Flower Fables by Louisa May Alcott

stood among its flowers she sang,–

“Through sunlight and summer air

I have sought for thee long,

Guided by birds and flowers,

And now by thy song.

“Thistledown! Thistledown!

O’er hill and dell

Hither to comfort thee

Comes Lily-Bell.”

Then from the vine-leaves two little arms were stretched out to her,

and Thistledown was found. So Lily-Bell made her home in the shadow

of the vine, and brought such joy to Thistle, that his lonely cell

seemed pleasanter to him than all the world beside; and he grew daily

more like his gentle friend. But it did not last long, for one day

she did not come. He watched and waited long, for the little face

that used to peep smiling in through the vine-leaves. He called and

beckoned through the narrow opening, but no Lily-Bell answered; and

he wept sadly as he thought of all she had done for him, and that now

he could not go to seek and help her, for he had lost his freedom

by his own cruel and wicked deeds.

At last he besought the silent Brownie earnestly to tell him

whither she had gone.

“O let me go to her,” prayed Thistle; “if she is in sorrow, I will

comfort her, and show my gratitude for all she has done for me: dear

Brownie, set me free, and when she is found I will come and be your

prisoner again. I will bear and suffer any danger for her sake.”

“Lily-Bell is safe,” replied the Brownie; “come, you shall learn

the trial that awaits you.”

Then he led the wondering Fairy from his prison, to a group of tall,

drooping ferns, beneath whose shade a large white lily had been

placed, forming a little tent, within which, on a couch of thick green

moss, lay Lily-Bell in a deep sleep; the sunlight stole softly in,

and all was cool and still.

“You cannot wake her,” said the Brownie, as Thistle folded his arms

tenderly about her. “It is a magic slumber, and she will not wake

till you shall bring hither gifts from the Earth, Air, and Water

Spirits. ‘T is a long and weary task, for you have made no friends

to help you, and will have to seek for them alone. This is the trial

we shall give you; and if your love for Lily-Bell be strong enough

to keep you from all cruelty and selfishness, and make you kind and

loving as you should be, she will awake to welcome you, and love you

still more fondly than before.”

Then Thistle, with a last look on the little friend he loved so well,

set forth alone to his long task.

The home of the Earth Spirits was the first to find, and no one

would tell him where to look. So far and wide he wandered, through

gloomy forests and among lonely hills, with none to cheer him when

sad and weary, none to guide him on his way.

On he went, thinking of Lily-Bell, and for her sake bearing all;

for in his quiet prison many gentle feelings and kindly thoughts had

sprung up in his heart, and he now strove to be friends with all, and

win for himself the love and confidence of those whom once he sought

to harm and cruelly destroy.

But few believed him; for they remembered his false promises and

evil deeds, and would not trust him now; so poor Thistle found few

to love or care for him.

Long he wandered, and carefully he sought; but could not find the

Earth Spirits’ home. And when at length he reached the pleasant

garden where he and Lily-Bell first parted, he said within himself,–

“Here I will stay awhile, and try to win by kindly deeds the flowers’

forgiveness for the pain and sorrow I brought them long ago; and they

may learn to love and trust me. So, even if I never find the Spirits,

I shall be worthier Lily-Bell’s affection if I strive to atone for

the wrong I have done.”

Then he went among the flowers, but they closed their leaves, and

shrank away, trembling with fear; while the birds fled to hide

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Categories: Alcott, Louisa May