sighed to be away with his idle friends, the butterflies; so while the
others worked he slept or played, and then, in haste to get his share,
he tore the flowers, and took all they had saved for their own food.
Nor was this all; he told such pleasant tales of the life he led
before he came to live with them, that many grew unhappy and
discontented, and they who had before wished no greater joy than
the love and praise of their kind Queen, now disobeyed and blamed her
for all she had done for them.
Long she bore with their unkind words and deeds; and when at length
she found it was the ungrateful Fairy who had wrought this trouble in
her quiet kingdom, she strove, with sweet, forgiving words, to show
him all the wrong he had done; but he would not listen, and still went
on destroying the happiness of those who had done so much for him.
Then, when she saw that no kindness could touch his heart, she said:–
“Thistledown, we took you in, a friendless stranger, fed and clothed
you, and made our home as pleasant to you as we could; and in return
for all our care, you have brought discontent and trouble to my
subjects, grief and care to me. I cannot let my peaceful kingdom
be disturbed by you; therefore go and seek another home. You may find
other friends, but none will love you more than we, had you been
worthy of it; so farewell.” And the doors of the once happy home
he had disturbed were closed behind him.
Then he was very angry, and determined to bring some great sorrow on
the good Queen. So he sought out the idle, wilful bees, whom he had
first made discontented, bidding them follow him, and win the honey
the Queen had stored up for the winter.
“Let us feast and make merry in the pleasant summer-time,” said
Thistle; “winter is far off, why should we waste these lovely days,
toiling to lay up the food we might enjoy now. Come, we will take
what we have made, and think no more of what the Queen has said.”
So while the industrious bees were out among the flowers, he led
the drones to the hive, and took possession of the honey, destroying
and laying waste the home of the kind bees; then, fearing that
in their grief and anger they might harm him, Thistle flew away to
seek new friends.
After many wanderings, he came at length to a great forest, and here
beside a still lake he stayed to rest. Delicate wood-flowers grew near
him in the deep green moss, with drooping heads, as if they listened
to the soft wind sing-ing among the pines. Bright-eyed birds peeped
at him from their nests, and many-colored insects danced above the
cool, still lake.
“This is a pleasant place,” said Thistle; “it shall be my home for a
while. Come hither, blue dragon-fly, I would gladly make a friend of
you, for I am all alone.”
The dragon-fly folded his shining wings beside the Elf, listened to
the tale he told, promised to befriend the lonely one, and strove
to make the forest a happy home to him.
So here dwelt Thistle, and many kind friends gathered round him,
for he spoke gently to them, and they knew nothing of the cruel deeds
he had done; and for a while he was happy and content. But at length
he grew weary of the gentle birds, and wild-flowers, and sought new
pleasure in destroying the beauty he was tired of; and soon the
friends who had so kindly welcomed him looked upon him as an evil
spirit, and shrunk away as he approached.
At length his friend the dragon-fly besought him to leave the quiet
home he had disturbed. Then Thistle was very angry, and while the
dragon-fly was sleeping among the flowers that hung over the lake, he
led an ugly spider to the spot, and bade him weave his nets about the
sleeping insect, and bind him fast. The cruel spider gladly obeyed
the ungrateful Fairy; and soon the poor fly could move neither leg nor