Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

wing. Then Thistle flew away through the wood, leaving sorrow and

trouble behind him.

He had not journeyed far before he grew weary, and lay down to rest.

Long he slept, and when he awoke, and tried to rise, his hands and

wings were bound; while beside him stood two strange little figures,

with dark faces and garments, that rustled like withered leaves; who

cried to him, as he struggled to get free,–

“Lie still, you naughty Fairy, you are in the Brownies’ power, and

shall be well punished for your cruelty ere we let you go.”

So poor Thistle lay sorrowfully, wondering what would come of it,

and wishing Lily-Bell would come to help and comfort him; but he had

left her, and she could not help him now.

Soon a troop of Brownies came rustling through the air, and gathered

round him, while one who wore an acorn-cup on his head, and was their

King, said, as he stood beside the trembling Fairy,–

“You have done many cruel things, and caused much sorrow to happy

hearts; now you are in my power, and I shall keep you prisoner

till you have repented. You cannot dwell on the earth without harming

the fair things given you to enjoy, so you shall live alone in

solitude and darkness, till you have learned to find happiness in

gentle deeds, and forget yourself in giving joy to others. When you

have learned this, I will set you free.”

Then the Brownies bore him to a high, dark rock, and, entering a

little door, led him to a small cell, dimly lighted by a crevice

through which came a single gleam of sunlight; and there, through

long, long days, poor Thistle sat alone, and gazed with wistful eyes

at the little opening, longing to be out on the green earth. No one

came to him, but the silent Brownies who brought his daily food; and

with bitter tears he wept for Lily-Bell, mourning his cruelty and

selfishness, seeking to do some kindly deed that might atone for his


A little vine that grew outside his prison rock came creeping up,

and looked in through the crevice, as if to cheer the lonely Fairy,

who welcomed it most gladly, and daily sprinkled its soft leaves

with his small share of water, that the little vine might live,

even if it darkened more and more his dim cell.

The watchful Brownies saw this kind deed, and brought him fresh

flowers, and many things, which Thistle gratefully received, though

he never knew it was his kindness to the vine that gained for him

these pleasures.

Thus did poor Thistle strive to be more gentle and unselfish, and

grew daily happier and better.

Now while Thistledown was a captive in the lonely cell, Lily-Bell was

seeking him far and wide, and sadly traced him by the sorrowing hearts

he had left behind.

She healed the drooping flowers, cheered the Queen Bee’s grief,

brought back her discontented subjects, restored the home to peace

and order, and left them blessing her.

Thus she journeyed on, till she reached the forest where Thistledown

had lost his freedom. She unbound the starving dragon-fly, and tended

the wounded birds; but though all learned to love her, none could tell

where the Brownies had borne her friend, till a little wind came

whispering by, and told her that a sweet voice had been heard, singing

Fairy songs, deep in a moss-grown rock.

Then Lily-Bell went seeking through the forest, listening for the

voice. Long she looked and listened in vain; when one day, as she was

wandering through a lonely dell, she heard a faint, low sound of

music, and soon a distant voice mournfully singing,–

“Bright shines the summer sun,

Soft is the summer air;

Gayly the wood-birds sing,

Flowers are blooming fair.

“But, deep in the dark, cold rock,

Sadly I dwell,

Longing for thee, dear friend,

Lily-Bell! Lily-Bell!”

“Thistle, dear Thistle, where are you?” joyfully cried Lily-Bell,

as she flew from rock to rock. But the voice was still, and she

would have looked in vain, had she not seen a little vine, whose green

leaves fluttering to and fro seemed beckoning her to come; and as she

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May