the sunbeam fairy
standing close behind her. Are you pleased
with the high position you have attained ? "
he continued. There was a mocking note in
his voice, and his face looked so different to
when he was speaking to Brown Leaf that
you would have thought it could not be the
I don't know who you are," she answered,
in her haughtiest manner, nor what right
you have to ask me questions."
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM.
The right of having known you, Princess,
many, many years," answered the sunbeam
fairy. Yes, and of having known Brown
Leaf, too, a very, very long time, and of admir-
ing him and feeling sorry for him also."
"What do you mean?" said Silverdew,
turning round on her seat. "You know
Brown Leaf, do you ? "
Yes," replied the sunbeam fairy. Don't
you think, Princess Silverdew, you have
treated him very cruelly; do you know all
the pain, mental and physical, you have
been the cause of ? No; well, I will tell you
then, for I think you ought to know." And
then, very slowly and very graphically, the
sunbeam fairy told Silverdew about Brown
Leaf, how truly he had loved her, how her
insults about his appearance had pained him,
how he had borne with them rather than
benefit his looks with the death and torture
of two innocent creatures, how he had
endured violent pain for twenty days without
giving in for her, and how he had yielded up
his very life for her at last, to gratify her
58 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
extravagant vanity. Yes, he spoke very
plainly, and as he got to the part where
Brown Leaf would not kill the bees, the
Princess covered her face with her hands,
and when the fairy reached the daily torture
of treading down the thorns in his recital,
the tears were streaming from between her
The sunbeam fairy did not relent at the
sight of these tears; he went on describing
bit by bit how Brown Leaf had almost told
her on Bluebell Hill before starting (when
they stood with the sunbeams pouring down
on them) what would befall him after placing
her on the sunbeam's horn, and how he had
resisted telling her for her own sake.
I did not know this-how could I ? she
said, half springing up; but the fairy now
held her arm. "Where is he ?"
"I have told you he was to lose his life
for this whim of yours," returned the sun-
beam fairy sternly. You will never see
his ugly brown face again."
"Oh, I cannot, I will not stand this!"
YOU WILL NEVER SEE HIS UGLY BROWN FACE AGAIN."
'-- '* -, f '
60 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
exclaimed the Princess; "I will cast myself
also down the sun's ray."
"No, no," answered the sunbeam fairy,
" you may not do that. But, Princess, if
there were any chance or any means by
which you could meet Brown Leaf would
you be kinder to him ? "
If ? said the Princess. Ah, do not
delude me, for you have told me I shall
never see his face again."
Not quite that, Princess," answered the
sunbeam fairy, more gently at the signs of her
evident repentance. I said you would never
see his ugly brown face again! But wait, I
will soon return."
The Princess was too unhappy to pay
much attention. She sat, her head in
her hands, for in her heart she cared more
for Brown Leaf than anyone else in the
world, in spite of her haughtiness and
vanity. A sob burst from her as she thought
of all his kindness and goodness, and pitiful
feelings for those in pain or any distress.
And now she could never show him any
THE HORN OF THE SUNBEAM. 61
gratitude for gaining her her wish. Yes,
she had meant to be grateful. A gentle voice
behind her here said:
"My Princess is in trouble. What ails
And turning her head the Princess beheld
Brown Leaf. Yes, it was he, certainly,
for no one else had that tender pitying look
for another's sorrow. But how changed he
was His ugly brown face" was gone. He
had a fresh face like her own. His eyes
beamed sapphire blue, and the short curls
round his forehead were tinged with gold
reflected from the crown on his head. Ah!
that wonderful crown had given its owner
all this beauty. For the few who attain to
" The Crown Pitiful" gain a beauty like no
other. The Princess was so cheered and
astonished at the sight of Brown Leaf that
she silently held out her hands to him, and
Brown Leaf clasped them in his own.
When the butterfly chariot fetched hem
When the butterfly chariot fetched them
62 THE CROWN PITIFUL.
both away, the two fairies had the happiest
faces imaginable, and it seemed as if Princess
Silverdew had a shade of that tender, beauti-
ful expression that is only usually gained by
those who attain to "The Crown Pitiful."