Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

our messengers, 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; 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, and, 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 tells 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 a murmur of approval went

through the hall, as each elfin wand waved to the little Fairy

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

to their good Queen.

Then came forth an Elf bearing a withered leaf, while her many-colored

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

“Dear Queen,” she sadly said, “I would gladly bring 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 withered 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 nor honey, but

proudly closed their leaves and bid me go.”

“Your task has been too hard for you,” said the Queen kindly, as she

placed 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 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 humble,

loving flowers.”

Thus they told what they had done, and received from their Queen some

gentle chiding or loving word of praise.

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

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

leaves, and the sweet language of the birds, and all that can make

a Fairy heart wiser and better.”

Then into a cheerful place they went, where 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

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

fallen. Others learned to heal the wounded insects, whose frail limbs

a breeze could shatter, and who, were it not for Fairy hands, would

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

pleasant dreams to cheer and comfort mortal hearts, by whispered words

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May