go away and hide yourself.”
“Ah,” cried the shivering Elf, “where can I find shelter? I will go
to the violets: they will forgive and take me in.”
But the daisies had spoken truly; the gentle little flower was dead,
and her blue-eyed sisters were weeping bitterly 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 now 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, 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 sleeping, 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 wondered 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 who will leave us,” sobbed little
Mignonette; “the rose mother will fade like her little bud, and we
shall lose our gentlest 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 has brought us all
The angry words were hushed, and through the long night nothing was
heard but the dropping of the rain, and the low sighs of the rose.
Soon the sunlight came again, and with it Lily-Bell seeking for
Thistledown; but he was ashamed, and stole away.
When the flowers told their sorrow to kind-hearted Lily-Be]l, 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, erelong, 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 flew away to seek her friend, leaving behind
many grateful hearts, who owed their joy and life to her.
Meanwhile, over hill and dale went Thistledown, 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 own his fault, and so went on, hoping she would find him.
One day he fell asleep, and when he woke 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 him.
“Help me to bear my honey home, and you can stay with us tonight,”
he kindly said.
So Thistle gladly went with him, and soon they came to a pleasant
garden, where among the fairest flowers stood the hive, covered with