Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

vines and overhung with blossoming trees. Glow-worms stood at the

door to light them home, and as they passed in, the Fairy thought how

charming it must be to dwell in such a lovely place. The floor of wax

was pure and white as marble, while the walls were formed of golden

honey-comb, and the air was fragrant with the breath of flowers.

“You cannot see our Queen to-night,” said the little bee, “but

I will show you to a bed where you can rest.”

And he led the tired Fairy to a little cell, where on a bed of

flower-leaves he folded his wings and fell asleep.

As the first ray of sunlight stole in, he was awakened by sweet music.

It was the morning song of the bees.

“Awake! awake! for the earliest gleam

Of golden sunlight shines

On the rippling waves, that brightly flow

Beneath the flowering vines.

Awake! awake! for the low, sweet chant

Of the wild-birds’ morning hymn

Comes floating by on the fragrant air,

Through the forest cool and dim;

Then spread each wing,

And work, and sing,

Through the long, bright sunny hours;

O’er the pleasant earth

We journey forth,

For a day among the flowers.

“Awake! awake! for the summer wind

Hath bidden the blossoms unclose,

Hath opened the violet’s soft blue eye,

And wakened the sleeping rose.

And lightly they wave on their slender stems

Fragrant, and fresh, and fair,

Waiting for us, as we singing come

To gather our honey-dew there.

Then spread each wing,

And work, and sing,

Through the long, bright sunny hours;

O’er the pleasant earth

We journey forth,

For a day among the flowers!”

Soon his friend came to bid him rise, as the Queen desired to speak

with him. So, with his purple mantle thrown gracefully over his

shoulder, and his little cap held respectfully in his hand, he

followed Nimble-Wing to the great hall, where the Queen was being

served by her little pages. Some bore her fresh dew and honey, some

fanned her with fragrant flower-leaves, while others scattered the

sweetest perfumes on the air.

“Little Fairy,” said the Queen, “you are welcome to my palace; and

we will gladly have you stay with us, if you will obey our laws.

We do not spend the pleasant summer days in idleness and pleasure, but

each one labors for the happiness and good of all. If our home is

beautiful, we have made it so by industry; and here, as one large,

loving family, we dwell; no sorrow, care, or discord can enter in,

while all obey the voice of her who seeks to be a wise and gentle

Queen to them. If you will stay with us, we will teach you many

things. Order, patience, industry, who can teach so well as they

who are the emblems of these virtues?

“Our laws are few and simple. You must each day gather your share of

honey, see that your cell is sweet and fresh, as you yourself must be;

rise with the sun, and with him to sleep. You must harm no flower in

doing your work, nor take more than your just share of honey; for they

so kindly give us food, it were most cruel to treat them with aught

save gentleness and gratitude. Now will you stay with us, and learn

what even mortals seek to know, that labor brings true happiness?”

And Thistle said he would stay and dwell with them; for he was tired

of wandering alone, and thought he might live here till Lily-Bell

should come, or till he was weary of the kind-hearted bees. Then they

took away his gay garments, and dressed him like themselves, in the

black velvet cloak with golden bands across his breast.

“Now come with us,” they said. So forth into the green fields

they went, and made their breakfast among the dewy flowers; and then

till the sun set they flew from bud to blossom, singing as they went;

and Thistle for a while was happier than when breaking flowers and

harming gentle birds.

But he soon grew tired of working all day in the sun, and longed to be

free again. He could find no pleasure with the industrious bees, and

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May