Then she spread the table afresh, and to it came fearlessly the busy
ant and bee, gay butterfly and bird; even the poor blind mole and
humble worm were not forgotten; and with gentle words she gave to all,
while each learned something of their kind little teacher; and the
love that made her own heart bright shone alike on all.
The ant and bee learned generosity, the butterfly and 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
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
At length she rose, and amid the deep silence spoke thus:–
“Dear children, let us not tire of a good work, hard though it 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 brightness, 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 us counsel? Who will be
our messenger 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.
Then 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 even the darkest lot?
“Our messengers have gone fearfully, and with cold looks and
courtly words offered him rich gifts, 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 flowers; 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 there 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 land.”
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 have 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