Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

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 kindred 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 broken wing,–

“Love-Blossom, you should not murmur. We may find happiness in

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

uncared 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 wiser 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 of me.”

So they passed to the bed beside the discontented bee, and here upon

the softest down lay the dove, whose gentle eyes looked gratefully

upon the Fairy, as she knelt beside the little couch, smoothed the

soft white bosom, folded her arms 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 fragrant leaves have been ever 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 murmured 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

tonight beneath our fairest blossoms, and you shall see that

gentleness and love are prized far above gold or beauty, here in

Fairy-Land. Come 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 voices 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 flower wands.

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 humblest flower that grows is visited by

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May